How To Create Bespoke Buildings

Sunday 26th December 2021




The dictionary definition of a building is simply ‘a structure that has a roof and walls’. However, to the occupants of that building, it is so much more. Buildings are intrinsically linked to every aspect of our daily lives. We use them for:
 

  • Shelter and protection
  • Working
  • Living
  • Exercise
  • Education
  • Recreation

 

In the last year, we’ve experienced a return to a new normal. This ‘new normal’ comes with an increased focus on people and our planet. Now, more than ever, we are seeing health and wellbeing placed as a priority in every aspect of life, including in the way our buildings are designed and constructed. 

 

It has also changed the way we consume our buildings. Individuals spend around 90% of their time indoors and now, that figure could be even higher. The pandemic revealed the multi-functional nature of living spaces, causing people to optimise their homes for improved health and wellbeing.

 

With the majority of people now back to working in office buildings, going into school and visiting malls, it’s important to extend the same level of comfort achieved within our home into other indoor environments we frequent. 

 

A key part of enhancing our indoor environments is using bespoke solutions, customised to fit the requirements of a given project. 

 

We’re exploring 7 factors, all of which are deeply linked to enhancing indoor environments, which you can optimise to meet building demands and ultimately improve health, wellbeing, and sustainability.

 

1) Natural Light

 

Natural sunlight is an incredibly important factor to consider, since it comes with a range of benefits. Sunlight triggers the release of serotonin, which boosts our mood and helps us to feel calm and focused. When creating a home or work space, natural light is particularly important. It can increase productivity by 40%, and creativity by 15%. 

 

In addition, incorporating more natural light can help to save around 20% of our electricity bill by reducing the need for artificial light. Not only does this lead to further cost savings, it also enhances sustainability by reducing energy consumption.

 

2) Air Quality

 

Indoor air pollutants can be 2 to 5 times higher than outdoor environments. Indoor air quality is affected byexternal pollutants that enter from outside, such as nitrogen dioxide from vehicles, but also by cleaning products, furnishings, and food objects.

 

Robust and reliable drainage and ventilation solutions are the key to enhancing indoor air quality. They eliminate odours within the building, while also decreasing the risk of leaks. This ensures a clean and fresh indoor environment that reduces the risk and spread of illness.

 

The selection of solutions depends on the nature of the building. For instance, high-rise buildings require specialised drainage. The taller the building, the greater water pressure needed. High-performing drainage solutions, such as Terrain FUZE, are designed to work with the height and complex architecture of these buildings, reducing the risk of failure.

 

For certain indoor environments, such as car parks, high-performing ventilation is required to keep air fresh and healthy. It is also necessary in emergency situations, such as fires, to ensure safety. Our partners, Nuaire, deliver high-performing ventilation solutions for day-to-day and emergency safety applications.

 

3) Noise Comfort

 

Noise comfort is another incredibly important consideration when it comes to ensuring a healthy, sustainableindoor environment, particularly when it comes to office spaces. Distracting noises can decrease productivity by up to 60%, while also increasing the risk of stress, high blood pressure, hypertension and strokes. 

 

There are several ways to address noise comfort within your building. In open plan office spaces, soft furnishings, internal partitions and the use of sound-absorbing materials can all help to muffle ambient noise. These interior changes will help to avoid the Lombard Effect – the involuntary tendency to speak louder in noisy environments in order to hear and be heard.

 

Another approach which should also be implemented is the integration of acoustically engineered drainage such as our recently launched product, Terrain Q. Specifically designed with high resistance to the propagation of noise from water flowing at high velocities within its bore, this drainage system limits noise levels to only 20dB, equivalent to a whisper!

 

4) Circular Economy

 

A circular economy model refers to when materials are reused rather than being treated as a waste product as they are in linear economies. 

 

We are currently seeing a noticeable shift towards circular economies as it is overall more beneficial, offering cost savings and increased sustainability. Adopting this model into the design and construction of our buildings can provide a range of benefits.

 

Using the circular economy in construction, and the built environment generally, could generate benefits of over $23bn in the GCC countries between 2020 and 2030 – equivalent to around 0.8% of the GCC region’s GDP during those years.[1]

 

Solutions like district cooling, solar energy, and modular construction are all methods that use resources more efficiently and support a circular economy. Some of these may be suitable methods to enhance sustainability and save costs for your building project.

 

5) Sustainable Water Management

 

Sustainable water management solutions follow a cyclic model which reuses water instead of treating this precious resource as a waste product.

 

Sustainability water management solutions support a circular economy and help innovative technology reduce water wastage by 15%. This approach enhances sustainability while also reducing water consumption and hence saving on costs. 

 

Two of our signature water management products, Polystorm and Permavoid, support sustainable water management by collecting and storing water in modular cells. 

 

The stored water can be reused for efficient irrigation to reduce waste. It can also be used for surface water management, helping to reduce flood risk by 80%.

 

6) Green Roofs

 

Another way to optimise your building is to maximise the use of space by converting unused roofs into green spaces. Using sustainable water management systems, you can construct green roofs, which can deliver various benefits.

 

Green roofs help to cool buildings, reducing energy consumption and costs. Additionally, they can be used for health and wellbeing. You can integrate green roofs with parks, gardens or fitness amenities to support a healthy lifestyle. Not to mention, these spaces can also be commercialized to increase revenue streams and property value.

 

7) High-Performing Systems 

 

High-performing systems should always be a priority when it comes to the design and construction of buildings. In order to select the best solution for your project, you should work with suppliers that deliver fit-for-purpose systems.

 

 

 

 

Bespoke, custom-designed solutions better align with your building’s unique needs. This approach ensures optimum performance, reducing the need for maintenance and minimising the risk of failures and subsequent shutdowns. The result? Improved occupant comfort and safety, and the protection of your building’s reputation. 

 

Moving forward, buildings will continue to play a vital role in our lives. As we move into 2022, we predict that buildings will evolve further to not only protect health and wellbeing but actually prioritize it. Occupant-centric design will lead the way forward, pushing the construction industry as a whole to place health, wellbeing and sustainability at the core of the decision-making process. 

 

To discuss how we can help you add value and enhance health, wellbeing, and sustainability for your project, contact us now:

 

Tel: +971 (0) 4 807 3000
Email: middleeast@polypipe.com

 

 

[1] https://www.constructionweekonline.com/business/256903-how-the-circular-economy-can-make-construction-more-sustainable

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