It’s no secret that as an industry, we have a long way to go when it comes to tackling waste. Contributing around 50,000 tonnes of plastic waste each year, the construction sector is the UK’s second largest producer of plastic waste, and comes only second to the packaging industry. Whilst these statistics are alarming, we know from our work with a wide range of clients, contractors and construction workers that there remains a steadfast commitment to championing greener building practices on site, and to share knowledge on the ways this can tangibly be achieved.
Whilst every project we work on is a special and significant undertaking, education projects present us with a particularly unique opportunity. Studies have found that well-designed classrooms could potentially boost students’ learning by up to 16%; making any school design a crucial one to get right. With a view of fostering students’ learning to the best of our abilities, engineers and architects must also strive to meet the diverse needs of a range of stakeholders in the process: including governments, councils, teachers and, of course, students. With these needs evolving with every school year, education design must inevitably do so too.
At Lyons O’Neill, we love the opportunity to breathe new life into a development. Whilst every renovation comes with its own unique challenges and opportunities, the process required to transform a listed or historic building in particular requires a special level of respect and attention to be paid to the original structure. To many, these buildings represent more than just bricks and mortar, and our experience with this type of building has meant that we’re well versed in the techniques needed to ensure the balance between cultural value and modern functionality is always met.
As engineers, we have spent the past few months acclimatising to the challenges social distancing measures have presented us with, and have carefully considered the kind of service our clients may require during this period. As part of this process, we have closely observed the rising demand for prefabricated, temporary works schemes. The demand is linked to the immediate need for temporary healthcare facilities, such as the NHS Nightingale Hospitals, and poses the question: should we expect a sustained interest in these integrated services post-Covid?
Over the past few months, Lyons O’Neill has been featured a number of times in the press, to discuss a range of topics, and showcase some of our exciting projects.
Each and every stage of the building process requires careful planning in order to make the project a success. Site accessibility, the project location and the position of building sites on it are just as vital to success as any other element. If engineers were to neglect this process, the time taken to draw up intricate and detailed designs could be in vain, particularly if the necessary materials and construction workers could not easily be transported across the site to carry them out. Not to mention the impact these accessibility issues could have on project costs and deadlines.
As urban areas expand and lateral building space becomes a precious commodity, developers are on the hunt for new ways to grow the size and value of their properties. Airspace development – the process of building above a property, within its ‘air rights’ – is increasingly providing the answer as it makes the most of unused space and allows developers to meet demand. It’s a rapidly evolving field and is a highly lucrative one: in London alone, the rooftop development market is estimated to be worth £54 billion. With the global urban population set to double by 2050 it’s a design solution we should expect to hear more and more about.
As of Monday 23rd March the team here at Lyons O’Neill are working remotely and all non-essential travel both to and from our offices is suspended until further notice. As a business we already have very effective remote working capabilities and we have been testing our systems over the past week or so and have all the necessary capabilities and resources for the entire office-based staff to work from home.
When it comes to engineering, what happens below the surface is as important as what’s built on top. Every site has a unique history and set of properties which will determine the design of the proposed structure, the materials used and even the programme sequence. This history can become especially complex when working on brownfield sites or in urban or industrial areas. The presence of previous structures and proximity to industrial activity increases the risk of contaminated ground which must be assessed and dealt with before construction can continue.