There are numerous developments both on the prefabricated and traditional buildings. However, in the United Kingdom, the traditional buildings reign supreme. Numerous research has indicated that the dominant form of construction in the United Kingdom is that of brick and block. This is regardless of the fact that the building sector plays a huge role in waste increment. The brick and block types of building have numerous waste associated with construction as well as demolition. Furthermore, there is an increasing urge of green technology which generally focuses on sustainable development.
The main aim of the dissertation is to focus on the construction industry and sustainable development. In this, it focuses on the two methods of construction: the prefabricated construction as well as the traditional brick and block method. The United Kingdom presents a major study point because of the increasing land prices, decreasing lands, increasing populations and the shortage of skills. Therefore, the dissertation looks at the two methods in detail and tries to establish the best method in which the aspects of sustainable development, as well as the cost-effectiveness, are met.
As the dissertation looks into detail in the two methods of construction, it is clear that the prefabricated method is the most viable option but still requires effort and enthusiasm for it to be the most preferred method in the United Kingdom. The number of developments in the recent past has indicated that the technology is being slowly accepted by urban developers and the whole UK as a way of meeting the shortage of housing units. The research is founded on the shoulder to shoulder comparison of the two methods of construction.
The dissertation, based on the analysis and both the pro and cons found out, goes on to conclude that the prefabrication technology is far much viable in the UK and will play a significant role in sustainable development. The housing shortage, as well as the speed through which the residential units can be constructed, is the reason why future developers are venturing into this method over the traditional method.
Table of Contents
LITERATURE REVIEW… 8
The Prefabricated Buildings. 9
Component-based system.. 9
Types of Prefabrication Systems. 13
Advantages of prefabricated building technology. 14
Traditional building technologies. 15
Construction methods. 16
Limitations of the Study and Research. 20
Findings and Results. 21
Figures and tables
Figure 1 The assembly process 13
Figure 2: the advantages of prefabrication 15
Figure 3: waste generated in the UK 18
Figure 4: Waste from the construction, demolition and excavation sectors 18
UK United Kingdom
PMC Permanent Modular Construction
OSP off Site Production
The construction industry is a wheel that should drive the world to a better future. However, recent developments have pointed an accusing finger on the construction industry for the major role played in the production of greenhouse gases and consequent global warming. Therefore, it has always been at the core of the building sector to develop buildings that will reduce the emissions on the earth’s atmosphere. The development has paved way for the development of fabricated buildings.
As the name suggests, prefabrication is a methodology employed in building construction where unlike the traditional methods of brick and block, the parts of the buildings are designed at a different site and later on transported to the building site(see fig 1). Therefore, the building is designed at a different site and the various components are assembled at the construction site to bring about the final product. Prefabrication is a method that has been employed for various types of buildings such as commercial, residential, warehouses among others. Moreover, prefabricated buildings have the advantage of being customized in the sense that environmental friendly materials may be used for the construction of the vital elements as well as the finishes.
Brick and block construction has been the dominant means of construction for a very long time and this has impacted negatively on the atmosphere that we live in.Building design and construction that use the principles of brick and block construction depend on the binding material that brings the individual units together. These materials do not differ greatly from those used in prefabricated construction and generally include bricks, concrete, glass, stone among others. Masonry has been the dominant type of material for use in building construction for over millennia and has been applied all over the world because of the many desirable attributes. The durability, as well as the energy performance of these ancient materials, are one of the most desirable. The durability is mainly attributed to the material properties while the thermal properties associated with the insulation capabilities. Insulation capabilities mainly describe the ability of the components to store and release energy.
It has been a challenging aspect of the two materials to reduce the carbon emission as well as the waste. One of the main challenges on prefabricated technology is the use of concrete. Concrete tends to increase the carbon emission which decreases the viability of the prefabricated buildings (Goodier & GIbb, 2007).
