Jun 23, 2014

What the World Cup can tell you about working at speed

It’s hard to ignore the World Cup. Just about everyone tunes in to watch, even if their home nation hasn’t made it to the tournament. As one of the pinnacles of world sport and competition, it showcases the best in the world in action.

A particular incident in this year’s competition has caught my eye. Holland’s Arjen Robben set a record speed for a footballer in his country’s match against Spain by reaching 37 kilometres per hour. In doing so, he outstripped a world-class defender in Sergio Ramos to get onto the ball, beat another two defenders and score a memorable goal. 

Working at speed is often associated with inaccuracy and poor quality. That isn’t always necessarily the case. In fact, as Robben showed against Spain, you can work at speed AND hit the target if you have the right skills and do it the right way.

In our industry, projects costs and sustainability are important factors. They provide definite targets that need to be hit.

If you’re looking to enhance speed of build on a construction project, the popular belief is that you will have to sacrifice on one of these fronts. The reality is that by employing the right design approach in combination with efficient construction methods, you can achieve on all three of these measures.  

A fabric first design approach is a great first step. It places the fabric of the homes at the heart of achieving energy efficiency targets. That keeps costs down by removing the requirement for costly “bolt-on” technology such as micro-renewable devices. As a result, the homes require no ongoing maintenance and tenants don’t have to change their behaviour to meet energy performance targets. These factors make a significant difference to a project’s bottom line and residents’ satisfaction with their new homes.  

Combine this design approach with offsite construction methods and you’ll add quality and enhanced speed to your build, as well as cost savings. Manufacturing offsite means your project isn’t relying on good weather and means the building envelope can be simply put together, very quickly.

Not only is it quicker, but it results in a better quality product. In the factory we can precision engineer the timber systems, which results in a better product with greater thermal performance and energy efficiency. That’s good news for reaching new standards, and is reflected in several of the projects on which we have worked in recent years.

Plymouth University: We worked with BAM Construction on a project for Plymouth University at its Truro Campus. We supplied and erected the timber systems for all seven blocks on this large project in just 16 weeks. As we know, speed of build is particularly important for student accommodation projects, but so too is sustainability. This one achieved BREEAM Excellent standard, reflecting its excellent energy performance.  

Adelphi House: As part of the AIMC4 consortium, we worked on producing high quality, energy efficient, affordable homes. To reflect that, we took a fabric first approach and used our Sigma OP4 product. The results speak for themselves. Three of the homes reached Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4 through a fabric only solution, and our role in the project was complete almost three months ahead of schedule.

Mulberry Reach: We recently worked with Linden Homes on one of its sites in Exminster to produce 26 quality homes quickly. The development proved very popular in the market, with most of the homes sold off-plan. As a result, Linden wanted to expand the site to meet local demand. We were able to deliver the homes between four and five weeks more quickly compared with the use of a traditional build method.

What are you learning from the World Cup? Tweet us on @TimberSystems with your ideas.

Homes For Scotland Home Builders Federation National House-Building Council Royal Institute of British Architects Structural Timber Association Constructionline British Board of Agrement Wood Campus Build Off Site Building Research Establishment WOOD FOR GOOD

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