New evidence is constantly appearing that points towards the construction industry creating unhealthy buildings. Modern construction is creating issues for the occupants like poor air quality, off-gassing materials, damp and mould, ventilation and heating problems. The tradesmen who build them are being exposed to a toxic medley of chemicals and dust, and the environmental cost in terms of resource depletion and embodied energy is massive.
Modular construction is often particularly guilty in this regard because of the widespread use of manufactured high-energy materials over natural building materials. We are taking a radically different approach to modular construction and our aim is to reduce our use of plastics and potentially harmful materials to as close to zero as possible, in the coming years.
It’s a momentous challenge but we are aiming over the next few years to reduce to zero or nearly zero our use of polyurethane, polystyrene, mineral fibre, plywood, chipboard, laminates, vinyls, silicones, rubbers, plastic-based paints and stains, plasterboard…. Obviously there are some instances where it won’t be possible to totally remove these materials (electrical components, sealant around double-glazed units etc.) but the aim is to reduce use as much as we possible can to make our buildings, healthy to build and healthy to occupy.
We are always open to suggestions when it comes to new (or old!) ways to reduce the impact in the way we build, so feel free to chip in any ideas!