It’s a balancing act
Successful civil engineering is about finding the right balance between constraints and budgets on one hand, and planning and sustainability on the other. Our focus on smarter SUDs solutions achieves this balance, increasing biodiversity and reducing flood risk within budget.
SUSTAINABILITY BUILT IN
As engineers, we are conscious of the influence we can have not only in structures and buildings, but also in the environment and wider society. At Symmetrys we take this responsibility very seriously and as such adopt a whole-hearted approach to working sustainably, including signing up to Structural Engineers Declare.
We approach every project with sustainability at the forefront of our thinking, which we call ‘embodied carbon-based decision making’. It is built into every solution as a starting point, not an ‘add on’, which we do by working to the four key structural and civil rules shown below.
1. Don’t Demolish; Refurbish
As the proportion of embodied energy relative to operational energy increases within building projects, so does our influence and responsibility as structural engineers to affect this balance. Refurbishments are often a more cost-effective, more carbon efficient and socially accepted solution than demolition.
For refurbishment and retrofit to become the default solution going forward, let’s get structural engineers and architects on board projects at an early stage with the starting questions, ‘‘Can we reuse and repurpose of existing structures?’ ‘Can we reuse of existing foundations?’
View our article on Demolish or Rebuild? A sustainability issue;
2. Reduce carbon in the substructure
It is industry standard to specify cement replacement materials to reduce the carbon footprint of concrete. At Symmetrys we go further by reducing the overall volume of cement on a project through providing alternative ground solutions such as reusing existing foundations, implementing screw piles or proving that shallow foundations are a viable alternative to piles.
This is all in addition to pushing the industry standards for reduced carbon concretes as standard in all our specifications.
3. Consider super-structure options
In our project design we consider the carbon cost of a variety of structural solutions, allowing our clients to make an informed environmental choice on what’s available, such as CLT or modular construction options. We have great relationships with frame manufacturers, and can advise on a system that adds value to the development and ensures its delivery in a more sustainable way.
In every project…
We look to the use of external stability systems to create future flexibility or to prevent structural alterations in the future
We look to reduce site traffic movements through intelligent design
Adding Real Value to All Projects
By focussing on these key elements, our design approach adds real value to all our projects. This approach to sustainability is not just limited to the design of our structures, it’s also an integral part of our Civil Engineering Service and Demountable Structures.