The traditional construction methodology was highly requested because of the comparatively low costs before the 1990s.On the other hand, the major advantage of the prefabricated building is the speed with which it can be set up but on the downside, setting up a prefabricated building tends to cost much more than the traditional ones. This was not a feasible route to be taken by house developers who wanted to build buildings at a lower price and at their own speed. A lower speed meant that they could save humongous amounts on developments and could sell the houses at their own prices in the market. As a matter of fact, the United Kingdom has also been slow in adopting the prefabricated building technology with the current estimates indicating that about 1 in 20 buildings is prefabricated (Gardiner, 2017).
Considering the housing crisis that faces the United Kingdom, a prefabricated building has been touted as one of the means to overcome this. The main argument is that the buildings can easily be erected and depends on the speed of prefabrication. The buildings are constructed offsite and delivered to the desired destination at the most appropriate time. The speed is mainly influenced by the simultaneous fabrication of the building parts with the foundation development. It can, therefore, reduce the time required to develop the traditional housing system by 50% (Gardiner, 2017).Moreover, the building requires fewer skilled labor, there are fewer on-site accidents and the buildings are more consistent compared to the traditional building systems.
Various house developments have taken shape around the United Kingdom with some property developers investing humongous amounts in prefabricated building construction. More development has already been outlined with the airtight nature of the building construction as well as the customizable nature playing a major role in the development. Other factors such as mileage have however dismissed the need for prefabricated homes. Prefab homes may be energy efficient but are hugely imported increasing the air emissions (Gardiner, 2017). Therefore, for the development of these types of home, a proper argument needs to be established that generally signifies all the major advantages over the traditional systems of home development.
A number of firms in the United Kingdom have tried to establish prefabricated home development with notable examples the company Legal and general. The company has been set up in the city of Leeds with the desire to produce a number of prefabricated buildings. The development of the industry will likely reduce the housing crisis that currently puts the United Kingdom at a bottleneck.
Regarding the whole planet, prefabricated buildings have been developed and properly managed in cities such as Hong Kong. In this, the development was mainly on the integration of precast structural elements into the already existing buildings and it is only afterward that various off-site factories were developed. The offsite factories would develop semi-fabricated elements for the construction of schools and government quarters. The main aim of using the semi prefabricated elements was to test on the potential development prospects of the prefabricated buildings. However, from the year 2000 there was the large-scale use of fabricated elements on buildings which included train stations podiums and in bus stops (Wong, 2003).later on the use would extend to residential buildings with the emphasis on sustainable building development.
In trying to establish the feasibility of prefabricated elements in building construction proper structural as well as safety measures need to be considered. Therefore, the various construction authorities around the world need to develop proper guidelines that cover the structural as well as the safety aspect of buildings.
The United Kingdom is experiencing a shortage of houses and this has been attributed to the increasing population and the decreasing land space. The major advantage of the prefabricated building is the ease of erection, after prefabrication of the elements. According to company reports, some companies can prefabricate a building for 20 days prior to erection (Booth, 2017). The speed, therefore, presents a major advantage over the traditional construction of buildings. The development of prefabricated buildings in the United Kingdom is mainly attributed to Winston Churchill. He advocated for prefabricated building because of the shortage of houses after the Second World War. The program went on to build a number of prefab houses some of which are still standing to date, attesting the durability of properly build prefab houses. It is, therefore, the purpose of this dissertation, to look into detail about the developments of the prefabricated building sector. Furthermore, there will be a detailed analysis on the different methods used to prefabricate buildings and a comparison with the traditional building methods.
The history of prefabricated buildings in the United Kingdom
As stated before, the United Kingdom faced a shortage of houses because of the Second World War. It is on this note that the then prime minister, Winston Churchill noted the need for prefabricated buildings. The vision was officially drafted in 1944 and passed as the housing act. The initial shortage of 200000 houses was to be addressed by building about 500000 houses which were estimated to have a lifespan of about 10 years.
The movement towards prefabricated buildings in the UK was mainly centered on the use of facilities used during wartimes. Moreover, the standards used in the development were, mainly developed by the ministry of works because of the necessity of a common ground on which to develop these types of buildings. However, the program was shut in 1951 with the number of prefabricated building developed during this time accounting for about 15% of the total houses built (Pan, et al., 2008).Therefore, considering that the number buildings did not meet the set number, the local and regional authorities had to develop other types of prefabricated buildings which are still present today. One of the techniques employed to meet the criteria was the use of precast reinforced concrete, commonly and widely used today. .Another development was the service unit. The service unit mainly described a situation in which the service, as well as the waste pipes from the kitchen, were set alongside the bathroom unit.
It is, however, an indication of the need to develop a number of techniques that are centered on the prefabricated building technique.
The standards that were to be met during the construction of prefabricated houses and buildings were mainly influenced by the transportation capabilities. The prefabricated components need to be transported on rail or road and as such, have to fit the means of transportation, such as Lorries
Prefabricated buildings are an improvement of the traditional block and mortar buildings which are built on site. In this, the various components are manufactured in the factory, transported to the site and then assembled together. Therefore, the parts are designed in such a manner that they can easily be fitted together to ensure that the final product is in place. The development of prefabricated buildings in the UK traces its origin from Liverpool. The first design consisted of paneled blocks that were used to make apartments.
Prefabrication has broadly been classified into two: volumetric and panelized (Eglinton, 2013).Regardless of the type, the method is applicable to the numerous construction materials such as steel, timber, and concrete. Moreover, the different types of prefabricated components may be used together for the erection of the site provided that the necessary measures are taken. However, because steel frames are relatively lighter, galvanized steel is usually the most commonly applied prefabricated material. As with the other materials, the most important factors are the environmental conditions and the preferences of the consumer.
Prefabrication is not limited to the individual components of the building as the whole structure may be assembled and transported to the site as a single unit. The ease with which it can be transported therefore depends on the materials used for prefabrication as well as the method for assembly. The component-based system has been widely applied in countries such as New Zealand and can be used for the different types of buildings as well as materials. The method focuses on steel frames and elements, wood elements as well as the steel and composite elements. Generally, the major advantage is that it is efficient, timely and offers control of the materials in terms of quality. The individual components of this method are stick and subassembly fabrication.
The stick method focuses on ensuring that the prefab components are pre-cut, reshaped and put in the correct sizes before being transported to the site for assembly. By doing so, the time required for assembling the parts is reduced making it very easy for the workers. The method focuses on the individual elements such as the timber or steel lengths. On the other hand, subassembly deals with the various fittings and components such as windows.
In line with categories, the wood category consists of prefabricated wood components that are usually made off the field but in a manageable and controlled environment. Managing the different components off-site ensures that the installment is very effective when the materials are brought to the actual site. The major disadvantage of the wood system is attributed to the light frames that can be made from it.Wood is usually weak in tension and as such, it may be limited to residential buildings and small commercial buildings.
For the design of the wood system, the various components are mainly made of tongue and groove fittings which usually reduce the work required when piecing them together. However, the design aspect has to consider the various types of wood that can be used successfully and incorporated into the build. Some woods are generally very ductile and therefore may result to unsuitable building construction. Higher grades of timber are generally suitable for construction but all this depends on the design as well as the preferences of the consumer. In line with the environmental conditions, other special circumstances such as the location of the building also need to be factored in.Buildings that may be located in earthquake-prone regions will need additional measures to ensure that the building can withstand the various forces produced in an earthquake. The design may be established at the factory but may extend to the building site. Timber use has been overshadowed by other building materials such as steel and concrete but presents a major advantage because of the insulation properties of timber. A modification may be in providing a cavity which improves the insulation properties of the building.
