We need to change the way we construct our homes and buildings.

They need to be designed with people in mind; helping us get more out of our built environment.

What are the current problems we’re facing? Why is this so important? How can we get where we need to be?

Here’s a closer look at why construction needs to be digital, smart and sustainable.

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Why Does Construction Need a Facelift?

Most of our homes and buildings were built in the 1980s, using now-outdated methods.

This means they no longer keep up the needs of modern society, as they haven’t been designed with these in mind. This includes climate change, for example.

What’s more, we’re still using these dated techniques when it comes to new buildings. There’s a lack of planning, too many prototypes and a failure to look at how users experience their built environment.

Here are some of the consequences:

Fuel Poverty

Currently, our homes and buildings lose a vast amount of energy, failing to retain heat properly. 

The result? Hugely expensive bills, which have caused some families to find themselves in fuel poverty. 

Energy Inefficiency

Unsurprisingly, this wastage is a large contributor to our carbon footprint.

We need to ensure our buildings are more energy efficient, for example generating power from renewable sources. 

The Active Building Centre is proof this can be done. It’s its own powerhouse, sourcing all energy through solar means. Therefore, why aren’t we utilising this technology more widely?


1980s building methods didn’t account for climate change. So, while buildings fail to retain heat in the winter months, they can also overheat in the summer.

This is because of a lack of ventilation and shading systems.

Due to this overheating problem, people tend to fire up air conditioning units, however these fail to cool the space efficiently. What’s more, this is an expensive waste of energy.

It’s likely we’ll be seeing more frequent heat waves in the future. Therefore, this is something that needs to be taken seriously. 

How Serious is the Problem With Construction?

Buildings are responsible for around 40% of our carbon emissions.

The UK has an obligation to cut these emissions by 80% by 2050 under the Climate Change Act – so the connection to construction is clear. 

Making the right changes could significantly contribute to decarbonisation. 

How Can We Fix These Issues?

How can we get where we need to be? 

Smart Construction

‘Smart’ often translates to intelligent, innovative or improved. 

Smart design involves a broader understanding of cities, properties and user needs. It’s essential that our construction changes from the early stages, by implementing strategic thinking from the start. 

Live data is the key to smarter designs. It can give us a better understanding of performance during a particular project, resulting in less materials, less wastage and a more efficient use of labour. 


The fundamentals of our construction system haven’t changed for decades, however technology could help fix that.

Digital systems such as the Internet of Things will not only change how we build, but how the built environment operates. 

Collaborative Thinking

Collaboration in the construction industry is key to changing it for the better.

It can help lift barriers to innovation, providing those in the industry with funding, access to tools and new research.

Adopting collaborative practices can help us work more efficiently, improving our homes and buildings in the future. 

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This article was written in collaboration with:

About Us

We are a friendly team of Engineers delivering Sustainability and Building Compliance Solutions for developments in the Commercial and Residential sectors, which include Energy Statements, Noise Impact and Vibration Assessments, BREEAM Assessments, and Air Quality Assessments in the Environmental, Social and Governance sectors.

Contact us at:

Sustain Quality Ltd

PO Box 393


KT11 3EL


01372 438039