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We touched very lightly on the sustainability factor of PCE’s HybriDfMA system in our previous articles. However, with sustainability and the environment being such a large part of the government’s agenda on climate change in the UK, we have taken a closer look into how PCE’s innovations addresses the wider sustainability issues.
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Sustainable construction isn’t just about building green buildings, but ensuring the actual build is also sustainable and it’s gathering more and more momentum. The industry is learning and trying to incorporate sustainable builds in their projects from materials used, to how waste is managed, right through to how the construction site is managed and affects the wider community. If we look at the 3 main areas that sustainability construction can impact a construction build, we can then look at how PCE’s HybriDfMA methodology benefits the wider sustainability issues.
The above categorisation shows the various areas in which sustainable construction can affect. Looking at it in this way we can see how PCE’s HybriDfMA methodology meets the sustainability factor.
We know that the energy usage right through to emissions produced on any construction site has a huge impact on the environment. The construction industry is said to account for 36% of worldwide energy usage and 40% CO2 emissions, therefore any process that can reduce these figures is a step in the right direction.
PCE’s most important stage of the construction process is the design element. Their use of BIM and digital design tools and systems allows the ability to optimise efficiency at every stage of the project. The designers can create an entire system of work before designs are finalised, in turn mitigating any potential risks and hazards. Subsequently being able to plan into the design the ability to reduce disruption to the construction site and surrounding areas.
PCE’s HybriDfMA methodology optimises off site logistics as much as possible. Embarking for an off-site assembly means reduced vehicle entry to site, as a result reducing vehicle gas emissions, noise and waste reduction. The careful planning in the digital design process, means the simplification of components are used during assembly stage resulting in minimal waste of materials going to landfill.
Simon Harold, PCE’s Business Development Director also points out “The overall carbon footprint of site activities is also dramatically reduced due to the significantly lower number of site operatives required to construct our structures. Our multi-skilled workforce enables safe construction with a significant reduction in to and from work travel that would normally be required for a workforce carrying out a more traditional method of construction.”
Sustainable construction will no doubt have an effect on financial costs, not only from a construction build point of view as materials can be cheaper, but also from long term running costs of the building. PCE’s use of concrete means the thermal mass, inherent in concrete, together with adequate ventilation, provides a simple and effective means to deliver thermal comfort and reduce overheating. The reduction in heating and cooling systems usage, not only positively effects the environment but also reduces the financial cost of operating the building. Concrete is inherently fire resistant due to its thermal properties and highly resilient to flooding.
“When PCE becomes involved with a project we are not just interested in build cost,” commented Managing Director Nickie Brown, “ yes we are a business that is profit driven, but it is very important to us that the client has a building when completed that meets not only their functional needs but also gives them at least the level of financial return they were anticipating over the life cycle of its use. For this reason we enjoy working with the clients consultants and other contractors involved to achieve these aims.”
The social aspect of any construction project is important, being able to ensure the appropriate design and construction solution maximises the life cycle of the projects success.
PCE’s unique proposition of HybriDfMA structural frames system is said to produce a more efficient, greater flexibility and a better project co-ordination than the previous offerings of RC concrete frames. The outcome of PCE’s HybriDfMA means a quicker, cleaner, safer and more environmentally friendly solution.
Looking at their Kingston University Townhouse project which has been shortlisted for the Concrete Society Awards 2020 we can really see the consideration taken to incorporate the culture and social aspects of the buildings surroundings using their HybriDfMA solution.
The sensitivity to local culture, usage of the building and the integration of the wider community was truly evident throughout the build. The project was designed for minimising energy consumption but still creating thermal comfort, bringing the outside inside, but still creating separate spaces that students could utilise. Using the external spaces that allowed for plants and trees to be incorporated to link to the main pavement area, opening up it’s doors to the wider community.
The full extensive sustainable build for Kingston University can be found here. However, PCE, have conducted numerous builds that showcases their work within sustainable construction.
Advanced Offsite engineered Hybrid Structure in Durham, that was erected in 9 weeks.
Paradise, Birmingham City Centre, a solution in which PCE maximised offsite assembly, using their PCE’s PreFastcore system that provides a safe, fast and accurate solution for their construction offering.
Royal Holloway University, which was constructed in 12 weeks with a 13-personnel site team, which straight away minimises local disruption to the local community and a reduction in deliveries giving a carbon footprint saving.
PCE’s Pre-Construction Director Garry Langston is states that “A key driver during the pre-construnction stage of planning and design is to ensure that our choice of structural materials for our HybriDfMA solutions are both structurally and environmentally efficient for their designated end purpose, as well as enabling efficient manufacture and construction whilst minimising adverse environmental impact”
PCE like many other construction companies are needed to meet the energy challenge that governments worldwide are trying to achieve. Sustainable construction will no doubt continue to be the biggest trend in future projects. Designers will continue to invent ways that encourage buildings to incorporate their environment and construction firms innovate in how and what materials and equipment is sued in order to achieve project success.