Published 7 October 2007Energy use & efficiency have overtaken leaky buildings as the construction industry’s primary concern for future research.
The annual survey of research needs by the independent industry association Building Research showed the energy topics were followed by sustainability & environmental issues.
Chief executive Sunil Vather said energy use & efficiency had a 75% importance rating, sustainability & environment issues 65%, materials performance 63% and building envelope performance, including weathertightness, 61%.
“This suggests the industry is looking for ways to ensure the built environment is not only fit for purpose but that it is energy efficient & environmentally sustainable,” Dr Vather said.
The survey covered builders, subcontractors, architects & designers, building product manufacturers, building owners & managers and central & local government.
Last year’s survey ranked the building envelope as the most important research area, and in 2005 materials performance (including weathertightness) was seen as the most important. The 2007 survey was undertaken during June-July and 218 completed questionnaires were received – a response rate of 33%.
Building Research uses the survey as one of its measures to identify the industry’s priorities for future research & information and to help guide its investment of the building research levy. Under the Building Research Levy Act, builders are required to pay a levy on all construction contracts over $20,000 at a rate of $1:$1000. The act requires the levy to be used to promote & conduct research & other scientific work in connection with the building & construction industry. The budget for the next year is up to 20% to $8.475 million. Dr Vather said Building Research was currently funding 4 energy research projects, including the household energy end-use survey and research into the energy efficiency of non-residential buildings. It’s also funding 4 sustainable building projects and is a shareholder & partner of Beacon Pathway Ltd, the sustainable residential buildings research consortium. Dr Vather said Building Research had also commissioned information & seminars on weathertightness, including weathertightness details for roof & wall junctions. 2 other projects underway are helping fund the development of the Level website to promote sustainable building practices, and working with industry partners on the development of the GreenBuild website. Other initiatives have included the production of publications and eco-advisory initiatives with several city councils. Building Research also owns BRANZ Ltd, which operates separately as a commercial organisation to deliver research, testing, consultancy & educational services. BRANZ draws less than 40% of its income from investments by Building Research.
Attribution: Building research release, story written by Bob Dey for this website.