Providing Affordable Property: Modern methods of construction

So called "Modern Methods" of structure have been put forward as a solution for solving the condition of providing affordable real estate in sustainable communities for the united kingdom.

In a written report for senior managers of a major cover development company propose and justify modern ways of construction to displace traditional construction creation techniques.

There is growing matter in UK that housing is becoming increasingly more expensive. There are a number of concerns among experts that the engineering industry as a whole is underperforming. This has been especially emphasised in the Egan article (Egan, 1998), where additionally it is mentioned that the initial opportunities for advancements internal building exists in the social cover sector. Another concern that is very much indeed in the lime light just lately is sustainability issues. The Western community and UK have arranged of environmental and energy focuses on that are extremely ambitious.

Houses in UK have traditionally been built in traditional materials such as brick and cement. The construction materials and building techniques havent evolved much in centuries, despite the advanced of construction know-how that is accessible in UK. A lot of the modern development techniques are use for high-profile prestige properties and commercial structures. The enclosure sector will not seem to possess benefited from the present day methods available.

This report is aimed at fanning-out the various modern ways of construction that will benefit the cover sector in many ways. Most of these modern methods already are used quite efficiently in areas apart from housing. The target is to prove how, by means of modern building techniques, affordable and ecological casing can be developed.

Sustainable Construction

Sustainability generally means sustained ability. It means having the ability for longer. This means having the ability to benefit from resources for much longer, without endangering the depletion of the resources. Sustainable construction is an approach to construction that makes optimum use of resources throughout the life expectancy of a building. This includes the resources utilised for the development of the building, its procedure and maintenance, and its eventual disposal. Resources here relate with sources of material, energy, space and money. Those are the basic requirements for a building.

It also makes monetary sense to use as less resources as you can. So, achieving sustainability should not cost extra to the client, although it may cost extra initially to make the building. A typical building uses often more resources during its life-span than during its building. So globally, it'll be in the client's interest to visit for lasting methods.

Sustainable structure (Stern and Knapp, 1993) may be unique as those buildings that have lowest adverse effects on the built and environment, in terms of the buildings themselves, their immediate environment and the broader regional and global environment. The logical use of natural resources and appropriate management of the building stock will contribute to saving scarce resources, reducing energy use (energy conservation), and bettering environmental quality.

Environmental Approach

A general technique for environmental mindful design (Boontra, 1997) involves three main steps:

  • Reduce the materials demand - Any customer, trader or governmental body should thoroughly evaluate the need for a new building activity by investigating the options of reuse and renovating existing buildings. Designers should design a building as successfully as you possibly can by minimising the quantity of resources needed. This can be done by optimising both the floor plan and building.
  • Application of renewable and recycled resources - By program of renewable and recycled resources the life pattern of building materials can be shut. Designers also needs to allow for future recycling. Making a building for dismantling and not for demolition is one approach.
  • Select materials with the cheapest environmental impact - Environmentally friendly impact of materials is brought on during a building's complete life time. Typical environmental issues are raw materials, embodied energy, emissions, hindrance, waste products, recycling, repair, life-time.

Throughout the record, it will be demonstrated that the modern methods proposed will respond favorably to these environmental criteria.

Energy Approach

Buildings take into account the largest percentage of energy intake in most european societies. In UK for example, (Nicholls, 2002) energy intake in buildings take into account 45% of the total UK energy intake. Energy is broadly produced by losing fossil petrol such as petrol and coal. Additionally it is used by nuclear fission of Uranium. Both techniques are very damaging to the surroundings.

Why are Modern Methods Important for a Major Casing Developer?


Previously, sustainability was associated with environmental issues. However, in recent years it's been recognised that certain cannot preserve environment at the expense of socio-economic progress. Sustainability is now being redefined in many circles as a balance of:

  • Economic - steady economic development and employment
  • Environment - coverage of environment and advisable use of natural resources
  • Social - cultural progress for everyone

For these reasons, it isn't only important that structure is clean and energy conserving, but additionally it is important to consider other factors such as the impact of the structure on its immediate neighbourhood and the culture in general. The cost of construction has a primary impact on the expense of the housing. It is important to make property economically practical and affordable without reducing our margin.

Legal Trends in Sustainability

There have been several recent legal improvements in the area of sustainability that will have a definite future impact on our businesses on the united kingdom housing market. Most of these legal developments follow the 1997 Kyoto Earth Summit and are based on the current government's emission and energy focuses on. The main trends are:

  • UK Sustainable Building Strategy 2000
  • UK Energy White Newspaper 2003
  • Sustainable Building Job Group 2003

Some of the impacts of the legal developments are already being felt. For instance, Part E and Part L of creating Regulations already are being revised and will be more challenging in terms of thermal and acoustic performance of buildings. There are many examination methods being developed to evaluate quantify and rate the performance of any building in terms of how lasting it is, and many of these measure will be studied into consideration for planning agreement purposes. One of them is the BREEAM ranking, produced by the Building Research Establishment. The BREEAM can be an environmental diagnosis for offices, professional and retail structures. It contains a checklist with ratings for energy use, transportation, water use, pollution, materials, land use etc. It offers four evaluations: cross, good, very good and excellent.