The framing technology employed in the construction of most timber buildings-whether traditional or offsite- is mainly prefabricated. As indicated above, prefabrication provides a faster method of erecting a building at a considerably lower cost than the traditional building systems. However, this technology has been widely applied in some parts of the world such as the UK but other parts still lag behind. The framing system takes its root from Scandinavia and North America which indicates why Winston Churchill sent engineers to North America for a benchmarking exercise during the Second World War. Nevertheless, the timber building is based on a stud framework, outer sheathing, particle board, internal plasterboard material and an outer cladding (Goodier & GIbb, 2007). The cladding employed is to ensure that the building preserves its natural appearance as well as provide waterproofing properties.
In designing the framing system, two methods have been widely applied: balloon and platform framing though the latter has been widely applied in the United Kingdom. Regarding the two, the balloon frame employs the technique of an intermediate floor which is usually suspended from the framework while in the latter, the intermediate floor is supported by the panel on the lower side. The system has gained popularity because of the ease of transportation, the ease of handling as well as the minimal shrinkage properties associated with it.
The kitset technology has to consider the individual components of the building prior to the actual installation. However, the foundation plays a significant role in the overall stability of such a building and as such, modifications have resulted in a prebuild foundation on which the individual components fit in.Some systems ensure that the roofs and the walls are connected to the foundation through other materials such as steel rods which provide lateral as well as shear support to the building, therefore, reducing the impact of wind and other uplift forces that the building may be subjected to.Nevertheless,the use of timber for the design and construction of prefabricated building provides a sustainable option because of the increased energy effectiveness of the building.
The use of concrete has mainly been attributed to the fact that it is strong in tension. Therefore, in the design of a building using prefabricated concrete, most of the elements will guarantee durability as well as strength. On the other hand, a composite building may consist of prefabricated main and secondary elements but the secondary elements may be made from other materials such as wood. The main structural elements of a building include the beams, columns, and slab and by ensuring that they can sustain the building, the other components may be made from steel or wood. However, steel has been used alongside concrete because it is weak in tension but strong in compression. The two materials provide a reinforced concrete structure that has been used extensively in the construction industry. Stair systems have adopted the concrete concept and as such, there have been various modifications to ensure that the staircase systems that are developed fit into the overall building structure. Development in New Zealand have resulted into a staircase system that is very flexible, has the structural integrity of reinforced concrete but it is very light. This just indicates the potential for concrete in developing prefabricated components of a building.
Steel has widely been used in the development of skyscrapers and this has been attributed to the light frame that it offers. However, its popularity has been challenged by other materials such as timber and concrete with its shortage as well as its price contributing majorly to its dwindling usage. Prefabrication employs a number of factors such as the use of semi-skilled labor and efficient design processes which ensure that it is very cheap when it comes to the market.
The major advantages of using prefabricated steel for building construction are as follows: the standards are maintained at the factory, steel can easily be assembled on site and as such ensures that timely construction, it is stable and does not sway unlike the other construction materials, the spans offered by steel frames are relatively longer because of its relatively light weight among others.however,some of the disadvantages associated with steel include: electrical conductivity, deformation and the ability to be corroded by environmental factors such as moisture. Nevertheless, it provides one of the best construction materials that may be used.
The design and prefabrication of steel frames is a complicated process that involves highly skilled labor because the technology employs complicated software and machinery such as the roll forming machine. The roll forming machine prefabricates the steel to the exact dimensions required on sites such as the service holes and the positioning of the fitting such as the windows and doors. Furthermore, the prefabrication comes with other factors such as bracing, door and window lintels among others with the delivery occurring in a preassembled mode (Eglinton, 2013).
The components of a prefabricated building have to meet the various standards so that the eventual building may be regarded as inhabitable. Components of a typical building include slab, beams, columns, walls, and staircases. However, the different elements have specific properties that should be met prior to the assembly at site. To begin with, the beam design has to consider the locational properties with the two types of beam differing in loading as well as the symmetry. Secondly, column design has to consider the number of stories that the building design has considered. Buildings with less than five stories require that the column be continuous while those with more than five stories requiring two or more columns. The column design furthermore depends on its location and loading properties with the three column types: edge internal and corner columns requiring different prefabrication technologies. Thirdly, the slabs that are designed to fit into the precast systems are of mainly two types: hollow cored and double tee. The fourth structural element to be considered in the design is the walling unit. The walling unit design is very valuable because it provides stability to the building as well as surrounding the other elements such as the staircase. However, the walling that may be employed in the design are of two types: infill and cantilever. Finally, the precast staircase that may be used in the design of the building falls into three categories: single precast, separate precast, and part precast. The system considers the flight and the landing as either separate or single units.
Fig 1: prefabricated building technology (Eglinton, 2013)
The types of systems used for prefabrication usually depends on the individual components to be constructed. To begin with, there is the open prefab system which is based on the individual components of the building such as the walling elements, trusses, columns etc. The components are designed in such a way that they make up the whole building structure. Furthermore, the open prefab system can be classified into two: the partial and the full prefab systems. The partial system focuses on the usage of precast components such as the roofing and the floor systems. Moreover, these structural parts may be designed as in situ frameworks or the load bearing walls (Osmani, 2012). On the other hand, the full prefab system produces all the structural elements of the buildings in a prefabricated manner.Filler materials used in this case are usually made of the locally available materials.
The second system used in prefabrication-large panel system- is founded on the principle of large prefabricated components of a building. Moreover, the casting of the components may be on or off-site. There are the various size and structural properties of the elements to be designed using this system. The walling system may be classified as a cross wall or horizontal depending on the load bearing properties, flooring could either be homogenous or non-homogenous and finally the staircase system should be designed as a single flight system with the treads and risers inbuilt.However, the stair system has to consider the load bearing capability as well as the transfer of loads to the slabs and walls.
The third type of construction using prefabricated elements is known as the box type. The system emphasizes on-site fabrication as well as the erection of the room elements of the building. However, the strength of the building is determined by the stiffness and rigidity of the unit formed by the adjacent walls. Joints are important elements in this type of building and as such, the designer has to ensure that proper jointing and connections are established. Some of the factors to be considered in selecting the type of joint include; serviceability, appearance, feasibility and the fireproofing properties. Therefore, the jointing that may be used in the system includes welding, using of ties, bolt, and nuts, prestressing among others.
The major advantages of prefabricated buildings are usually associated with the characteristic of the resultant product. Therefore, some of the advantages of using prefabricated buildings include: the products are usually high in quality, there are numerous costs saved on labor as well as time, the efficiency of production is very high, the construction technique is usually independent of the climatic conditions, the production is controlled hence a safer working environment, and increase in mass production among others. On the downside, the technique may be associated with the following: humongous sections usually require heavy equipment for installation, some parts such as panels made of glass may require specialized handling, joint considerations since the sections are usually assembled by method of joints and an increase in the transportation costs when the components to be transported have huge volumes.
Fig 2: advantages of OSP (Pan, et al., 2008)
The traditional materials that have been widely used for construction are mainly made from earth. However, recent development has indicated that concrete and steel are the most preferred material for construction purposes. Timber use has reduced significantly because of the decreasing land, increasing population as well as the increasing need for sustainable development. Moreover, steel and concrete have been widely used in the construction of buildings which are more durable and less susceptible to environmental conditions. Reinforced concrete has been used widely because of the inherent properties of the two materials used: concrete and steel with each covering the fault in the other. However, the traditional method of brick and block is the widely used technique for developing buildings. In this, the materials, as well as the building, is designed as well as fabricated on site. The foundation, as well as the upper parts of the building, follow a step by step procedure and though the method is effective, it requires a lot of labor as well as time. Phase to phase construction cannot take place in a simultaneous manner such as in the use of prefabricated components for eventual building construction.
