SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION III
Construction has been held responsible for causing environmental problems ranging from excessive consumption of global resources both in terms of construction and building operation to the pollution of the surrounding environment. A quieter part of this theory, however, is the obliviousness of the evolution in construction techniques and materials acquisition that contributes to waste/energy reduction, and various inefficiencies at construction sites.
In Nigeria today, the real estate industry is based on a “build today, fix tomorrow” philosophy rather than on one that anticipates future trends and how they affect the performance of buildings. Several articles have been published on the “poor maintenance culture” as the bane of national development in our nation. However, by increasing attention to quality tools and techniques utilized in the construction and longevity of buildings, maintenance routines will become easier, less costly, and more manageable.
As developers, we must interpret sustainability as our value proposition to clients in respect to the products and services we offer. Our philosophy at Bilaad Realty aligns with a greater cause akin to the United Nations Assembly of “Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” We have chosen to breakdown this concept from the real estate angle by understanding customer needs, potential technological integrations, and improvements in building practice, as they align with long term benefits for ourselves and clients in our drive toward lifestyle solutions.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
EMPHASIS ON OUR PERSPECTIVE
Also known as green building, sustainable construction has been attracting a lot of attention around the world lately, but an understanding of its meaning is critical. The concept refers to both a structure and the application of processes that are resource-efficient throughout a building's life cycle. As such, from planning to design, the construction, operation, and maintenance of a building are effectively thought through and implemented appropriately.
Accordingly, sustainable construction allows us to incorporate elements of economic efficiency, environmental performance, social responsibility, technological innovation and design flexibility. More sustainable construction is the desire of every stakeholder, from the government to procurement bodies to the society at large. But how often is this an aspiration rather than reality? To be useful and manageable, surely sustainability improvements have to be measurable.
As buildings become greener, so do construction sites. Off-site fabrication, on-site maintenance, lean practices, and green materials acquisition have begun to fundamentally transform the way buildings are constructed today. According to the program of California Sustainable Design Program, there are numerous benefits to selecting sustainable materials/ products:
- Reduced maintenance costs by specifying easy-to-maintain materials
- Reduced operational costs by selecting products that result in energy savings
- Reduced replacement of materials by selecting durable materials
- Reduced environmental impact by reducing unnecessary resource extraction and by minimizing waste generation
- Reduced impacts on air quality by selecting low-emitting materials
Another integral component to sustainable construction is workplace safety and health matters, as the protection of human resource must be factored into measurements of sustainable construction. In order to achieve this, we must adopt best practice approach in Prevention through Design (PtD), which influences the layout of project sites during construction and helps in overall personnel management. The aim of Prevention through Design is to avoid work-related injuries, illnesses, and fatalities by eliminating hazards and minimizing risks to workers in the design and re-design of facilities, work methods, processes, tools, and products.
Homebuyers are increasingly becoming aware of the cost associated with purchasing poorly built structures. Apart from the consequence of potential collapse, rework is always more expensive than implementing it the right way the first time. Therefore, through sustainable partnerships, we must hold ourselves accountable in providing optimum value across installations. This reduces the overall project costs and maintenance requirements in comparison to projects or buildings which are not accorded similar benchmarks.
Sustainability has been defined in the context of sustainable development as “meeting the needs and aspirations of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs and aspirations” (WCED, 1987). At Bilaad Realty, we interpret sustainability as our value proposition to clients in respect to the products and services we offer in real estate.
Our adoption of sustainable construction methods is deliberate; we are conscious of advancements made in developed countries where alternative building materials are utilized in construction; however, we understand the current state of awareness and cultural acceptability of our market. The concept remains the same, but its integration across different locations will be specific to our needs in a progressive manner.
We are optimistic that an understanding of this fundamental question: “if every company or service provider offers the same surface level service, who then offers value, who offers quality?” will help guide our continuous improvement drive.
For us at Bilaad Realty, Sustainable Construction is here to stay.