Another such analysis method is the Eco-Homes, which is applied to housing sector only and for that reason more relevant to us. The Ecological Building Job Group 2003 has put forward a recommendation for a Code of Sustainable Building, which is based on the BREEAM ranking but is very simple. The Code gets the full support of the government and is currently compulsory for public housing sector. Although it is not compulsory for our market yet, it is probably that it will become so in a forseeable future.

Another evaluation method that may become important in the foreseeable future is the WRAP, which actions the recycle content of your building. For now, any building must have a minimum of 10% of recycle content. Most complexes will easily meet that necessity, even those built by the traditional methods. However, it is the goal of the specialists to progressively increase that 10% requirement in the approaching years and it will become significantly difficult to meet by traditional builds. Cover is critical for planning authorization and it is in the permanent interest of the business that we start using methods that will bring in higher recycle articles in our casing developments.

Health and Safety

Health and Safe practices is becoming increasingly more important for the federal government and also for private clients. The forthcoming CDM legislation 2006 will have major changes that put much more responsibility on the clients. Consequently, it could be expected that consumer will be adding health and safeness high in their agenda and can chose their programmers and contractors with that in mind.

Also the HSE has been more and more demanding about the standard of health insurance and protection and work and assessments are done on a regular basis on sites across UK. It is therefore important to be proactive and take a holistic strategy towards health and safety. Rather than simply delivering more boots and helmets to site, it'll be wiser to adopt methods that are inherently safer.

Traditional Methods

Typically, a property development will either contain some blocks of flats with car parking space or a series of 2-3 3 storey houses, depending on locality and the client. In both situations, the development process is the same, even though some differences in range of operations may occur.


After the look and survey stages, the first step in the engineering process is the substructure. The substructure is the fact part of the building that is below the ground level. Its goal is to safely and securely transmit all pushes to the ground. Traditionally, the substructure will contain a series of pad foundations, strip footings, basements or even piles. A lot of the old houses have basements whereas newer houses tend to have remove footings. Taller structures such as rentals or where in fact the building is on weaker grounds, hemorrhoids may be needed. Those foundations are usually created by digging a hole in the ground and filling up it with cement. The form, size and depth of the opening depend on the type of foundation being built. Foundations are labour-intensive and time-consuming work. Every one of the work needs to be done on site, subjected to weather conditions. In addition, it produces significant amount of noises and dust during the digging of the bottom. After the trenches or holes are filled with concrete, the website ends up with an excessive amount of garden soil from the gap.


The superstructure is the noticeable area of the building, built on the foundation. The composition for houses will consist of building up brick wall space from the ground, brick by brick. Each wall membrane will contain two leaves of brick with a gap in-between for insulation. The inner floors are usually manufactured from heavy timber joists supporting secondary timber people and finally a plank topping, all nailed collectively and supported off of the brick walls. The brick wall building will continue before roof covering level is reached. At the roof covering level, a timber roof is built in a way like the floor.

Recently, concrete columns and beams have been used combined with the brick walls. Flooring and roofs in newer construction have a tendency to be on concrete, cast in-situ on formwork, backed off the concrete frame users. These methods are extremely time-consuming and labour intense and almost all the work should be done on site.

Partitions and Finishes

The inside partitions are either timber structures with ply-wood on each area, or single-leaf brick wall surfaces built-in the same manner as the external walls. Stairs are usually of lumber.


The space heat, electricity, air-conditioning and ventilation are created to suit the building in place.

Modern Approach to Construction

As opposed to the original method where each step of the development is done self-employed of each other, the present day methods of development differ from the approach to the building process. The thinking process behind the website works is performed well beforehand, to allow much better coordination between the various trades engaged. The planning stage will think of the proposed and future uses of the building. The design stage is the main stage of engineering as decisions considered at the look stage have the highest impact of performance, current economic climate and many other factors.

The method of modern structure is one which requires sustainability and life-cycle cost of a building from the starting point of the look stage. Many factors can be influenced if thought is given at design level. The next chapters will now expose modern techniques used in development that will bring about more monetary and sustainable engineering in the property sector.

Steel Framed Buildings

The use of steel is not new in engineering. It's been used for over a century now. However, its full probable has only recently been understood. Steel gets the potential to radically change the building and running cost of a building as well as having a significant impact on issues such as sustainability, material demand, health insurance and safety therefore much more. Improvements made within the last decade in material construction have made it the most exciting material for structure.

Steel's Role in Sustainable Development

Steel is a completely different materials from concrete and masonry. It really is to begin with homogeneous as opposed to a combination and is a lot stronger. THE UNITED KINGDOM steel engineering industry in an exceedingly useful industry and material can be used to our benefits as a modern construction material for a number of reasons that will be revealed below (SCI, 2004).

More ecological Design

Good design is fundamental to sustainable development (SCI, 2004). Decisions made at the initial design level have the greatest effect on the entire sustainability impact of projects. Steel's high strength-to-weight percentage is exploited in light constructions which have low overall environmental impact and frequently require fewer and lighter foundations than alternate methods of construction. Its long-span features create flexible spots that aid changes in use during the life of the building, maximising permitting potential and lowering refit costs.

The energy associated with the occupation of structures (operations energy) dominates that used in their produce and engineering (embodied energy) typically by a factor of between 4 and 10 over a 60 yr design life. Minimizing operational energy ingestion reduces environment impact as well as saving money. Steel frames and associated composite or other kind of floor slab achieve high levels of fabric energy safe-keeping, which can significantly decrease the energy invoice for cooling. Steel-based cladding systems for industrial buildings and light steel-framed home development provide well-insulated and airtight alternatives.

More sustainable manufacture and erection

Construction can have significant cultural and environmental impacts such as sound, dust, floor and surface normal water pollution and traffic congestions (SCI, 2004).

Steel provides the possibility to maximise off-site structure techniques. Working in a manufacturing plant under controlled conditions will definitely result in more correct products and less waste material. It also provides a safer and better working environment for the individuals.

Computer-sided design and make can be put to best used in steel construction to get rid of problems and reworks and to minimise waste material. Any steel throw away is generally recovered and recycled. Cost, and therefore time, remain key individuals in construction. Material construction we can build fast and reliably, with reduced time allocated to site. The tiny amount of time spent on site has many impacts such as lower sound, less time for the workers to work as height, less noises and dust, less traffic and the complete community benefits. Less time spent on site also offers the advantage of fewer interruptions scheduled to weather, which is a very essential aspect in the UK, because our weather is celebrated!

As an example of what can be done (SCI, 2004), the 1600 tonnes of steelwork in the TNT Fastract syndication centre was erected in only 21 days!

Sustainability in Use

Designing a building for long life maximises the payback over the original investment and it is also a key aspect of lasting construction. Due to that, refurbishment of your building to extend its life is vital. The versatility and versatility of steel allows the owner of the building to easily adjust and adjust to changing time and never have to demolish and restore, thus extending the life of the building and getting the most value from it.

Steel is a stable product if protected from the environment with paint, will require little maintenance and can not deteriorate by any means with time. Cladding systems associated with metallic structure are also easily altered and allow easy access for maintenance.

With changing times, certain requirements of a building change and therefore alterations may be necessary. Metal is easy to change and to expand to suite new needs.

Sustainability at end-of-life

A concrete building only has a market value as a built-entity. The materials itself can hardly be reused because it is cast-in. and can't be dismantled. The best use of demolished concrete is land-fill. However, material buildings have a materials value even after construction. Because steel complexes consist of individually prepared members signed up with collectively by bolts, these participants can be dismantled and re-used if the building is no more required. For instance, when the many Paris market halls built by Baltard in 1854 could no more fulfill the needs of the city (ECCS, 2002), their function was used in Rungis, and the buildings substituted by the Centre Pompidou and the Website. Recognising the necessity to preserve important architectural samples from the past one of the marketplace halls was demounted and transferred to Nogent-sur-Marne, where it was simply reconstructed. It now accommodates cultural activities.

The fact a metallic building can be demolished and rebuilt using the same structural participants has far-reaching advantages. The immediate gain that comes to mind is the market value of the building. Needless to say, a building has a value when it's used. But with the use of material, the building will have a value even after its life-span. The metal members can be sold as independent entities or the whole building can be sold to be built on the different site. This contributes enormously to the cost of redevelopment and therefore may be used to reduce the cost of housing.

Looking at the larger picture, re-using the same materials for a new building implies that the natural resources that would have been required for the new building have been spared. Finally, even if the steel is not re-used straight as a structure material, it can continually be recycled for new material members. Metallic is 100% recyclable material.

Energy in Buildings

In properties, energy is necessary for:

  • Space heating
  • Domestic warm water heating
  • Lighting
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Air conditioning
  • General electronic services such as lifts and escalators

The quantities of each one of the above required vary from destination to place and from building to building.

Space Heating

In UK such as the others of European countries, space heating up is traditionally attained by gas-powered or electric powered warm water boilers that disperse the hot water to radiators. The envelope of the building was created to retain as a lot of that heat as possible to save on energy. However, there are several ground breaking techniques now available that are incredibly efficient.

