Real Estate Dissertation Housing Bubble in China

Causes and Determinants of Real Estate Bubbles in China – A Study into Beijing

The real estate market of Beijing is under investigation in order to find whether there is a potential housing bubble in China. Housing bubble as a phenomenon will be analyzed. Furthermore, the residential market of China and whether various programs for the housing policy affect housing market are presented, especially during the period 1998-2014. The Ηukou registration system gives interesting information about the housing market, the central government’s policy, and its reaction and ability to cope with a housing bubble. Ηukou registration number defines whether an individual comes from a rural or an urban area, as well as the locality.

The urban and rural residents with agricultural or non agricultural Ηukou have different rights, and thus different chances for housing, especially in large metropolitan areas like Beijing. The connection of the four state owned banks with the housing market and their reaction to the house price changes during our period of interest is analyzed. The banks reacted without taking into account the risk, because they think that they are too big to fail. Volatility is also analyzed because it is important to find the reasons behind the changes in house prices. House price volatility forces households to buy a house to live in so that they could avoid the fluctuations in house prices, and a potential price increase. Regions in Beijing do not have the same property characteristics and potentials for a real estate bubble.

Housing Bubble China Dissertation
Housing Bubble China Dissertation

The results from the research of the secondary data are presented, with some final discussion. The answer for a housing bubble in Beijing is not crystal clear. Various findings support the existence of a bubble and some others do not. Although Beijing and regions in Beijing show a house price trend above the equilibrium price, the political status quo is special. In addition, it depends on the way data are collected, the availability of data, as well as their validity. It also depends on whether we have unclear property rights, housing inequality, and not a wide freedom of choice for the households.

While there are many factors that contribute to the formation of housing bubbles, as it is a very complex phenomenon, the present dissertation is focused on some important issues revealed from the literature review. Specifically, the above hypothesis is tested considering the following issues:

  • The correlation between potential real estate bubble and changes in housing prices in Beijing
  • The correlation between potential real estate bubble and housing prices volatility in Beijing
  • The role that the banking sector plays to the potential real estate bubble in Beijing
  • The readiness of Chinese authorities to deal with a Real Estate bubble
    The so far reaction of Chinese authorities to imbalances and housing price volatility
  • The correlation between the residential market in China and Beijing and a potential real estate bubble
  • The correlation between the Hukou system in China and a potential real estate bubble

Housing Bubble Dissertation Contents

1: Introduction
Rationale
Aim and Objectives
Hypothesis
Dissertation Structure

2: Literature Review – Housing Bubbles
Definition of Bubbles

3: Literature Review – The Role of House Prices and Volatility
Changes in Housing Prices
Volatility

4: Literature Review – The Role of the Banking Sector
The Banking Sector in China

5: Literature Review – The Role of Chinese Authorities
Government Involvement in Urban Housing
Government’s Reaction

6: Literature Review – Residential Market in China and Beijing
Residential Market in China and Beijing – A Historical Perspective
Housing Provident Fund (HPF)
Economical and Comfortable Housing Program (ECH)
Cheap Rental Housing Program (CRH)

7: Literature Review – Hukou Registration System
Description of Hukou Registration System
Housing Finance System
Inequality in Beijing

8: Research Methods

9: Data Analysis
Is There A Potential Real Estate Bubble In Beijing?

10: Conclusion

References

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Green Building Construction

Energy Efficient Technologies in Buildings

Green Building Construction also known as sustainable building is an energy efficient building technology that is founded on a plan that enhances the efficiency of saving not only energy but also building materials and water. Sustainable building helps to promote the well being of the residents by providing a healthy and safe living and working environment. Over the years, the construction of commercial buildings has had massive impact on the environment; it not requires large quantities of energy and resources but also leads to the production of dangerous atmospheric emissions that cause environmental pollution. Owing to the increasing demand for buildings to accommodate the enormously growing businesses and population as well as having in mind the imminent risk of global warming, construction engineers and architect have come up with new building technologies that would render both residential and commercial buildings less harmful to the environment.  As an energy efficient building technology, sustainable building has been instituted to solve major environmental problems (Johnsons Control, 2012).

Lately, several residential and commercial buildings have been switching to energy efficient technologies which according to Kibert (2008) are both cost efficient and save on the environment. Such technologies comprise of solar and wind energy among other sources of energy that will not destroy the environment. Statistics from a research carried out by Bauer (2009) on sustainable building revealed that commercial buildings are known to account for over 68% electricity consumption much of which is used to heat and ventilate a building. Furthermore, Bauer defines a sustainable building technology as the one that should several architectural and design strategies, which deal with the energy conservation in terms of air conditioning and cooling, ventilation as well as passive solar heating.

Global warming is a serious crisis that is greatly affecting the world. In order to reverse or end this menace, the society must take proactive measures, such as learning to adjust what they use in order to be less dangerous to the environment. Constructing “green” buildings would significantly solve this problem. There exists several ways of averting environmental degradation and additional ways are being embraced daily. As these fresh developments crop up, the returns associated with embracing green building becomes more evident and reasonable for the consumer (Projects by Students for Students, 2012).

Both fresh and innovative developments have been made in the engineering field with the aim of helping protect and save the environment. It is imperative for each and every person to be to be cognizant of energy consumption, owing to the detrimental effects of global warming. While the implementation green building construction may be associated with huge capital outlays, new construction developments have been linked to cost-effective solutions. Although green “engineering” and sustainable building has been on the media spotlight lately, the technology is however as old as civilization itself. Solar energy is definitely the most popular form of energy conservation.

Green Building Construction
Green Building Construction

Solar panels have been known to decrease the consumption of energy in several commercial buildings through the production of alternate energy from the sun. However, as ideal as the solar power might be, the technology is only restricted to places that receive direct sunlight every single day in a year. The Kurilpa Bridge at Brisbane provides a perfect example of how solar energy has been implemented to cut on cost and reduce pollution. Equipped with 85 solar panels, the sun is able to account for over 85 percent of the bridge’s energy needs as well as eliminate annual carbon emissions by over 39 tonnes (Esagawa, 2003).

Apart from the significant solar energy, other technologies that offer sustainable developments have been cropping up. For instance, wind is considered as a major source of energy. The major reason why wind turbines are being preferred is because it is an efficient and cleaner way of generating electricity. Actually wind turbines do not need any fossil fuels to produce any sort of electricity and is fully reliant on the wind. This guarantees that there are no carbon emissions. As the winner of the prestigious LEAF “Best use of Technology” award, the 240 meters tall Bahrain world trade center has beaten them all to be the best striking model for green building. The commercial building has massive wind turbines that generate electricity for the mega building. Definitely, Bahrain world trade center strikes out as the best environmental friendly building in the world.

In addition, the use natural light as an energy efficient technology has been greatly embraced by new large commercial buildings. Modern eco-friendly building is being designed with several windows and skylights so as to tap natural light deep into the structure. This saves on energy as artificial lights are made to turn off once there is sufficient amount of natural light. This technology has been implanted by the California Academy of Sciences at golden gate park in San Francisco. The corporate office at Luck Stone in Goochland is another building that has fully implemented the use of natural light. The building has several skylights and windows allow natural light.

Green Building Construction

Green and sustainable construction may be realized through the various choices of building material. While non-renewable materials rapidly deplete the environment, opting for renewable resources to build is significantly decreases the amount of pollution related to construction as well as slows the exhaustion of non-renewable resources. In addition, the use of renewable building materials is economically viable, environmental friendly and energy efficient. However, it would even be greener, not to cite cost-effective, to renovate an already existing building as opposed to constructing a new one. This would save the ecosystem by avoiding the production of all new materials (Kibert, 2008).

Despite the fact that most green engineering methods give back to the environment by lowering the amount of energy used, a number of techniques usually support the local habitat more directly. For instance, the use of green roofs is becoming more successful and efficient. A green roof is made up of a layer of soil and vegetation and is beneficial to the building in several ways. Most important is that the runoff water from the top of a green roof drains cleaner as compared to before it hit the roof. Furthermore, green roofs provide great insulation by blocking out the scorching sun during the hot seasons such as summer, or preventing the heat from escaping the building in the winter. Since their inception more than five years ago, Green roofs been implemented in major large commercial buildings. For instance, Sun Trust Bank in Richmond transformed the top of a four-story building to a lovely 11,800-square-foot ‘green roof,’ complete with drought-resistant plants that absorb storm water and guzzle carbon dioxide (Bauer, 2003).

One technique that is still developing is the conservation of clean hot or cold air. The California Academy of Sciences building has vents that open on the domes to let out hot air as well as motorized windows to let in cool air. While this can control the temperature in a building efficiently, air quality is just as important, “since, on average, people spend 80-90% of their time in buildings” (Bauer, 2003). There is a constant battle between keeping a constant temperature while using the least amount of energy and keeping the air fresh. Most home heating and air conditioning systems advertise providing accurate temperature control as well as filtering mold, moisture, dust, and pollen. There is not yet technology that can meet the same standards while using much less energy.

Although present day practices in green building construction are important, the real success lies with the future. The future is what will transform the entire world into a place that is self-constructive, rather than destructive. Even more beneficial than new technologies arising is the improving of existing technologies to make them greener, more user friendly, and more cost efficient. Geothermal heating and cooling and water conservation techniques appear to be some technologies that will be making major steps to improvement in the near future.

Regulations influence people’s lives, whether those individuals desire to abide by them or not; however, is it feasible to be inspired sufficiently to a point where regulations are not required. This is a fact that engineers and investors argue over. There are not at present numerous compulsory laws and policies to guide people in green building structure, but the intensity are escalating. The verdict to make a structure “bright green” is frequently a responsibility of the engineers and architects of the structure. Occasionally, it may basically amount to paying additional finances for the structure upfront so as to publicize that a structure is “green,” but there are numerous unknown profits that can be disregarded at the outset (Kibert, 2008).

There are presently numerous structures of authorization in existence these days that support green building, and that is what the majority of them do– they support green building, as in opposition to authorizing it. The major one of these is the Leaders in Engineering and Environmental Development (LEED), qualifications. Numerous structures at present are determined to acquire one of the little types of LEED qualifications. 70% of latest LEED qualified structures fit into the latest building or main repairs group. With every range of qualifications, there come diverse stages: Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Each of the stages of qualifications would achieve the recognized structure recognition in addition to the evident ecological and financial payback. As declared on the LEED website, “LEED is a third-party qualifications curriculum and the nationwide acknowledged standard for the blueprint, construction and operation of high performance green buildings” (2008). A LEED certification is broadly cherished, creating support and speeding up of the implementation of green structure methods. LEED ventures are endorsed by central and national public structures. There are as well LEED structures in 41 diverse nations (2008). The qualifications of a LEED qualification for a new structure are founded off of six groups: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design process (Kibert, 2008).

Green building construction is quickly growing in both importance and popularity. There are several businesses that are taking benefiting out of this, whereas at the same time cheering for more change. These are the kind of companies that deal with green products, involve themselves in environmental activities, and encourage the consumer to go green. Uncertainly, it is evident that we must embrace change quickly so that we may avert the environmental catastrophe that is about to condemn our country. Individuals will have to amend their way of life in order to overturn the damage that has already been done. Besides saving the environment, the emerging intelligence of green building construction and engineering will help consumers save money by cutting down the rate of energy consumption. As soon as fresh technologies are invented, there is a steady development of that technology until it has been perfected, making it inexpensive and user friendly. If people were to exploit these advances as they open up and are confirmed sustainable, at that moment they will be following the road that guides back to a healthy successful earth on top of money in their wallet.

References

Bauer, M. (2009). Green Building: A Book for Sustainable Architecture. London: Springer.

Esagawa, T. (2003). Environmentally Sustainable Buildings: Challenges and Policies. New York: OECD.

Kibert, C. (2008). Sustainable Construction: A Green Building Delivery and Design. New York: John Wiley and Sons.

Johnsons Controls. (2012). make you Buildings Work: More Efficiently, Sustainably and Profitably.

Projects by Students for Students. (2012). Energy Sources.

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Nuclear Power Dissertation

The Potential for Indigenous Power Generation From Below the Ground for Nuclear Energy

This is a brief content analysis of the potential of nuclear power in UK. We are greatly concerned with nuclear power and some of its renewable alternatives. We shall discuss how Nuclear energy contributes as one of the components used to supply electricity in the UK and in other countries. We will also take a look at some of the pros and cons of nuclear power. Is there a way to dispose of its waste products? If so then what are the levels of nuclear waste products and how do they affect the environment. The essay also has an extensive coverage of the technologies as is compared to dimensions found to characterize energy issues (environmental, economic, technological, psychological risks and future/political). We also take a look at how the last four decades has seen the world come a long way in learning how to dispose nuclear waste, how to release nuclear energy, how to make use of it and how to control it. We also take a look at the theoretical comparison of all costs and benefits arising from alternative development patterns and which one would be the ideal method to use while estimating the potential role of nuclear power in meeting electric energy requirements in UK/oversea countries. In addition, we have defined both reactors Magnox and AGR noting in particular that some of the environments are in areas ‘threatened’ with the potential sitting of a new nuclear power station and that in ‘unaffected’ areas. In a more in depth perspective, we find that nuclear power was evaluated as alternatively positive and overwhelmingly negative. Further discussions of this pattern in particular showed a degree of consistency irrespective of the dimension of evaluation. These findings are related to people’s attitudes towards nuclear power, and the growth of antinuclear feeling from environmentalists and other sectors. In general, we have broadly discussed how nuclear power as the expansion programme with the least cost would definitely yield maximum net benefits. Though this fact if debatable, it has yet to be proven otherwise as nuclear power is sourced as a carbon free source of energy.

Introduction

Nuclear energy is a one of the most highly concentrated energy available that is made accessible by nuclear reactors. It is low carbon, dependable, affordable energy that also increase the diversity of energy supply. It was clearly stated in the Nuclear White paper in 2008 that the along other carbon sources, the nuclear power stations also have to play their vital role in country’s better energy development. The energy produced by the fission process is being generated in nuclear power stations. This energy is also produced by the splitting of uranium atoms in nuclear reactor. 50 million times energy is produced and generated in this process as compared to the carbon consumption. Total 441 powers stations are producing and generating nuclear power in a capacity of 375GW in all around the world (Meeting Energy Demand).

The constructive possibilities of uranium were identified some time back during the development of nuclear energy, even as plans were being made to release nuclear energy explosively. The post war decade was mostly dominated by the awesome destructive power of nuclear weapons. In the mid 1950s engineers and scientists started harnessing nuclear power for other purposes that mostly involved peace. This prospect looked brighter and brighter. A surge of euphoric predictions that was there in the aftermath of the two nuclear explosions in Japan ended the 2nd world war. The atomic power is considered so powerful that it could run a car on an engine that was the size of a fist (Walter C Patterson, 1982).

It’s also considered powerful enough to keep ‘atom powered’ aircrafts aloft for an indefinite period. People who understood the powers of nuclear energy choose to be more realistic and choose applications for nuclear development that would lead to development rather than fiction (Popular Mechanics, 1957, pg. 258).

The term atomic energy originated back in 1903. It is energy produced by atoms or from a nuclear reaction.

Uranium ores are very economical recoverable concentrations of uranium found in the earth’s crust. Uranium is one of the most common elements present in the earths crust. Uranium ores are even more common that both gold and silver (Enrico Fermi 1938). Uranium ores can be found in rivers, oceans, rocks and in the soil.

It’s important to note that when dealing with nuclear atoms, energy is only released when there is a change in an atom’s nucleus. There are two types of nuclear change namely nuclear fission and nuclear fusion. Large atoms in nuclear fission are split into two so as to release energy. New elements are often formed as a result of nuclear fission reactions. There is always loss of mass during nuclear fission. This is because the missing matter has been converted into energy that can be used to generate electricity. Uranium is one of the isotopes used to start nuclear fission chain reactions (Michael A. Seeds & Dana E. Backman, 2010, pp 119).

Nuclear fusion when a new element is formed. It often occurs in small atoms such as hydrogen. It has the capability of releasing much greater amounts of energy as compared to nuclear fission. Nuclear fusion reaction is also referred to as thermonuclear reaction. A great example of such energy can be found on the sun where hydrogen atoms join together to create a new element known as helium. This type of reaction not only releases energy, but also light, heat and radiation. The hydrogen bomb is also another great example of nuclear fusion energy (Joseph A. Angelo, 2004, pp. 156).

In general, nuclear fusion energy has with time proved to be among the countries cleanest energy source (Jonathan Fildes, 2005). The only disadvantage it has is that it’s hard to control nuclear fusion reaction. If this can be achieved, then there would be enough time for governments and organizations to set up energy plants to supply to the large population.

History of Nuclear Power in the UK

The economical issue surrounding energy varied in the ensuing years as the cost of coal increased, while that of oil remained low. The balance remained uncertain as some of the nuclear costs increased. Public concern started building up in the late 1960s as attention was drawn to problems arising from the large scale use of fuels. This included the air pollution from the burning of oil and coal, ecological damage from surface mining and health hazards from underground coal mining. The increase of oil prices in the late 1960s plus the increasingly uneasy labour relations in the coal field increased the attraction towards the use of nuclear power. This factor tentatively and gradually accelerated industrial commitment to nuclear power. It also accelerated nuclear component of the total electricity output (Roy M Harrison & R E Hester, 2011).

The availability of nuclear energy saw electricity supply systems lessens their dependency on coal while governments reduced their dependence on petroleum exporting countries. Generation of electricity using nuclear power obviously seemed as the best alternative. Coal and oil were seen as irreplaceable raw materials for the chemical industry that should be reserved. Meanwhile nuclear energy was to be used to generate electricity which was seen as a premium form of energy that is high grade, clean and versatile at the point of use. The use of energy worldwide continued to rapidly rise as more and more people were exposed to the use of technology. Experts predicted that the worldwide consumption per person would grow to be twice as that used. Glasstone (1979) argued that this energy would only be provided by some 4000 clusters of nuclear power stations with each cluster having enough reactors to produce at least five times the output of the largest power station today. This requirement of high energy for use by humans thus made the future role of nuclear energy very crucial. This created the vigorous growth of nuclear capabilities since all these energy requirements had to be met (Walter C Patterson, 1982).

