Environmental Issues And The Implications For UK Construction



The flooding in the north of the UK in late 2015 is still fresh in the memory, as the country is seemingly further affected by climate change and experiences warmer, wetter winters. This increase in annual rainfall has caused flooding in parts of the country other than the north and the UK’s flood defences have seen a decrease in the level of maintenance due to funding cuts. It has become obvious that this problem is not going away so a sustainable solution must be found to increase the levels of flooding protection. With these environmental issues becoming more frequent and severe, what are the implications for the construction sector, as it has to adapt to address these problems?

As more news coverage and public interest focuses on the plight of those living in areas affected by flooding, it throws a spotlight on the need for a concerted approach to changes in housing design in the UK. More houses are desperately needed but they need to be constructed in areas that are less likely to succumb to flooding and other damaging consequences of heavy storms. It is a huge challenge for the UK construction industry to find methods of sustainable planning and development and lessen the impact of climate change and its effects on residential dwellings. However, this provides an excellent opportunity to alter the current state of housing and bring forward a sustainable impetus that will lead to positive outcomes.

It is by no means a new thing to see the use of sustainable designs and materials, and several shows on television have highlighted the very best of these innovations. These kinds of ideas within construction are no longer being seen as the rarity they once were, with new ideas and technology being used more and more to try and include sustainability within the new infrastructure That said, it isn’t just new builds this applies to. Retrofitting houses with new sustainable designs can be just as effective as creating new builds.

Full height shutters are a recommendation to retain heat, because they are constructed to fit the entire window. As opposed to having curtains that don’t fully cover the entire window since the fabric won’t seal against the glass fully, thus leaving gaps where heat can be emitted. It is also important to install windows with a seal between the glass and brickwork as effectively as possible.

One of the most exciting new developments starting to pique interest is the use of solar asphalt tiles. They are made up of photovoltaic cells that are a component part of the roof tiles, instead of being an addition to the roof. These kinds of technical developments are vital to bring the building industry into the modern era.

Globally, there are universally recognised green building rating systems such as the LEED certification or BREEAM; which both rate the entire construction process from inception to completion, giving a rating of sustainable credibility. Having standardised development targets across the board helps everyone stay on the same page. If countries worldwide are able to adopt equally ambitious targets for pairing sustainable development with construction, it is possible to create positive global change.



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