When the government announced its decision to make BIM mandatory it marked a change in the attitude of building clients; from a focus on the capital cost of construction to the lifetime value of the building.

BIM can help to reduce operating costs, but another aspect receiving increasing recognition from clients and designers is the Health & Wellbeing of building occupants.

The UK Green Building Council has published a number of reports which support this. The UK Green Building Council reports 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.

People spend 90% of their time in buildings. #Health & #wellbeing is needed in #construction… Click To Tweet

Figures show productivity improvements of between 8% and 11% can be achieved by providing the right working environment. We spend a high proportion of our time in buildings, and getting the environment right can contribute to significant improvements. These improvements are not just at work, they are also seen in education, in recovery from illness and even higher retail sales

The NHS is currently working with ten housing developments to influence design, recognising that Health & Wellbeing can lead to long term reductions in treatment costs. The Healthy New Towns programme takes an ambitious look at improving health through the built environment and is a step change in how we approach healthcare.

#Research shows #Health & #Wellbeing increasingly important in #construction #SpecStrategy… Click To Tweet

Designs incorporating Health & Wellbeing are already included in a significant proportion of new buildings for education, health, office and retail sectors. Residential is lagging behind, but likely to see an increase in the coming years; with BREEAM including measures for Health & Wellbeing for both commercial and residential (Home Quality Mark) buildings.

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has interpreted Health & Wellbeing to include social, psychological and physical factors. BREEAM presents the design criteria as visual comfort, thermal comfort, indoor air quality, water quality and acoustic comfort. But not every aspect of these key design criteria receive equal priority. Other factors such as colour balance get much less consideration.

While the majority of architects consider they do not need assistance to include Health & Wellbeing in their designs, their responses to our recent survey suggest that there are some misconceptions, with nearly half saying that manufacturers could provide more information on the subject. Therefore there is a clear opportunity for the manufacturer to present their product benefits in the context of Health & Wellbeing.

Nearly ½ of Architects feel #construction manufacturers could give more info re #Health &… Click To Tweet

To effectively engage with the architect on Health & Wellbeing it is important to understand the influences that the client and the various rating systems have. It is also wise to understand the sources of cta-wellbeinginformation and measures used to judge effectiveness. These, of course, vary for the different sectors. Our recent research explores this. 150 Architects were interviewed, providing insight into how they are designing to achieve Health & Wellbeing in buildings. What are the influences on product specification? Which sources of information are Architects using? In which sectors is Health & Wellbeing design being used?

BIM is a marked change that has prompted a holistic look at design. Green buildings are not just designed for greater efficiency but also for their occupants, raising the importance of occupancy and whole-life. Health & Wellbeing is of increasing importance, playing a greater part in shaping our environments. For the construction product manufacturer it represents a new opportunity to secure specifications.

 

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