Sustainable Project of a Two-Storey Office Building





Sustainable project of a two-storey office building

  1. Location and Natural and Urban features to be protected against this project

The given location for the sustainable construction and design of a two-storey office building is located at Headley, Epsom, UK with the coordinates of 51°16’33.3″N, 0°16’16.9″W [1]. The area is a fairly vast open space with natural trees and environment along the edges of the property. It is easily accessible through well-built roads for normal commute. The location is surrounded by residential buildings and societies. The location has the following features which must be protected under sustainable construction of this office building:

1. Natural features: This includes the environmental features at the location which must be preserved as per the Environmental Protection laws and regulations. The preservation of natural areas around a building is necessary for a sustainable and cohesive growth of the people in an area. Reducing the impact of any construction across all three phases has been given prime importance and is monitored strictly to ensure that the laws are followed. In our location, small patches of trees are present along the edges of the property. They can be left unharmed due to the availability of a large open area for our use. Also, the open space at the location will not be dotted with extensive construction. Instead, the area of the office building will be limited to take lesser space while catering to all the needs of the company.

2. Urban features: This includes the man-made features around the area which should be altered as least as possible. This will ensure that the costs of altering these is kept at a minimum while the environment is also kept cleaner in doing the same. The key urban feature around our location is the presence of residential buildings and colonies. The pre-construction and construction phase will need to take into account this factor, so that least hindrance is created for them. Also, after construction of the office building, the building will need to comply with certain safety and performance regulations to ensure that it is not harming the environment and the people around, resulting in a good sustainable building. Another area of concern is the accessibility of the location to various machinery and resource supply during construction. The roads of the area have been designed for normal traffic, and increased load on them must be managed properly to create least hindrance. Proper management in the supply of resources will ensure that the roads are not obstructed for the normal traffic flow while supplying the raw materials on time.

The following layout depicts a possible arrangement for the double storey office building. The area of this layout is 375 m2. The layout has 7 cabins per floor and 2 meeting rooms for client-company meetups. The size of cabins may be increased or decreased as per the requirement to accommodate the number of people working in the office. A washroom is provided at the bottom corner. A kitchen is also provided. The built-up area of the building is 200 m2. There is ample of space around the boundaries, with proper window placements. This will minimise the requirement of artificial lights, especially since all cabins have separate windows.

First floor of the office may have an open skylight in the centre which will light up both the floors. Proper insulation may be provided for restricting heat flow. The galleries on all sides of the office may be planted or shaded and hence will provide natural cooling and temperature control. Stairs are also provided adjacent to walls, again reducing the need for artificial lights. One or both of the stairs may be replaced with lifts as required. However, it will raise the energy consumption of the building.

  1. Protection by legislations and authorities

The construction of the office building will be governed by the Building regulations of the United Kingdom. The European Union regulations and directives also provide the set of rules for sustainable construction of a building, but they lack in flexibility and does not cover all aspects of construction. The UK building regulations on the other hand are very detailed and provide a great framework as base for the sustainable construction of any building. [2]

The building regulations in the UK are set out in Building Act, 1984. It details the requirements of a building for sustainable construction in sixteen different sub-headings, with detailed specifications for each part. [3]

The European union’s set of regulations and directives also incorporate various situations pertaining to the construction of a sustainable building and its design.

The governing body for this construction will be the local body of the area. The UK regulations will be followed for the construction of the office building. The sustainable aspects of construction will be constructed in three phases of construction – pre-construction, construction and post-construction. Primary focus will be on minimising the resources by maximising the output, reducing energy requirements and optimising generated wastes and its disposal.


  1. Protection by management

As highlighted by Zaitali (2014) [5], sustainability and construction management can go hand in hand through a shift in the mindset of project managers and companies. This has a number of benefits over traditional construction practices including better image of the company in the public domain, optimized use of natural resources, reduced waste generation and general benefits to our environment. The sustainable design of the office building will involve changes in the methodologies in all the three phases – pre-construction, construction and post construction phase.

During the pre-construction phase, tenders are given out for the buildings, designs are discussed and finalised and estimates are made. Traditionally, all these are done on paper which generate wastes as well as increase the time required for communication between different parties. Investment in various software which serve the same purpose will reduce waste and help towards the sustainable construction of a building.

The raw materials required in this phase may also be taken from old buildings after recycling them. In this way, the impact on environment caused as a result of procurement of raw materials may be reduced to some extent. Also, by using recycled materials, the pollution caused due to manufacture of the same is also reduced indirectly.

The construction phase involves the actual use of raw materials to build the structure. Keeping sustainable design in view, the aim is to minimise the resources used, energy and waste and maximise the efficiency of every construction process. Also, the future use of the building will also be kept in mind. A number of methods may be adopted to reduce waste and energy. Some of them are:

  • Using alternate materials of construction which are environmentally friendly in terms of production. This may include bamboo or other forms of wood, plastics or hempcrete. A combination of traditional building material such as concrete with these alternatives will provide a long lifespan while still reducing the negative environmental impact of the building
  • Just In Time (JIT) production of the components of a structure to minimise waste generation by constructing a part only when it is required, instead of pre-fabricating it, which may go to waste if any undesirable event occurs [6]
  • Use of pre-fabricated construction parts such that the waste, time, energy and resources required at the construction site are greatly reduced while efficiency is increased leading to a sustainable output

Post-construction phase also has the scope of contributing towards the sustainable development by handling the wastes generated, energy required by the building and controlling other factors. Air and Noise pollution created in an area on construction of a new building may be worked upon to reduce the same. The waste water and other wastes should be recycled or handled appropriately instead of releasing in the environment. The construction wastes amount to 60% of the total solid wastes in landfills. Hence proper demolition strategy after the use period of the building has expired should also be done beforehand.