The traditional methods are widely used in the construction industry in the United Kingdom despite the surge in the use of modern materials. The term traditional buildings apply to those buildings whereby the leafs used for load bearing purposes in the internal part are made of masonry and are usually connected to the ties by steel connections (Pan, et al., 2007).Moreover, the ties are usually made of either bricks or blocks. The use has been widely attributed to the availability of the materials with the origin dating back a number of years ago.moreover, the material described has the advantage of absorbing and releasing the moisture available which means that there are a number of methods that can be used to ensure that the buildings are safe and usable. The two methods used in ensuring that a traditional building is efficient and durable revolve around the ventilation as well as the maintenance.
To begin with, the ventilation in these types of buildings is maintained by ensuring that there is the proper movement and circulation of air and moisture around the building.it is therefore done through the use of ducts, chimneys, windows, and vents. On the other hand, maintenance may be done by ensuring that the materials that are used in maintenance are permeable. The main concern is the permeability of the materials used in the construction because the modern materials used such as concrete and cement are generally impermeable
In line with the materials and construction methods used in traditional buildings the most important factor is the material properties. There are four forms of construction materials used in this case and are as follows: concrete blocks which are usually dense in nature, aerated blocks that are usually light, single skin and the thin joint system. To begin with, the concrete blocks are used for the construction of building elements such as the foundation, internal partitions that are usually load bearing and the external leafs of the walls. The main disadvantage of the material is the low insulation property as well as the acoustics. The properties of the dense concrete are, to a large extent, similar to the aerated and therefore may be used for the foundation, solid walls and the internal partitions. However, unlike the dense concrete blocks, they provide greater thermal efficiency to a building which plays a significant role in its use over the former.
The thin joint system has the advantage of increasing the speed of building because of the ability of a single leaf to rise up to the roof level. The single leaf is developed without necessarily waiting for the leafs located on the external parts of the building and as such may have similar characteristics to the panel system. In building the structure using the joint system, a mortar is applied using a scoop from where the blocks are laid. Finally, there is the single skin method which has been commonly applied in the United Kingdom because of the relative lesser skills required.
The single skin traditional method of construction has been widely publicized by the architects and developers located in the UK because of the increasing population densities, the increasing land shortage and the subsequent inflation in their prices and the unavailability of skilled people. The method focuses on the insulation properties of buildings and sets out to meet all the standard thermal requirements set up in the UK. In this, the technique begins with the installation and erection of the blockwork which meets the thermal requirements of the proprietor and this is followed by the installation of finishes as well as the façade without necessarily requiring highly skilled labor.The insulation of the building is usually provided by Wetherby systems which have an array of options for building construction. The systems have been widely incorporated in all building structures ranging from a single storey, multistorey or even the traditional storey buildings. Furthermore, the architect and designer may be able to incorporate a number of elevations, textures, colors and curved features in the building design which ensures that the system is highly relevant in the building industry.
The aforementioned types of building materials have been used to date and according to recent studies, some modifications may ensure that the buildings are more eco-friendly. Studies have indicated that buildings which have solid walls may be the option for sustainable development because of the substantial reduction in the cooling and heating needs of such buildings. As such, the buildings may provide a suitable alternative for structures made of glass or steel because of the reduced need for cooling during summer conditions and heating during the winter. The studies go on to indicate that such buildings usually cost less when it comes to cooling and heating with the savings between 15% and 20% (Osmani, 2012).In comparison to prefabricated buildings, the study indicated that the solid wall traditional buildings are likely to be more durable.
In the United Kingdom, it has been discovered that 24% of the total waste is usually associated with building construction and demolition (Clover, 2007) and as such, presents a significant impediment when using traditional methods for construction. Furthermore, the statistics also indicate that the building industries in Britain are very inefficient when comparing them to countries such as Belgium and Norway. The efficiency of the building industry in Britain has been determined as 25% (Clover, 2007).Some of the factors contributing to this inefficiency include increased use in traditional methods of construction and the lack of the skills that are required (Clover, 2007).