The civil nuclear power programme in the UK grew out during the post – war military imperative that produced plutonium for nuclear weapons. The UK only had two plutonium producing reactors known as the Windscale piles. They started work in 1947 under a labor government (Rebecca Morelle, 2007).

The reactor’s design comprised of a large composite clock of graphite which ran horizontal cooling holes into the uranium metal fuel. The reactor core was enclosed into a concrete box that provided a biological shield, and was cooled by air that was blown into it through powerful pumps. There were chimneys capped with filters that were used to discharge the heated air. It was later realized that changing the design would allow the heat to generate steam that would later drive the turbines to produce plutonium and electricity. This resulted in three major changes in the design which saw an increase in the heat removal capability. It was a very important step to increase thermal efficiency so that the conventional steam turbines could be used effectively. The second changes saw a move away from using air as a cooling agent. It was necessary since the major component of air is nitrogen, and in its compressed form would prove to be too great a neutron absorber for the reactors to operate with natural uranium. In its place, carbon dioxide was chosen since it’s a more reasonable heat transfer medium which has lower neutron absorption. The third and final change made was to use magnesium alloys to clad uranium bars and engineer them into the cladding radial cooling fins. This design led to the generic name of Magnox for the reactor type (Thomas Telford, 1995).

In August 1953, work on the construction of Calder Hall began. The plant was later opened by Queen Elizabeth in October 1956. This was almost 14 years down the line since the first man-made reactor was assembled by Enrico Fermi at the University of Chicago. The opening of Calder Hall was greatly appreciated since the country was experiencing oil and petrol rationings. This was a remarkable solution to the current shortage of energy that the country was experiencing (Thomas Telford, 1993).

Social and Environmental Issues

There was a turbulent period experienced in the UK from the 1990 – 2006. This was because a lot of nuclear fortunes were seen to rise and emerge from ruins. Some of the events were self made while others were entirely as a result of outside developments. There were a lot of personalities involved in the development of this industry. They did this by developing the philosophical and political rationale for privatizing the industry. Most of these personalities made the industry more competitive while others provided the determination and energy to drive the industry side through to floatation. There were very many fundamental changes in almost every dimension that greatly affected nuclear power in the UK in way or another. Some of the phases include

  • World oil prices leap 100%, gas prices soar, electricity market prices recover
  • Weakening pool prices
  • British Energy in crisis seeks government aid
  • Market introduction – the pool
  • Dash for gas
  • Break-up of the nationalized electricity industry
  • Gas linkage to Europe
  • Major external companies act as predators on smaller UK companies
  • Strengthening pool prices
  • Privatization of British Energy

(Adrian Ham & Robert Hal, 2006)

Nuclear Waste Disposal

This is by far one of the most controversial topics that will continue to haunt generations to come (Robert C. Williams and Cantelon, P 1980). This is because a clear cut solution has not yet been formulated on how to properly dispose of some of the nuclear end products such as radioactive waste. Radioactive waste is the gaseous, liquid or solid waste produced by nuclear fuel production, nuclear power stations, nuclear plant decommissioning and weapons manufacturer and reprocessing of spent fuel. There are three basic types in which wastes are categorized. This is according to the type and the amount of radioactivity it contains. They include:

  1. LLW (Low level waste): this consisted of lightly contaminated paper towels, clothing and laboratory glass ware. Land allocated for such type of disposals should be restricted for at least 300 years to allow for the radioactivity to wear out.
  2. ILW (Intermediate Level Waste): they consist of heavily contaminated material such as parts of decommissioned reactors, used fuel rod casing and used ion exchange resins. Disposal of this level of waste products requires heavy shielding so as not to expose any living thing to some of the harms caused by radioactivity.
  3. HLW (High Level waste): this consists of highly radioactive reprocessing liquor and spent nuclear fuel: this is the most radioactive and concentrated of all the three categories. Wastes of this intensity therefore require intense radioactive decay processes where a large amount of heat is generated so as to facilitate the decay of the waste products (Royal Society of Chemistry, 1999)

Potential of Nuclear Power in the UK

Although the nuclear power industry can employ people directly at power stations, in the bigger picture this can boost the economy and businesses locally and throughout the supply chain. It is estimated that 56,000 jobs are dependent on the UK civil nuclear within the UK alone. Many more thousands of jobs will be created if more power stations are proposed and created.

Most of the UKs current nuclear plants are due to close by 2023. To maintain the current flow of nuclear power in the energy it is estimated 10 million kilowatts (kW) of new nuclear capacity will needed to be added to the UK’s supply. This works out to be about six to eight new nuclear plants being built. Due to UK having gained nuclear experience both in Britain and abroad, UK is in a position to take advantage of these opportunities.

In a study it was indicated that British industry could potentially have 70% of the skilled workforces necessary within Britain already. EDF is already investing in training. Edf is working hard to train more people to be necessarily skilled for working at the nuclear power stations. EDF are proposing to open 4, which they will secure 700 permanent and 200 contract positions for more than 60 years. (EDF energy.com). Below is an image showing EDF’s current nuclear sites.

Future developments of nuclear energy prospects saw various programmes launched as competition costs between other fossil fuels increased. One of the programmes launched was the ‘Programme of nuclear power”, government established white paper in February 1955. Some of the things proposed included

  • The construction of a twin reactor power station. This was to be started in mid 1957 and to be operated in 1960 – 1961
  • Construction of a further twin reactor power station that was of the same design as the latter but more improved in terms of performance. It was to start in 1958 – 1959 and start operations in 1963.
  • A construction of four other power stations that were envisaged as being a developed design.

