Why There’s No Blueprint For Sustainability In Construction
Sustainable construction is a goal that everyone supports and is a clear direction of travel for the industry. But decarbonising the built environment is a complex issue if we want to create sustainable buildings that also meet the present and future needs of the people who live, work or learn in them.
There isn’t a simple blueprint, process or model that defines what a sustainable project looks like or how it should be constructed. Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) are clearly part of the solution, but which specific methods and how should they be applied in an optimum solution?
Agility is possibly an overused word in modern business – but in the case of sustainability in construction it really does apply. The functional and performance requirements for a building are no less important than before. And constraints such as cost, site accessibility and time are, if anything, even more significant.
Sustainability and zero carbon performance has to be factored-in with everything else. These often conflicting drivers can’t be accommodated without a more flexible approach to how buildings are designed, developed and delivered.
Designing for Flexibility
In the modern world, change seems to be the only constant. We can’t be truly sustainable unless uncertainty is accommodated and we avoid creating buildings that will become obsolete or unsuitable before the end of their design life.
Across the education, healthcare, commercial and residential sectors it isn’t easy to predict the future. Building design and construction must, therefore, ensure that internal spaces are easy to modify and offer straightforward options to expand the space and upgrade services if required. Flexibility has to be considered early in the design process or the opportunities will be lost.
As well as creativity and innovation, the key to success is having an integrated design, manufacturing and installation process. This allows designers greater flexibility without losing sight of the practicalities of how buildings need to be built, operated and maintained. An integrated process also closes the gap between modelled and real world energy-efficiency performance.
Agility and Sustainability in Action
The Innovaré i-SIP and i-FAST systems are ideally suited to an agile approach. The panels can be configured exactly as needed and used to create the building structure or as wrap or infill. The production process is also highly controlled, which allows agility to be achieved without increasing the project risks.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the role of MMC in delivering more sustainable construction projects: