Sustainable Design – A Business Opportunity for Construction Companies

Sustainable Design – A Business Opportunity for Construction Companies

08th November 2018

Here at Safety Fabrications we’ve long been an advocate of sustainable development as the construction industry helps to address the requirements of the British public facing the 21st Century.  Our government is committed to building 200,000 new homes every year in a bid to solve the housing crisis that the UK is currently in the grip of.  Last week, we reported on the Gateshead Innovation Village, an exciting live project which is testing using a mix of traditional and modular homes boasting smart technologies and designed to increase energy efficiency.

The construction industry is increasingly being viewed as a major player in the government’s clean, green growth plan and building and construction featured strongly in recent ministerial announcements.  The UK is one of the first G7 countries to consider a more ambitious target than its current one, signalling our dedication to maintaining our place as a world-leader on combating climate change. 

Here in the UK we’ve long had a great reputation for our architecture, our engineering, and our construction capabilities.  All three of these offer immense potential for international growth, especially when it comes to focusing on integrated, low carbon, sustainable design and construction methodology.

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) is leading the charge when it comes to sustainable development.  The UKGBC was founded in 2007 to help transform the way that the built environment in Britain is planned, designed, constructed, maintained and operated.  The UKGBC aim to make sustainable development second nature, using a ten year plan titled “Ambitions for 2027”. 

Organisations that are members of the UKGBC will lead the way on decarbonisation, demonstrating clearly that companies with good sustainability performance will be able to capitalise on the green growth opportunities in the future. 

Building construction and operations have a direct and indirect impact on the environment, on the economy and on society – this is often referred to as the 3 Ps (planet, pocket, people).  When it comes to sustainable design, we need to find a balance between the needs of the 3Ps by using an integrated approach. 

Buildings use up resources (water, energy, raw materials, etc.), generate waste (occupancy, construction, demolition) and emit potentially harmful emissions.  Building activity also fundamentally changes to function of the land and the ability of that land to absorb and capture water into the ground.  Building designers, builders and owners face some pretty steep challenges to meet the demand for new and refurbished facilities that are secure, healthy, accessible and productive, whilst minimising the negative impacts on society, the economy and the environment.

Incorporating sustainable design concepts into a building at the design and planning stage for future buildings will have a huge impact in the future.  However, sustainable design advocates also encourage the retrofitting of existing buildings which can be more cost efficient than building a whole new facility.  Designing renovations and retrofits for existing buildings to include sustainable design attributes can lead to a reduction in operational costs and environmental impact, whilst increasing the building’s resilience.   This looks like a business opportunity for construction companies across the UK in the future and arranging to specialise in this type of work is likely to be a good business move for construction company owners.