New Glazing Technology

There are new types of glazing that allow the solar high temperature to go in to the building, but not out. Two times glazing systems have been used for quite some time, however now the double-glazing makes use of special spectacles. The distance in-between the spectacles can be filled up with special gases that promote the greenhouse result. In some cases, simply evacuating air from the gap works marvellously in performing as a good glazing system. You can find glasses that may be turned from clear to opaque by the action of current, temperature, or by natural means like sun glasses. New cladding materials used on the wall space are translucent. They transfer light and solar energy but become insulants.

Interactive glass windows and shading system are computer-controlled to change the amount of shading and ventilation at different times of the day to optimise energy use.

Solar Heating

Direct sunlight is employed to warm buildings. But solar technology can be utilized indirectly as well. Solar water heaters are incredibly popular in the Southern Hemisphere. In European countries and especially in Western Europe, folks have the misconception that due to cold local climate, solar water heaters will never be effective. Actually, solar normal water heaters are incredibly efficient even in frosty regions. Additionally it is very cheap to build or buy one. It can be used on large scale for schools and nursing homes with large rooftop plans. So rather than boiling normal water in a gas or electric boiler, solar normal water heaters can be used. Even though in winter the solar water heater cannot produce sufficiently hot water, it can be used to preheat the supplied to the boilers.

Thermal Mass

In many countries, space home heating is required at night more than during the day. In such cases, the mass of the building can be made to heat up throughout the day by the solar technology methods described above. This mass will absorb this energy throughout the day but will only start dissipating it after a long time. Concrete flooring for example will have an average time lag of nine time. Proper use of the thermal mass can result in very significant cutting down in energy. The orientation of the building can play an essential part as well. For example, if the southern face is the one which is most exposed to direct sunlight, having more considerable wall space on the south will improve on the use of thermal mass.

Domestic Normal water Heating

Domestic warm water can be used in virtually all buildings. Solar drinking water heaters as explained previously are usually very effective for domestic hot water. Other methods can also been used, depending on location. In case a village can be found not very definately not a volcano, they can usually dig profound boreholes and pump this to the bottom of the opening where the globe temperatures is quite high. They are able to pump back water and put it to use as domestic hot water. The concept is not a new one. Thermal spa and natural warm water baths have been used for centuries.


The orientation of an building can be quite important to utilize as much day light as you possibly can. Smart glazing systems discussed before are also very helpful and are being used increasingly more now. Lightwells and atria are also increasingly more used both because of its assist in natural light and ventilation, but also for its aesthetic efforts. When artificial lighting is necessary, special low-energy lights can be used that give the same amount of light but take in smaller amount of energy.


Natural ventilation is definitely used in properties by simply opening and closing house windows as required. Commercial structures have however opted for more high-tech methods such as fans. These can be substituted by careful planning of the opportunities, of the way the floors are compartmented, and by the use of features such as atria. Also, computer-controlled openings are the high-tech version of manually opening and closing glass windows as required.

Air Conditioning

Cooling is actually more expensive than heating. Not merely does air conditioning consume a lot of energy; it also produces CFC's, which are harmful to the ozone coating. The use of these can be minimised as well. The usage of ventilation may be used to improve the comfort level of occupants. The usage of the thermal mass notion can even be used in the same manner. The flooring surfaces are cooled at night using natural ventilation, and throughout the day, they are used to cool the environment inside the building.


The aim of the article was to propose and justify modern methods of construction. The statement has exposed the need to shift to modern methods of construction. It is not just an option worth considering. It will soon be the only choice and unless we as a corporation start the change now, we will loose a competitive benefit.

Among the present day methods mentioned, metallic development comes out to be the flagship of modern, financial and sustainable structure methods. Added to that, other means such as using thermal mass, natural ventilation and natural cooling and heating can be used in mixture to wonderful effect.

However, the main point to remember is not the materials or any particular strategy. It is the way and the thinking process required to meet the economic needs of the company, satisfy requirements from the federal government and other regulators and yet be able to produce affordable and high quality and powerful housing for future years.


Egan, Sir John, Rethinking Construction, Section of Trade and Industry, 1998

David Stern and Daniel Knapp, Reuse, Recycling, Refuse and the Local Economy: A Case Study of the Berkeley Serial MRF (documented by Urban Ore, Inc. , along with the Centre for Neighbourhood Technology: Oct, 1993).

Boontra Chiel, Sunlight at Work in Europe, Vol. 12, No. 1, March 1997, p3.

Nicholls, Richard, Low Energy Design, Software Publishing, 2002

European Commission rate for Constructional Steelwork, Merits of Metal, 2002 http://www. szs. ch/merits/vorwort_e. html

Achieving Sustainable Structure: Information for clients and their professional Advisers, Metal Structure Institute, 2004

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