Design sustainable solutions

The customer or client has to live with the asset long after the project delivery team has moved on. That’s why it’s essential that the delivery team leave the occupiers of the asset with a sustainable solution which meets their needs for the present AND the future.

You should consider:

Capture customer vision in the design

  • Revisit the customer’s original aspirations and confirm/challenge;
  • Hold design workshops to capture values and views of customer, end user and stakeholders

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Encourage innovative design solutions

Whilst the delivery team may be constrained by time and budget they should not be constrained in terms of creativity. In fact the constraint of cost, in particular, should be seen as an opportunity to drive innovation.

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Consider social, environmental and economic impacts of design solutions

  • Every design decision should be accompanied by a robust consideration of social, environmental and economic impacts;
  • Material specifications should consider local sources, availability, transportation, durability, carbon emissions, embodied energy, etc;
  • Designs should consider the availability of local labour sources and skills to deliver certain construction techniques;
  • The waste hierarchy should always be considered by the designer ie. avoid waste creation, waste minimisation, recycling and reuse of materials, etc;
  • Ensure that whole life costs rather than initial costs are considered when designing/specifying components.

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Consider risks of design solutions

As well as the health and safety risks associated with design which are encompassed in the CDM Regulations you should also consider the risks of social, environmental and economic risks:

  • Amend your risk registers to incorporate social, environmental and economic risks;
  • Ensure that as designs are modified to suit changing conditions risk registers are continually updated and continue to consider social, environmental and economic risks;
  • Ensure that the customer’s “value” requirements are not compromised by changes to designs following risk reviews.

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Consider whole life impacts of design solutions

  • Never rely solely on lowest initial costs as a basis for delivering value;
  • Research current methods and best practices for assessing whole life costs;

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Develop a sustainable procurement policy

  • Research the procurement policies of other organisations to identify good practices;
  • Review/amend your procurement policies to suit changing local circumstances;
  • Incorporate local sources of materials wherever possible
  • Consider local skills availability when proposing building methods

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