Fig 3: Waste generation (Guerrero, 2013)
Fig 4: waste from the building and construction sector (Guerrero, 2013)
The development of prefabricated buildings has therefore resulted in the shortage of traditional buildings with the emphasis on green and sustainable buildings. However, some factors such as unemployment have resulted into most people opting for traditional building because it is labor intensive. However, the eco-friendly nature of the prefab buildings is the major advocate towards the use of prefabricated buildings in the UK.
Building and construction is a broad topic in which research and findings may be established by use of field work as well as the review of the relevant literature.However, the surveys and questionnaires will be the predominant method of obtaining firsthand information and as such, have to meet the expectation of providing enough information from the respondents. The survey will be an incorporation of open-ended as well as closed questions with the Likert scale also used in providing qualitative data from the respondents. Furthermore, the survey will be voluntary because the information is for academic research.
Questionnaires may be mailed, faxed or sent by email if the respondents are not available. However, mailing and faxing questionnaires are relatively inefficient methods because of the unavailability of the interviewer.Respondents may choose to answer the questionnaires according to their timelines which may result to delay in information. Nevertheless, the use of email, as well as the fax system, is a very efficient method when the interviews extend throughout the United Kingdom. The emails, as well as the box addresses of the various respondents, will have to be sourced from the relevant authorities with the necessary measures taken into consideration. Other social networks such as LinkedIn as well as Facebook will play a huge role in providing a platform through which the interviews may be conducted and questionnaires may be sent.
Interviews will also form an integral part of the research. The interviews may be conducted by the use of communication devices such as telephones but the most suitable may be the face to face communication. Face to face communications has the advantage of providing immediate feedback in which case the interviewer can engage the respondent in a manner that ensures that all the necessary information is obtained. Furthermore, the building sector is a busy place and therefore proper engagement may result in unbiased information.
Another tool to be used in the analysis is the review of the literature. Numerous journals, as well as books, are available for research on the building sector with pieces of information involving traditional as well as prefabricated buildings available on the internet. The literature forms the basis of the research and it will a large extent be cross-checked against the data obtained from the actual field survey. Google scholar is an invaluable source of information with the database having numerous books as well as journals. However, specific keywords will be used in reference to our research topic. Some of the keywords to be used in the search include prefabricated buildings, traditional buildings, UK building sector, Sustainable building among others. However, the literature will be limited to the recent developments in the prefabrication technology as well as the traditional methods. Therefore, the research will be limited to the year 2007.Books and journals which were published before that year are likely to have outdated information.
The first limitation is on the number of skilled respondents willing to take part in the survey. The construction industry has a shortage of skilled labor and as such this may prove costly to the amount of information obtained. Obtaining information from semi-skilled as well as the other laborers may not be of significant value to the research.
Secondly, the information and data obtained in the research may be biased. The respondents may provide data that is not really true because of public relations. The respondent may provide data that actually describes the ideal scenario resulting to wrong findings.
The third limitation is mainly concerned with the time taken by some of the respondents to reply, or to a larger extent answer the questionnaire. A number of respondents are available on social networks but this does not necessarily mean they will gladly reply to the questionnaires. Some may ignore the questionnaires while others may take a very long time to respond.
The chapter will provide the necessary reports and details about the building sector in the United Kingdom. The two classes of building in the UK will be looked at with the main emphasis on sustainable development as well increasing housing needs.
According to numerous developers and construction companies, the United Kingdom has an unchecked population whose housing needs may only be met by innovative and sound technologies. Some of which include prefabricated buildings. Partnerships have been created among various companies in trying to make a footprint in the housing sector in the UK.One particular partnership involves China National Building Company, young housing, and link Groups is on the development agenda but is yet to establish a building site. According to the partnership deals, the factories used for this partnership will be six in number with the annual house production amounting to 2500 homes. Besides trying to meet the needs of the population, the houses are designed in such a way that they Minimis the use of carbon in construction as well as being energy efficient. Energy efficiency arises from the fact that most of these buildings will be using solar power while the carbon footprint will be reduced by using composite materials. The frames to be used in the development of the prefabricated homes will mainly be made of steel and other composite materials.