 (Royal Society of Chemistry, 2011)

Currently, close to one sixth of UK’s electricity is generated by nuclear power. This is done utilizing 16 operational nuclear reactors at 9 plants. You should note that out of this nuclear reactors, there are 14 advanced gas cooled reactors, one pressurized water reactor and one Magnox. This show how much the UK greatly relies on nuclear power so as to produce energy. This also brings out the huge capability of nuclear energy as a potential force that the UK can’t live without. Picture the country without at least one sixth of a power source. This would be disastrous for not only the countries economy, but also on its development. Nuclear power in the country has also shown tremendous signs of growing and producing an even bigger share of UK’s power source. This will also be heavily facilitated by the fact that the government gave the go-ahead to permit private suppliers to construct up a total of 8 new power plants. This was done back in October 2010. The only set back experienced was that some few member countries refused to back this proposal and therefore refuted the construction of any nuclear power on their soil. One of these countries was Scotland. However with the groundwork already started in several areas, there is simply no stopping the momentum made to increase UK’s reliance on energy generated from nuclear energy (Manasi Karkare, 2008).

Nuclear power is not only an alternative source of energy that is clean, but it’s also a cost effective way to produce power (Felix A Ferrit, 2006). The UK stands to benefit greatly through any findings our of nuclear power research. However, there are some few problems that need to be addressed before this can be achieved. They include:

  • Nuclear waste disposals
  • Nuclear power use and control (I.e. weapons of mass destruction)

Tony Blair (2006) argued during his speech at the CBI annual dinner that once these two issues are addressed, the country can march forward and explore other potential advantages that they can get from nuclear power. Otherwise, they have no choice but to stall any development since each move should be monitored to ensure whether it’s constructive or destructive. These issues bring out to light the fact that this country still has a very long way to go because we have yet to achieve any mature technology that can handle such immense potential of power. There is no need for alarm since there are several proposals being brought forward to help improve the sector (Patrick Wintour & David Adam, 2006).

Even though its waste products are harmful to the environment, it’s still wise to say that nuclear power has the capability to become the largest source of carbon free electricity. This however can only be achieved if the country steps up its current economy and meets its carbon targets. This source of energy is also seen as a way out of global warming and meet UK’s target on reducing emissions of gases responsible for this. It’s assumed that using nuclear power will help the country attain its ambitious target of cutting emissions by 80%. The concentration of the government on this source of energy has with time proven that nuclear power has the potential of also undermining any other attempts of finding a cleaner, greener, secure and more sustainable source of energy. This fact can be blamed on the heavy reliance of the country on nuclear power to produce their electricity (Making It, 2011).

Currently UK has 17 reactors that generate about 19% of its electricity. The country has a number of full fuel cycle facilities that include major reprocessing plants. The shut down of some of the power plants has greatly reduced the power contribution from nuclear plants that were experienced back in the 90’s.

Below is a table of nuclear reactors operating in the UK

Plant

Type Present Capacity (MWe net) First Power

Expected Shutdown

Wylfa 1 Magnox 490 1971 Sep 2014
Dungeness B1 & 2 AGR 2×545 1983 and 1985 2018
Hartlepool 1 & 2 AGR 2×595 1983 and 1984 2019
Heysham I – 1 & I – 2 AGR 2×580 1983 and 1984 2019
 Heysham II-1 & II – 2 AGR 2×615 1988 2013
Hinkley Point B 1 & 2 AGR 2×610 (but operates at 70% 430 – MWe) 1976 2016
Hunterston B 1 & 2 AGR 2×610 (but operates at 70% 430 – MWe) 1976 and 1977 2016
Torness 1 & 2 AGR 2×625 1988 and 1989 2023
Sizewell B PWR 1188 1995 2035
Total: 16 units 10038 MWe

(World Nuclear Org)

Magnox: currently, it’s one of the obsolete types of nuclear reactors which was designed and still is in use in the UK. The name Magnox originates from the alloy used o clad the fuel rods found inside the reactor. They are carbon dioxide cooled, pressurized, graphite moderated reactors that use Magnox alloy as fuel cladding and natural uranium as fuel. The design for the civilian Magnox power station was created with on-load refueling as a consideration since the government wanted to maximize the power station’s availability by eliminating refueling downtime.

Nuclear Power Dissertation
Nuclear Power Dissertation

AGR (Advanced Gas-cooled reactor): this is a type of nuclear reactor that uses carbon dioxide as coolants and graphite as moderators. It was developed from the Magnox reactor requiring stainless steel fuel cladding to withstand high temperatures and operating at a much higher gas temperature for improved thermal efficiency. Enriched uranium fuel is needed due to the fact that the stainless steel fuel cladding has a higher neutron capture cross section than Magnox fuels (World Nuclear Org).

Conclusion

Nuclear power as a sustainable source of power has yet to be fully explored in terms of its prospective. There is no lucid motive about the Fukushima events’ impact on the development of the nuclear power industry internationally as well as national. However, logically protection will be highlighted on the schema. Since nuclear power is one of the most important entity all around the globe, but UK efforts to maintain its carbon emission level and increasing demands for energy supplies. To develop nuclear energy, the government, semi government and private/public authorities, operators, and contractors must have to consider the importance of developing nuclear energy by focusing on it as an industry. They should measure up the safe and improve the nuclear energy development at industrial levels. The UK Government has pressurized the third party liability on operators, industrial contractors, and suppliers, due to which they are well experienced to increase intention towards industrial development of nuclear energy. To meet with liabilities and demands, the UK companies are in a state to take improvement of these opportunities as they have attained nuclear skills in Europe as well as on international levels. In 2009, a research done by the NIA (Nuclear Industry Association) demonstrated that British industry could better supply the experienced labor force obligatory to manufacture and preserve a new nuclear armada. The industry of nuclear power hires workers openly on industrial levels and can enhance the cutback and businesses in the vicinity and right through the supply procession. Anticipated thousands of jobs are reliant on the national nuclear industry in the United Kingdom. Furthermore, several jobs would be increasing during the building and maneuver of projected innovative nuclear power stations. Opportunities included the mechanized of apparatus, site setting up, preservation, servicing, plan, and engineering mentoring, authorized and monetary services, and jobs on position once the power stations are prepared. The UK’s existing nuclear plants are schedule to end up their operations in 2003. Just to sustain the current divide up of nuclear power in the energy combine about 10 million kW of new nuclear plants which are in progress.

