Construction is a significant part of the UK economy.
However, we could be getting more from our built environment. There are a number of issues within the sector that are holding us back.
What are the problems? What causes them? What’s the solution?
Here’s a closer look at transforming construction.
What issues are we currently facing?
There are a number of problems with our current construction system.
Firstly, most of our homes were built in the 1980s, using now outdated methods. This means that our buildings no longer keep up with the needs of modern society.
One of the main problems this causes is energy wastage. Our homes fail to hold heat sufficiently in the colder months, as 1980s construction methods didn’t account for climate change. This not only makes domestic heating hugely expensive, but also a big contributor to our carbon footprint.
Also, even when it comes to new buildings, we’re still using these now out-of-date methods. This causes a number of difficulties. Often, the finished product ends up looking nothing like the original design!
So – construction needs to change and change for the better.
What are the reasons behind this?
Let’s unpick the problems within the industry from the inside out.
Lack of Collaboration
Collaboration in the construction industry can help propel the sector forwards, bringing likeminded businesses together or providing access to new technologies – for example.
However, currently, we’re not utilising this enough.
Too many prototypes
Many of our buildings are started and never completed. This is not only inefficient, but also means we’re wasting money and time.
Lack of productivity
Construction is a labour-intensive industry, which is why it can lag behind others in terms of productivity.
Using new technologies or modernising our current methods would help this problem; boosting work output. However, we’re often let these opportunities pass us by.
Failure to look at the bigger picture
We need to get more from our built environment. This means building our homes and infrastructure with people’s needs in mind.
During design stages, user experience should be considered and planned accordingly. Affordability, for example, should be a priority.
How serious is the problem?
Why does all this matter?
The UK has an obligation to cut its carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. Currently, our buildings account for 40% of our energy consumption. So, changing our construction methods would help reduce our carbon footprint. Many households have also found themselves in fuel poverty due to sky-high energy bills – so wastage is a huge issue for many different reasons.
As well as this, the government predicts England will require an additional 210,000 houses per year between 2014 and 2039. However, we’re nowhere near meeting this volume.
Finding the solution
Despite the current issues, we’re taking steps in the right direction.
After all, where there’s a problem, there’s a solution.
Here are two examples of the construction industry pushing forward and changing for the better.
Construction Innovation Hub
The Construction Innovation Hub will help transform the industry by driving technological advancements and encouraging businesses. This includes commercialising digital manufacturing technologies, for example.
This will help drive the sector forwards, ensuring our methods are modernised and reducing inefficiencies.
Active Building Centre
The Active Building Centre is paving the way towards a more sustainable future.
It generates its own power through renewable means, such as solar energy. Any surplus energy isn’t wasted, but can be used in other areas, such as electric vehicle utilisation.
It’s a research centre that’s proving how other buildings can follow in its footsteps.
A cleaner, greener future is in our grasp, with construction leading the way!