Government announces intent to build on brownfield land
Sajid Javid MP, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has just announced the Conservatives latest intent to tackle Britain’s housing crisis head on. He has pledged to build 1m new homes by 2020, with a number of distinct prongs of attack.
The first is to open a home builders fund to the tune of £3bn with the government partnering with contractors and investors to speed up construction on government owned land. It is claimed this will help to build more than 225,000 homes as well as creating 1,000 jobs across the country.
They will also pilot a new initiative accelerating construction on public land building more affordable astatically pleasing properties with an aim of providing more homes, more quickly.
Finally, the Conservatives will revive the British landscape by opening up brownfield land and bring life back to areas of the country that have long been left unused. They will build high-quality family homes using sites such as empty shopping centres, as well as increasing housing density around transport stations to offer housing that the nation actually wants.
Founder and CEO of eMoov.co.uk, Russell Quirk, comments: “Welcome news today that our incessant please for the government to identify Britain’s wasted brownfield sites to build on, seem to have been listened to.
The government itself owns around 180,000 brownfield sites from industrial estates to airports and so this intent straight off the bat to utilise some of it, is at the very least, a step in the right direction.
Although Mr Javid may have described the 170,000 homes delivered as not a bad number, but it is still a shortfall of around 80,000 homes that we need to be building in order to quench the thirst of struggling aspirational buyers.
We will wait and see how many of today’s promises come to fruition before we start to praise these latest endeavours by the government, as essentially we’ve heard them all before but seen very little in the way of them being delivered.”
Read the September 2016 issue of Construction Global magazine
University of Dresden constructs carbon concrete building
The Technical University of Dresden, in partnership with German architecture firm Henn, is constructing the first building to be made out of concrete and carbon fibre, rather than traditional steel.
The combination of materials, known as, “carbon concrete” has the same structural strength as its steel-reinforced alternative but less concrete is used, according to researchers at the university.
The building, called “The Cube” is currently under construction at the University of Dresden’s campus in Germany, and is believed to be the first carbon concrete building in the world. Strengthening the concrete, the carbon fibre yarns are used to create a mesh into which the concrete is then poured.
Unlike steel, the mesh is rust-proof meaning that the lifespan of carbon concrete is longer than that of the more typical steel-reinforced concrete. This also allows the layers to be much thinner than steel.
The design and shape of The Cube
According to the companies, the flexibility of carbon fibre allows the walls to fold up and become a roof. In a statement talking about the building’s design elements, Hen said: “The design of The Cube reinterprets the fluid, textile nature of carbon fibres by seamlessly merging the ceiling and walls in a single form, suggesting a future architecture in which environmentally conscious design is paired with formal freedom and a radical rethinking of essential architectural elements.
"The wall and ceiling are no longer separate components but functionally merge into one another as an organic continuum.” Displayed as a showpiece for TU Dresden’s major project, backed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, The Cube aims to explore the potential uses of carbon concrete in construction.
"Carbon concrete could contribute to more flexible and resource-saving construction processes, and switching to carbon concrete could reduce the CO2 emissions from construction by up to 50%," Henn said in a statement.
Bio-based carbon fibre under development to reduce carbon footprint
While carbon fibre may be lighter and stronger than steel, it has a much higher carbon footprint. Describing the material’s impact on the environment, Dr Erik Frank, Senior Carbon Scientist at the German Institute of Textile and Fibre Research Denkendorf (DITF), said it is “usually very bad.” To reduce the carbon footprint, Frank is finding ways to make carbon fibre out of lignin, a common plant-based substance found in the paper manufacturing industry.