  1. Sustainable techniques

The aim of sustainability is to use the resources in such a manner that it is available for the longest possible time. Everything involved in construction can be redesigned for sustainability. This can be done in all the three phases of construction. The three important components in any building project are Materials, Energy and Waste. While material is required mainly in the construction phase, energy and wastes are present in all the phases. As such, sustainable techniques may be applied to these three components to make a sustainable building. The sustainability of any component can be increased in two ways:

  1. Input reduction method: The quantity of that particular component is reduced making it more sustainable. The focus is on efficient utilization of the then available resources.
  2. Output management method: The wastes generated are managed and treated so as to reduce the impact on the environment. The aim is to reuse and recycle the generated wastes.

Sustainable techniques for each of these components are as follows:

  1. Material Based techniques:

Building materials go through the process of excavation, extraction and purification even before coming to the construction site. Hence it always affects the environment in a negative way. [8]

  • Use recycled materials: the materials from demolished buildings may be reused in new ones with or without any processing. These include glass panes, doors, etc. This reduces the cost of using brand new resources as well as helps in reducing waste.
  • Size systems in a building properly: A small building with an oversized cooling system will result in excessive consumption of electricity. The systems and components in a building should be designed keeping in mind the current and future requirements, without oversizing any particular component.
  • Use non-conventional products for building: Such as used tyres, glass bottles etc. may be used for decorative purposes. This again reduces the amount of waste generated. Agricultural wastes may be used in gardens or for landfilling, again reducing the cost of the construction project.
  • Consumer goods: such as paper, other usable pile together to form a lot of waste. This may be sorted on site for proper disposal or reuse.
  1. Energy Based techniques:

The main goal in sustainable use of energy is to reduce the consumption of conventional sources of energy such as fossil fuels. This encourages the use of energy from non-conventional sources such as solar energy, Biogas etc. which reduces the environmental impact of a building on the environment.

  • Energy-conscious site planning: It means the use of natural features on the site for some purpose which reduces the consumption of energy in any form. As an example, our location has trees surrounding the area, designing the building close to them will provide shade in the office and reduce the energy consumed by air conditioners.
  • Passive cooling and heating: In summers, artificial hangs, plantation galleries, and shading may be done to reduce the effect of sun rays on the building thereby reducing cooling costs. Similarly, in cold climate, the solar energy may be used to heat the office space. The area of the office may be designed in such a way that it receives maximum sunlight during winters, thereby reducing the heating costs and consumption of energy.
  • Insulation: Use of good quality insulators, which may even be made from recycled materials such as plastics and foam, will greatly reduce the energy consumed in maintaining a comfortable temperature inside the office space.
  • Alternate source: Solar, wind and Biogas are the alternate forms of energy which may easily be incorporated into the building. The setup may be costly initially, but the returns will be positive since it will reduce the impact on environment while being economical with time.
  • Use of daylight: Proper window designs, use of skylights and proper ventilation will result in maximum use of sunlight to lighten the office space and minimizing the need of artificial lights, thereby reducing energy consumption.
  • Energy efficient appliances: With advancements in technology, the “Energy Star” marked appliances are now easily accessible which use less energy and hence are more efficient. They might be costly but the returns will be positive in the future.
  1. Waste Based techniques:

Managing the wastes responsibly is a key aspect of any sustainable construction method [4]. Most construction wastes are recklessly dumped in landfills or nearby areas without proper utilization. The then adversely impact the local environment of the area. Presence of hazardous chemicals in these wastes may aggravate the problem. These wastes can be easily recycled with a little effort and correct guidance. Educating the construction industry professionals will go a long way in achieving proper waste management.

The wastes may be eliminated, which are not of any use; minimized, by proper selection of raw materials; or recycled in other buildings or some other form after necessary processing [8]. The wastes may be classified into two types:

  • Presenting potential risk: including hazardous wastes containing lead, asbestos, solvents and chemicals, electronics, and medical wastes.
  • Benign wastes: Including wood from doors and windows, concrete, gravel, metals, glass panes, carpets, and plumbing fixtures.

The former category should be eliminated safely or will need extensive processing in order to be reused. However, the second type can be easily incorporated into new construction projects hence reducing its impact on the environment.

For proper reuse and recycle of construction wastes, it is essential that a waste management system is in place for the same. The contractor may be given the responsibility of handling these wastes. He may be responsible for a team for picking, collection, sorting, transport and disposal of construction wastes for the best waste management.

Also, in the post-construction phase, the wastes generated on a day to day basis should be properly sorted, and disposed in the designated places, from where they will be taken care of by the responsible authorities.



  1. Location of the place. Available online at:’33.3%22N+0%C2%B016’16.9%22W/@51.2755587,-0.2723644,561a,35y,3.91t/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d51.275929!4d-0.271359
  2. Construction Products Association, EU regulations and directives. Available online at:
  3. UK Building regulations, Wikipedia. Available online at:
  4. Lee, Mohammad, Ismail, 2014, Sustainable construction management. Available online at:
  5. Zaitali, 2014, Sustainable project management. Available online at:
  6. Callinan, 2018, Steps for sustainable construction management. Available online at:
  7. Napier, 2016, Construction waste management. Available online at:
  8. Jin Kim, 1998, Introduction to sustainable design. Available online at:


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