2003 Energy White Paper

The Government’s Energy White Paper, published in 2003 and titled “Our Energy Future – Creating a Low Carbon Economy” concluded that:

Nuclear power is currently an important source of carbon-free electricity. However, its current economics make it an unattractive option for new, carbon-free generating capacity and there are also important issues of nuclear waste to be resolved. These issues include our legacy waste and continued waste arising from other sources. This white paper does not contain specific proposals for building new nuclear power stations. However we do not rule out the possibility that at some point in the future new nuclear build might be necessary if we are to meet our carbon targets.

Bibliography

Angelo A Joseph. (2004). Nuclear Power Technology. Westport (Connecticut); London: Greenwood Press. pp. 156-300.

BBC (2010) News Politics 2010 [Online] Nuclear power: Eight sites identified for future plants.

EDF energy (2012). What nuclear power energy means for UK economy.

Everett Bob et al. (2011). Energy Systems and Sustainability nuclear power for a sustainable future. Oxford: oxford university press. pp 395 – 455.

Fildes Jonathan. (2005). Science & Environment 2012 [Online] Man-made star to unlock cosmic secrets.

Ham Adrian & Hal Robert. (2006). A Way Forward For Nuclear Power. 2006 Energy Review Submission.

Harrabin Roger (2012) Treasury messing with UK clean energy policy, say MPs.

Joy. D.S. & Jenkins. R.T. (1974). Wien Automatic System Planning Package (WASP): An Electric Utility Optima Generation Expansion Planning Computer Code. Washington, D.C: Ernst & Whinney.

Karkare Manasi. (2008). Nanotechnology: Fundamentals and Applications. pp. 104.

Mark Tran (2007) The Guardian (London)[Online] Government nuclear power talks pointless, say green groups.

Morelle Rebecca. (2007). Science & Environment 2007 Windscale Fall Out Underestimated.

Making It. (2011). [Online] Is nuclear power necessary for a carbon-free future?

Royal Society of Chemistry. (1999). Environmental impact of nuclear power generation. Cambridge: Royal Society of Chemistry. 3.5 in. pp. 83.

Royal Society of Chemistry. (2011). Nuclear power and the environment. Cambridge: RSC Publishing. pp. 8.

Seeds A Michael. & Backman E Dana. (2010). Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole. 11th ed. pp. 119.

Telford Thomas. (1995). Radiation Dose Management in The Nuclear Power Industry: Proceedings Of The Conference Organized By The British Nuclear Energy Society And Held In Windermere, Cumbria. London: the society. pp. 65.

Telford Thomas. (1993). Remote techniques for nuclear plant: proceedings of the conference organized by the British Nuclear Power Energy Society, held at Stratford-upon-Avon. London: British Nuclear Energy Society. pp. 83.

2007 [Online] Available at; Energy White Paper Supporting Documents, Department of Trade and Industry

2007 [Online] Available at; The Future of Nuclear Power: Consultation Document, Department of Trade and Industry

Hearst Magazines (1957). Popular Mechanics. Vol. 107. No. 4. pp. 258.

Meeting Energy Demand. Nuclear Power.

Walter C Patterson. (1982). Nuclear power. 2nd ed.

Roy M Harrison & R E Hester. (2011). Nuclear Power and The Environment. Cambridge: RSC Publishing.

Felix A Ferrit. (2006). Integration of Alternative Sources of Energy. Hoboken : John Wiley & Sons

Patrick Wintour & David Adam. (2006) The Guardian. Blair presses the nuclear button.

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Briefing Process Construction Projects

What Are The Contributions Made By Client Facing Project Managers To The Briefing Process Within The UK Construction Industry?

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For the past fifty years or so briefing has been highlighted as one of the problem areas within the UK construction industry. Various UK government reports have reflected these inefficiencies from the Banwell (1964) report to the Egan (1998) report. The government reports put emphasis on the importance of improving customer focus in the construction industry. The brief establishes the requirements of the client and hence the objectives of a project. As the client facing project manager is concerned with achieving the project’s objectives, this dissertation seeks to establish what contribution the client facing project manager has on the briefing process. In order for this investigation to progress the following research will include a literature review of the briefing process and qualitative research of the client facing project manager’s involvement in the briefing process. Primary data obtained from the qualitative research will be analysed and conclusion will be drawn. Analysis of results of the investigation showed both negative and positive issues for the client facing project manager on contributing to the briefing process.

Briefing Process Construction
Briefing Process Construction

Negative issues include lack of education of the briefing process; there is a lack of understanding with regard to good practice implemented and poor undertaking of strategic briefs. Positive issues include an appreciation of the briefing process and an appreciation of the impact of a project upon the client’s core business; traits of leadership implemented to the briefing process and a willingness to gain knowledge in order to develop a strategic brief. The conclusion of the investigation is that the client facing project manager needs to gain further competence in order to contribute effectively to the briefing process. The dissertation objectives are as follows;

  • To evaluate the involvement of the client facing project manager in preparing the brief for their client
  • To assess the client facing project manager’s perception of the briefing process
  • To examine what tools and protocol the client facing project manager uses to develop a brief
  • To gain an insight into any barriers that exist which would hinder the client facing project manager from implementing a strategic brief
  • To examine the client facing project manager’s understanding of the briefing process
  • To assess if the type of client influences the client facing project manager’s involvement in the briefing process
  • To carry out an objective investigation, in analysis and conclusion

Briefing is an iterative process in trying to interpret client requirements and involves consultation with project stakeholders during its development. A good brief should capture the client’s requirements in a clear and precise way. As briefing is an iterative process, communication and coordination is important as a large amount of information is being passed between parties involved in the briefing process. The process requires decisive decisions to be made that can have implications on cost in later stages of a project. Central to the briefing problem is that the client does not fully express the project objective and is oblivious of the alternatives open to it. On the brief taker’s side there is difficulty in trying to decipher the requirements of the client. With uncertain information moving between parties, misinterpretation is a high risk and may only be avoided by repeated iterations around the problem.

