In this sustainable construction update we report on a number of initiatives that consider wellbeing, biodiversity and the application of green infrastructure, as well as smart construction for delivering a sustainable built environment.

Health & Wellbeing of building occupants is now receiving increasing recognition from Clients and Designers. The UK Green Building Council reference the 90% rule. Showing people spend 90% of their time in buildings; staff costs are typically 90% of a business’s operating costs; and 90% of business leaders are changing their approach to Wellbeing. Our new research highlights the need for manufacturers to provide the Architect with more information about how products can contribute to Health & Wellbeing design criteria.

Around 30% of homeowners surveyed by Saint-Gobain stated that they would be prepared to pay more for a home that didn’t compromise their health and wellbeing. Alongside the demand for housing, it is important to provide quality homes. The Saint-Gobain UK Home Health & Wellbeing Report 2016 presents the priorities for Homeowners and Renters, regarding their comfort, health and wellbeing. Providing guidance on How can the UK deliver the volume of new homes required without sacrificing wellbeing or environmental performance? This same subject is also considered in a recent article by Planning and Building Control Today Quantity vs quality of new homes: Why not have both?

In answer to this challenge the Construction Leadership Council’s (CLC) Innovation in Buildings Workstream has released a report outlining the barriers to the take-up and commercialisation of Smart Construction. Saying now is the time for the industry to meet the challenge of rising housing demand by radically increasing productivity and embracing transformative construction techniques. Smart solutions to construction are considered by Helen Gough, who presents a new era for buildings in which we will have better places to work, live and interact. Saying “with developments in technology comes the opportunity to design smart solutions to how we manage and share space.”

Last month the government issued the Bonfield 2016 action plan setting out how businesses can make it easier for people to protect their homes from flood damage. Following this release the Green Alliance has proposed a new payment mechanism, the Natural Infrastructure Scheme (NIS). As well as providing new income streams to farming, the scheme also seeks to reduce the cost of flood defences through naturally engineered solutions.

Arup consider the application of green infrastructure in a more urban setting. Their report, Cities Alive; Green Building Envelope explores the application of green infrastructure to the surfaces of both new and existing inner-city buildings in five major global cities. The report considers how we can reduce energy consumption, improve air quality and people’s wellbeing. Arup also provided food for thought in their recent Circular Building; designed for all the elements to be dis-assembled and re-used, an excellent example of how to design and build using circular economy principles. This as CEN will embark on an intense period of work to improve measurement of End of Life scenarios for construction products.

A revised approach and criteria for assessing responsible sourcing using BREEAM is now available and can be found at Breeam Responsible Sourcing Credits. BREEAM are also developing the In-use portfolio approach for the education sector. Education represents 11% of total new build construction output, for an impartial overview of Education opportunities for the construction industry view our research Construction Market Report: UK Education Sector.

And finally the 2016 State of Nature Report has been issued. This major report, on the status of wildlife and habitats in Britain, shows major nature depletion across the UK. The report sees habitat creation as ‘… one of the most significant drivers of positive change for the UK’s wildlife …’ In response The BIG Biodiversity Challenge is inviting construction members to add one new biodiversity enhancement to a construction site, development or existing building.



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