Building Efficiency or Effectiveness? With SIP Construction you Don’t Have to Choose

Whether it’s healthcare, education or housing, budgets for construction projects are being squeezed. At the same time demands for more capacity and faster builds are increasing.

As a result, there’s a risk that those commissioning building projects are being forced to trade off the effectiveness of the building against the speed and cost of construction. But is this a choice that really has to be made?

How Important is Building Design?

The following is an excerpt from a report based on the results of the HEAD Project (Holistic Evidence and Design), funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. The project looked at the effect on learning of the classroom environment in primary schools:

“clear evidence has been found that well-designed primary schools boost children’s academic performance in reading, writing, and maths. Differences in the physical characteristics of classrooms explain 16% of the variation in learning progress over a year for the 3766 pupils included in the study.

“… it is estimated that the impact of moving an ‘average’ child from the least effective to the most effective space would be around 1.3 sub-levels, a big impact when pupils typically make 2 sub-levels progress a year.”

Specific factors were identified in the study:

  • Naturalness: light, temperature, and air quality – accounting for half the learning impact
  • Individualisation: ownership and flexibility – accounting for about a quarter
  • Stimulation: complexity and colour – again about a quarter.

The internal environment clearly has an impact on the effectiveness of a classroom. A similar argument could undoubtedly be made regarding the therapeutic effects of the right environment in healthcare settings or social housing developments.

Efficient Construction

The use of offsite or prefabricated construction is growing as a result of the need to build more quickly and cost-effectively. Often this involves more or less completed building modules being shipped and fitted together onsite.

The problem with this approach is that the site location and orientation of the building are often constrained and never ideal. Achieving the optimum levels of natural light, heating and ventilation almost always demands a bespoke design, while volumetric units are all about standardisation.

The solution that doesn’t demand this tradeoff between efficiency and effectiveness is panelised offsite construction using Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs). Designs can be completely individual or modified from a standard configuration to suit the building requirements and the site location (mass customisation, if you like). The panels that make the walls, floors and roofs are then precision manufactured and assembled quickly onsite.

SIPs have been proven to deliver the ideal combination of rapid build times and exceptional building performance, meaning there is no compromise needed between efficiency and effectiveness. Take a look at some of our case studies and video projects to see how effectiveness and efficiency can work in harmony.