Designing for the long-term

Innovation in building design can come in many forms – heat loss reduction, methods to improve the speed of installation or even a simpler way of draining water from a balcony.

However, it can be easy to forget why we strive to innovate in the first place. It is a sad truth that our climate is warming and buildings that last will have taken into consideration the needs of future generations. Renewable energy, on-site electricity generation and Passive design are all ways to avoid extra costs for the residents and avoid the need to be retrofitted in the future. All design elements must be cost-effective to maintain over time and we must be designing for the long term.

The London Housing Design Guide

There are specific requirements in London for balcony design for example. The London Housing Design Guide, published in 2010, forms a common set of design standards across all of London. One point to mention is that in all two-person dwellings, a minimum of 5m2 of private outdoor space is required, with an extra 1m2 for each additional occupant. As this is observed, it gives residents the option of fresh air and ventilation as standard.

Global solutions

In colder climates such as Canada, a focus needs to be maintained on reducing heat loss to keep each building sustainable for long-term use. As it is not always possible to design a building with an unbroken façade, it is important to consider thermal breaks. Simulations, risk analysis and research can yield powerful insights and avoid excess heat loss in cases such as the Aqua Tower in Chicago, where concrete slabs and windows were butted together, and the measures of heat loss were enormous.

New Zealand architects and builders are adopting innovative solutions in construction as their population grows, the demand for high-rise developments increases and the stricter requirements of the New Zealand Building Code continue to permeate. As the rate of construction and installation quickens, solutions such as Glide-On™ balcony Cassettes®, intelligent drainage solutions and reduced installation costs can ensure that a build stays as affordable as possible, meaning that quality builds are possible in ever-shortening timeframes.

The necessity for premises built to last is ever-increasing in the 21st-century climate. By making intelligent choices in the design phase of any new building and designing for the long term, we can make sure future generations have access to the very innovations we have enjoyed ourselves.

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