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Collaboration within the Architecture Industry

Collaboration within the Architecture Industry

From the oxford dictionary, architecture is the science or art of designing and constructing buildings. Architecture involves a lot of this including the planning construction, designing structures by manipulation of materials so that they can meet a social environmental, functional, technical or aesthetic value. Estimation of construction costs, scheduling and the administration of construction of the buildings is also part of what architecture encompasses. In the past architectures conducted almost everything involving a construction, except the practically building work. As of today, for a building to be constructed, there is a lot of collaboration involved. Interior designers, engineers, electricians, construction managers, governing authority representative and owner’s representatives are only a few of the players that collaborate with architectures to ensure a structure is brought up successfully to meet the specifications and the requirements of the owner. It is therefore very evident that architecture is no longer a one man’s game. The collaborations have brought with them benefits and also a few challenges.

Research suggests that architecture is not a one man’s game. Architecture is old. The very first publication on the topic was in the 1st century AD. This publication was by a roman architect known as Vitruvius. According to this architect, a building had to poses three main principles for it to be considered satisfactory. The three principles were:

  1. Beauty- the building had to be of aesthetic value meaning it had to be appealing to the eye.
  2. Durability- for a building to be termed as satisfactory, it had to stand strong and in good condition for a very long time.
  3. Utility-the suitability of a building to the purpose it was meant for was also a major principle in determining the quality of a building. Over the years architecture evolved from construction of buildings to roads and even bridges.

An architecture industry requires an integrated approach for faster completion and desirable outcome. According to Collins (2011), different teams including the owner, project manager, interior designer and the architect are brought together to ensure that the project outcome is viable and efficient. Coming up with a workable team for delivering successful integrated project requires commitment. All the participants are supposed to: identify a mutually agreeable goal and objective; develop arrangements to define roles of each participant; and recognize the organization structure to avoid conflicting roles.

Every integrated project has stages in which each actor has a responsibility to carry out. From the conceptualization phase through construction, every actor has relevant role (Collins, 2011). Below is a description of each phase and the collaborating responsibility of each of the actors.

Conceptualization

The manager, interior designer, engineers and architect with other stakeholders must come together to define WHAT is to be built, WHO is to build, and HOW it is supposed to be done. The manager is expected to come up with goals that define the performance and function of the project to be executed (Lowe, 2009). He also determines the project procurement process, he gives out data regarding the physical factors of the area in which the project is to be constructed and provide policies and legislative framework affecting the project.

According to Yazici (2010), the prime designer must come up with the project schedule i.e. commencing time through the completion period; visualize the adjacency concerns of the project and its massing; and provide a sustainable design that has the least cost and least impacts on the surrounding. Together with the engineers and the architect, the designers must be involved in cost information, the procurement process and awarding of tender, and validation of the scope of work.

Criteria and Detailed Design

After decisions are made on the scope and schedule of work, the project commences. Each option and decision is analyzed and evaluated, tested and selection of best option is done. It should involve all the actors to finalize the scope of the project, design of the building systems such as the structure and skin, the schedule and cost estimates (Lowe, 2009).

The project manager facilitates site input and reviews of user group. He/she then gives a feedback to the team in regard to revision. Together with the project coordinator, the manager coordinates the overall schedule of performance of every actor, organize and direct the overall team (Collins, 2011). The designers also have a role to play; they integrated the design input, issue regulations required for the project, outline the specifications of the project and refine the design schedule.

In the detailed design concludes WHAT is to be done in the project. All design decisions are made here. All the project systems are defined. Engineers define and coordinate the project elements (Lowe, 2009). The quality levels of materials are established and the project commences after verification of schedule, cost, prefabrication decisions and tolerances by all actors.

Documentation of the Implementation of the Project

At this stage, everything shifts from WHAT to HOW the project is to be implemented. The actors come up with construction methods and means, the schedule, finalized costs, and a document defining and visualizing the final project (Lowe, 2009). The construction health and safety guidelines including control of noise, infection, vibration and injuries are all defined as per the owner and legal standards.

Construction Phase

This is the phase where each actor actualizes the project. Every person has his/her role to play as per the schedule and responsibility allocated. The manager ensures compliance in terms of obligations, organize the procurement required equipment and materials and also coordinates the team (Yazici, 2010). The interior designer is qualified to select and procure all accessories, furniture and materials of a project. At the early stages of construction, the architect can work together with the designer in making the floor plan and placement of artwork and furnishes. Interior designer can also give a helping hand in making the architectural details of cabinetry, lighting and carpentry design.

Use of BIM in the Collaborative Approach

An important model that illustrates the need for a collaborative approach is the Building Information Model (BIM). It is a digitized three dimensional representation of a project and its distinctive characteristics. A door, for instance, with its defined dimensions and material is hosted and related parametrically to the wall of the building. In addition, the BIM provides a consistent view of the representation which saves a lot of time to designers and engineers. According to the National BIM standard, 2010 (as quoted by Post, 2008), this model involves virtual designing and construction through the life cycle of the project.

Collaboration within the Architecture Industry
Collaboration within the Architecture Industry

There are two types of BIM:  the lonely and the social types (Vardo, 2009). “lonely” BIM excludes the construction manager while the “social” involves all actors. The most collaborative BIM is the “social” since it enables architect, engineer, construction manager and the designer to share the model. Moreover, the building information from the model can be shared among the whole team. After collaboration of all actors, the information generated can be used to prefabricate the required products.

According to Post (2008), there is another form of BIM known as “intimate” BIM. This model involves the team members and the owner sharing the project rewards and risks. A combination of “intimate” and “social” BIMs enhances efficiency through reduction of the cost and time in the project and also in production of high quality drawings.

Each project actor can use the Building Information Modelling through the planning, design, construction and operation stages (Kenley, 2010). BIM can be used during the design phase since it has an influence on the cost of the project. The entire team can come together and analyze the projected issues which would otherwise incur extra costs to the owner. This can be done through cost-benefit analysis (CBA).

Kenley (2010) stated that at the design phase, the project engineer and architect are involved in energy analysis and also in testing of their design knowledge. Through the model, the construction manager can come up with value, sequencing and engineering reports. If the team comes up with a 3-dimensional plan, the owner can decide whether he/she likes the design before construction commences.

BIM can also be used at the construction phase for accurate building purposes. BIM can generate survey points for the sight which would allow for accurate positioning of hangers; this eases the work of the contractors (Lowe, 2009). Managers must also plan for transportation, fabrication, installation and coordination during construction; this information can be updated on the model.

