Another innovative method called accelerated construction uses advanced planning techniques, collaboration and design to reduce the time it takes to design and construct structures. With digital 3D (or 4D) models, building can be sped up even more. That may seem like a small win, but faster construction generally means lower social, environmental and economic impacts.
In Aotearoa New Zealand, WSP has successfully used accelerated construction methods on bridges and transport projects. Modular construction is being used for the development of the country’s new Antarctic research station - Scott Base.
With estimates suggesting that 20 percent of global carbon emissions relate to the construction of the built environment, and another 30 percent relating to the operation of buildings and infrastructure, the industry has a responsibility to keep building smarter in these kinds of ways.
Today’s green buildings use resources with much lower embodied carbon. Sophisticated digital tools are now helping constructors of the built environment compare the carbon footprint of materials - generated during their manufacture, transportation and placement on site. The latest in digital twin technology can speed up design and planning and monitor building performance in real time – bringing gains in energy efficiency.
Modern, sustainably designed buildings don't just minimise negative impacts on the environment; they look to maximise health and wellbeing. Here in Aotearoa, the Green Building Council notes that green buildings have better indoor environment quality and are more pleasant for people to occupy – for example, through greenery and access to views and daylight.
Given our expected future demand for housing and infrastructure, modern methods like modular and accelerated construction aren’t just a nice-to-do; they’re a must-do. Coupled with materials recycling / reuse and increasing market access to lower carbon products, building in this way is just plain common sense.
WSP is taking an industry lead in providing clients with low carbon designs and advice. As we continue to innovate in low carbon solutions and improve environmental outcomes, we're confident that the next generation of built structures will keep hitting the health and sustainability sweet spot.
We’re already building faster, smarter, healthier and greener. But can we do more? Yes. In our future, we can.