A closer look at transforming construction

The UK needs to transform its construction methods in order to meet today’s demands. Most of our buildings were made in the 1980s, using outdated methods. This presents a number of issues, with the main one being energy inefficiency. But, we’re taking steps in the right direction. Here’s a closer look at transforming construction.

What problems are we currently facing?

Our buildings weren’t made with today’s needs in mind, meaning they’re no longer sufficient. This creates a number of issues, including:

Energy inefficiency – Our buildings currently account for 40% of our carbon emissions. However, we’re wasting energy unnecessarily. 1980s construction methods didn’t account for climate change, which means that our homes fail to retain heat in the winter, while overheating in summer. The result? A huge amount of energy is be used and wasted, particularly when it comes to domestic heating.

Unaffordable bills – Another issue is that traditional construction methods have no place when considering our current needs.

The energy wastage means that household bills have skyrocketed, placing many families in fuel poverty. Some cannot afford to heat their homes at all.

How serious is the issue? How vital is it to solve these issues?

Combined, these problems have been described as a ‘second housing crisis’. What’s more, the UK has promised to reduce its carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. Therefore, the problem needs solving – and solving fast.

What’s holding us back? Why isn’t change happening faster?

Construction is a huge part of the UK economy, accounting for roughly 9% of it and employing around 10% of our workforce. However, the way we build hasn’t changed for around 40 years. We’re still using traditional construction methods for a variety of different reasons, including:

Labour intensity – As construction is labour intensive, it can lag behind many other industries that contribute to our economy. Unsurprisingly, this can affect productivity.

Lack of skills – When it comes to both costs and quality of output, construction relies heavily on having a skilled workforce. Mobilising this can be difficult, which means training can be slow.

No strategic planning – Even today, there’s often a failure to look at the bigger picture. Buildings are often constructed in stages, with the final outcome not being the same as the original plan.

Failure to utilise partnerships

Collaboration in the construction industry is key to success. However, currently, companies are failing to work with likeminded businesses sufficiently. From new technologies to new techniques, there are a number of areas that collaboration could benefit.

A step in the right direction

Despite some ongoing setbacks, we are moving towards a more sustainable future. The New Active Building Centre has a vision to transform the UK’s construction sector. It does this through a number of innovative and unique features, including:

  • Generating its own energy through solar means
  • Reusing surplus energy rather than wasting it

This means it contributes to both electric vehicle utilisation and decarbonisation. This is a huge step in the right direction. This building paves the way for others like it to follow suit, which will have many positive implications for the future. Developments such as this make a sustainable future more of a possibility!

What’s next?

The centre is a key element of the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, which aims to transform how we live, work and move around.

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