According to Yazici (2010), BIM can also be used to monitor and plan for the workforce. The Laser Scanners of the 3D model are used to monitor the location of workers at the site and also monitoring the daily activities. Using the same model, deviations from the original plan can be detected and changes made before any damage.

At the post construction stage, space and asset management, building maintenance, disaster planning and management and record modeling facilitates easy building maintenance through its operation phase (Post, 2008). The model can be used to build system analysis based on lighting, energy and mechanical analysis. Moreover, the BIM can be used to upgrade the components of the building. The table on the following page shows the uses of BIM at each stage of project development:

Planning

  • Examining existing conditions
  • Estimation of costs
  • Phase planning
  • Site analysis and programming

Design

  • Reviewing of design
  • Analysis of energy
  • Authoring of design
  • 3-D coordination

Construction

  • Site planning and utilization
  • 3-D control and planning
  • Record modeling

Operation

  • Maintenance and scheduling
  • Analysis of building systems

Opportunities and Challenges of the Collaborative Approach

Whenever all the actors work together, the intensity of work is reduced. Conflict of interest and duplication of work is also minimized. Through BIM, all work done during construction can be monitored and corrections made in case of divergence from the existing plan; this minimizes emerging issues that would interfere with the whole process. Furthermore, all actors are satisfied due to transparency as they are involved in the whole process. Although collaboration is encouraged, it is undebatable that factors such as culture and consumerism would hinder full participation. Some designers would not be willing to share their materials and knowledge with engineers or architects and vice versa. The upcoming technology has also hindered collaboration as most of the work has been mechanized.

Case Study: Gensler Company Architecture

History and background

Gensler architecture was founded in the year 1965 by Drue and art Gensler and their associate James Follett. At that time the company’s main focus was corporate interiors but with time it has ventured into other numerous areas. They include: architecture and design of retail center, airport, education and recreation centers, urban planning and design, environmental graphic design, sustainable design consultation and brand strategy. The company has its headquarters in San Francisco, United States. The company is responsible for construction of major buildings all over the world and in 2000 it received an award for the architecture firm of the year from the American institute of architects. Structures like the Shanghai Tower in China, Facebook in London and The Avenues in Kuwait are products of this firm. As of today the company is home to a population of more than three thousand three hundred employees.

SWOT Analysis

Strengths

The company’s location is one of its strength, since it is easily accessible by customers from all over the world.

The company has built a strong brand that is recognized by people all over especially because of the breathtaking structures that they are associated with all over the globe.

Manpower- with the large number of employees in the company, there is delegation of duties which ensures that everyone produces their very best in the company.

Due to the various collaborations the company has with businesses dealing with interior design, manufacturers of construction materials and engineering companies they are able to come up with structures that are simply exquisite.

The company has a focused team in management meaning that the daily running of the business is under scrutiny and supervision of a very able team.

The company’s position in the architecture industry is also a major strength, since it is involved in setting standards in the industry.

Diversity- the company offers a variety of services having lately ventured into the health and wellness sectors which means they have a large and diverse source of revenue.

Weaknesses

The company has not penetrated the markets in the world in the architecture industry. This means their market is not widespread and therefore there are parts in the world where no one has an idea that the company actually exists.

Dependence on material manufacturing companies- the firm does not produce is own material and therefore if anything goes wrong with the manufacture of materials, it could mean problems to the company.

Prices- the company charges prices that are considered expensive and hence some customers may prefer other companies to them.

Opportunities

The architectural industry is under rapid growth and being the best they can be able to maintain their standards and reap large profits.

Increased interest in real estate- all over the world, people have grown interest in the real estate business providing a booming market for architectural firms. This is a great opportunity for Gensler.

Developing countries- this is a great opportunity for Gensler since as a country develops, it requires lots of structures and infrastructure where the company comes in.

Interior design- this industry is growing rapidly and since Gensler also offers this services. It proves to be a great opportunity for the company.

Threats

The greatest threat for the company is competition. There is great competition in the architectural industry. The company’s main competitors are URS Corporation and HOK Groups Inc.

The other threat is government interference. Policies and regulations put in place by the government for construction of structures are a threat to the company.

Economic crisis- the current economic crisis that has hit the world is another major threat for the success and survival of the company.

Problems brought about by partnerships and collaborations with other businesses is another issue that poses a threat to the company’s success.

Technology- with the everyday of growth and change in technology, the company faces a challenge of keeping up with what’s new in technology.

Issues and challenges

Cultural variances are a challenge for the company since it has to meet a customer’s need despite differences in culture. The company also faces a great deal of problems when it comes to creating customer friendly costs and at the same time making enough profit to sustain the large task force. Managing the large number of staff and ensuring that every one delivers is another issue that is affecting the company.

Divided attention is also a problem though not a major one; it affects the company all the same. With the company venturing into different sectors, it become difficult to ensure every single one performs.

Economic crisis that has caused a recession recently is also a problem for Gensler.

Recommendations

The company should put up strategies that ensure that the company is not shaken by the economic crisis.

By ensuring that the staff is strictly professionally qualified in their area of work, the company will reduce the amount of supervision required and hence making employee management easier.

The company should also evaluate critically any business before getting into collaboration or partnerships with them.

Opinion

One of the main reasons why the company has made it big in the very competitive industry is because they have encouraged collaboration with other sectors such as interior design unlike others who ensure that all the work is done by the architects.

References

Collins, R. (2011). “BIM for Safety, Virtual Design and Construction VDC Application.” Intelibuild

Kenley, R. (2010). Location-Based Management for Construction. Spon: New York

Lowe, R. H. (2009). Construction Lawyer28.1. Associated General Contractors of America.

Post, N. M. (2008). “Building Team Views Technological Tools as Best Chance For Change.” Engineering News Record.

Vardaro, M. J. (2009). “Weighing the Issues on BIM Technology.” Interview by Calvin Lee. Zetlin & DeChiara LLP Review. Web. May 2010

Yazici, O. C. (2010). “BIM, Scheduling and RFID.” Personal interview

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