The adoption of the prefabricated home technology has been very slow in the UK with most of the population still densely populated in some regions. Only a few developers and companies have observed the need for offsite building developments. The buildings are prefabricated in the factory and shipped to the building site using Lorries and other commercial vehicles. However, the cost will depend on the design criteria and the luxury needed in the design. Other developments in the construction industry will involve an increase in the knowledge of prefabricated homes because only a small proportion of the population as well as acquainted with the skills to be used in the development of prefabricated homes. The skills required in this type of production revolve around virtual construction techniques which involve the use of complex software and technologies in the design.
One of the major advantages of a prefabricated home is the environmentally friendly nature. One of the aspects of eco-friendly regards to the minimization of waste from buildings. The construction sector in the UK is the major contributor to waste but by using prefabricated homes, there will be a likely reduction in the amount of waste generated. Unlike the traditional construction methods, prefabricated homes have been designed and assembled using less material. When the building is deemed unsuitable for habitation or other reasons calling for demolition, the materials need not be disposed of but may be stored for other construction projects. Moreover, the excess materials are usually not disposed of but can be taken back to the factory for remodeling. Therefore, the materials used for the design of these buildings are usually eco-friendly and reduce the impact of the construction and building sector on the environment.
Despite the numerous social as well as economic benefits associated with prefabricated buildings, the UK has been reluctant in adopting the technology with traditional building considered the most predominant. The percentage of households that are made from traditional technology is about 70% indicating the need for the development of the prefabricated sector. Traditional brick and mortar technologies have been described by some authors to be eco-friendly but their sustainability is questionable. The heating and cooling costs of these types of buildings are very minimal but the waste generated from demolition as well as construction are humongous.
The use of traditional materials for construction has been necessitated by the need to use local materials in order to ensure that they meet the conditions of the environment in which they are used. These materials have been made more sustainable by use of innovations and technology. Some of the technological developments that have been integrated into the use of traditional materials include earth-related materials, water cooling boundaries technology, among others. However, the use of these materials has to consider the building properties and the structural capabilities.Buildings with increasing number of stories may not be designed and constructed using these materials.
Prefabricated buildings seem to outweigh the traditional buildings in terms of sustainable development. The major advantage of these buildings is the fact that the construction, as well as the demolition, can be controlled. The control occurs during the prefabrication process as well as at the site. Furthermore, the assembly of the individual components results into an airtight environment which tends to ensure the energy efficiency of the building with some design incorporating solar energy into the energy requirements. Buildings powered using solar energy may operate 75% of the time off the grid.
The building sector in the UK is still reluctant of the technology with few companies willing to venture into the act. Some argue that the components of the buildings are shipped and this increases the mileage by air which may beat the goal of sustainable development. However, due to the increasing land prices and population density, a number of companies have observed that prefabricated buildings are the future. The major concern is on the labor force that will be employed for the delivery of the project. Unlike the traditional construction where a huge labor force is required, the prefabricated buildings require a comparatively lower labor force but with higher skills.
Traditional materials have been used in the UK with a large number of buildings being made of brick and block. The use of these materials was mainly because of the large tracts of land and the relatively lower population. The time required to develop such buildings was of no concern to the developers because the market was mainly open. Therefore, speed was not needed in development. The recent surge in population, as well as the reduced land and scarcity of labor, have resulted to the need for prefabricated buildings.
The government is expected to adopt prefabricated building in the Housing white paper because of the major advantages. Faster construction of houses means that a huge number may be available for rent or ownership which is the ultimate e goal of the government. Furthermore, the buildings are built to precision and therefore the waste produced from such building sites is very minimal compared to the traditional methods of construction.
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