But is it going in the Right Direction?
The national shortage of housing and capacity to supply the market continues to command headlines in both the national and the trade press. Now the political pressure has eased (however temporarily) on renewable energy, the race is on to build as many houses as possible in the shortest space of time, regardless of whether they will last very long or do anything to meet the identified challenge of Climate Change.
The industry knows, but is reluctant to admit, that the current performance of new buildings, particularly in England, is well behind the curve when it comes to dealing with the standards which will be imposed in the course of the coming decade. ArchitectsDeclare is a positive step to address this shortcoming, and who knows – perhaps the builders might recognise that their margins would improve if they built to a higher specification. Building owners, the clients, generally recognise that better performance may cost more initially but is more economic in the longer term.
Nor does it mean substantial capital investment in factories to produce buildings with a limited life expectancy. ICF building systems are manufactured using existing infrastructure and onsite resources to build to future performance standards. Locally produced components are robust and reliable, with a useful life expectancy to make ICF one of the most Sustainable methods of construction.
Slow to gain acceptance in the UK market, BecoWallform has secured a strong position in the self-build sector for individual design and performance. Development now is into mainstream construction, where speed and economies of scale are more significant benefits.
Recently, the Zero Carbon Yorkshire Buildings Group featured a presentation on the growing use of ICF for larger housing projects. It highlighted the growing recognition of Insulated Concrete Formwork systems as a response to the demands, current and future, being made on the UK construction industry.