By-line article by Nick Milestone, Managing Director of B & K Structures:
There are many aspects to consider when designing a building – from the structural system and performance to the aesthetics and sustainability. Clearly the build cost plays a crucial part in the decision making process – but does the lowest cost option really offer the best value?
Nick Milestone, Managing Director of B & K Structures, offers his perspective on how to select the optimum building solution to meet the budget and specific needs of the client.
Meeting the Brief
“Every project is unique – the client’s brief influences each design decision. Defining key drivers is therefore crucial in establishing the desired project outcomes. If the client intends to occupy the building for years to come, the brief may vary from developers with a remit to achieve a quick and efficient sale or, in the case of supermarkets – start trading and generating revenue as soon as practically possible.
There are numerous routes to take along the design and construction journey – selecting the core structural solution, is one of the most important decisions. Structural timber systems, in my view, can ‘tick’ many of the build and performance boxes.
Achieving Optimum Performance
By taking a holistic approach to building design and construction, contractors can transform traditional projects into more cost-effective, energy-efficiency developments that improve the bottom line. This presents a major opportunity and one that should not to be missed.
The envelope needs to work for the owners and occupiers to ensure it is energy efficient, low maintenance and provide a comfortable environment when the building is in use. There are many factors involved in achieving this – not only those that are visible. Considerations such as thermal performance, acoustic resistance, acoustic absorption, airtightness and fire performance are all important factors when considering the build.
Timber is uniquely placed to deliver on requirements, not only for its sustainable credentials and aesthetic appeal but also its structural strength and adaptability.
Design for Manufacturer and Assembly (DfMA)
By taking full advantage of offsite manufacturing techniques and exploiting Design for Manufacturer and Assembly protocols – structures can be optimised in terms of budget, sustainability and performance. DfMA is used as the foundation for concurrent engineering processes to simplify and reduce manufacturing and assembly costs, with quantifiable improvements.
Offsite construction has been gaining ground as a build method that offers numerous benefits. A reduction in construction time being one of the most notable; as buildings rapidly manufactured offsite are less weather dependant. This, together with an improvement in quality through enhanced production processes in factory controlled conditions, offers more predictable build programmes.
Measuring Best Value
Value engineering in construction has enormous benefits to both developers and clients alike. The multi-step process is an integral part of the design and development stages and is aimed at increasing value.
The time invested in value engineering produces results. This can be a cost-saving measure; however it is becoming a respected project management technique that addresses all aspects of the building lifecycle – from the initial construction through to the sustainability of sourced materials and utility efficiencies of the final project.
Measuring value is a complex and individual equation – specific to each project and client brief. Using DfMA protocols and offsite techniques to fully optimise the structure in terms of budget, sustainability and performance – in my opinion, is essential to all construction projects.
Initial upfront investment in a robust, airtight building, will reap benefits in the long term from reduced maintenance and running costs – vital for public buildings such as schools and hospitals. Housing developers, retailers and commercial end users have a different set of priorities with speed of construction rating one of the highest. Optimised hybrid structures offer a rapid return on investment for developers, together with delivering quick and efficient build process for the retail and commercial sector – getting buildings on stream and operational in the optimum time.”
Optimised Hybrid Structures – CPD
By selecting the most effective combination of systems and materials to meet the brief and performance specification, B & K Structures, as the UK’s leading sustainable frame contractor, specialise in the design, manufacture and delivery of optimised hybrid structures
For more information or book an Optimised Hybrid CPD session, please: