Timber Construction Structural Element

The Reasons Why Timber Is Selected As a Structural Element in Construction Projects

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Timber has been used as a construction material since the beginning of recorded history. Over the past 100 years its use as a structural element in large scale commercial or industrial buildings has fallen dramatically when compared to steel or concrete. An investigation into the properties and physical characteristics of timber has shown that with careful detailing and specification it can be used in almost any situation that steel or concrete is currently used in. It has also been demonstrated that timber is the most sustainable of the main construction materials provided it is produced under the auspices of the accredited certification schemes. This has led the researcher to question why it is not specified more often in the UK construction industry. A questionnaire was sent out to determine the attitudes to practitioners from several disciplines towards the use of timber as a structural element.

Timber Construction Structural Element
Timber Construction Structural Element

The results showed that timber is used less often than steel or concrete and the results show that in theory timber is suitable for most structural elements of a building; in practice it is rarely used due to the perceived difficulty in design and on site construction of the timber elements compared to similar steel or concrete designs. It is suggested that further research be conducted to establish if the actual difficulties in design and construction match the perceptions of the designers and contractors expressed in this research. It is further suggested that detailed research into the relative costs of timber, steel and concrete would identify whether the perception that ‘timber is an expensive option’ is true. The overall aim of the research is to compare timber with steel and concrete when used as a structural element. It is anticipated that the research will demonstrate that timber can replace steel or concrete as a structural element under certain circumstances and will attempt to establish why it is not more commonly used.

Dissertation Objectives

  1. Evaluate the physical characteristics of timber, focusing particularly on its use as a main structural element, comparing the properties to similar steel and concrete elements
  2. Identify whether the perception that timber is rarely used in commercial or industrial buildings is correct
  3. After establishing whether objective 2) is true, identify a trend which indicates why timber use is rare or, if 2) is false, the reason why there is the perception
  4. Establish whether the results of the research would have an influence on the choice of materials in the future

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Innovation Management UK Construction

How Innovative is the UK Construction Industry?

Title: Innovation Management in the UK Construction Industry. The contemporary built environment increasingly calls for the incorporation of innovation in the agenda of Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) organisations. Being widely recognized for its vital contribution to achieve a competitive advantage, innovation is perceived as the backbone to secure survival in the dynamic construction market. However, a contradiction is created when the necessity for the construction industry to innovate meets the distinctive elements of the industry’s own nature characterized by a temporary, adversarial and fragmented culture.

Innovation Management

This is the point where the need to face innovation with a conscious and well-integrated approach is revealed. Therefore, the present work aims to discuss how AEC organisations adopt innovation management at the organisational level, where organisational variables and management interventions affect its integration in the business, and to further provide suggestions for its wider promotion in the construction industry. The research carries out an extensive literature review and a series of interviews for the elicitation of empirical data, involving professionals closely related to construction innovation.

Innovation Management UK Construction Industry
Innovation Management UK Construction Industry

The findings revolve around the examination of the construction-tailored concept and context of innovation and proceed to the investigation of the organizational dimension represented by strategies and techniques, as they are suggested by the literature and actually embraced by the interviewed construction firms. The synthesis of the innovation management interventions enable their suggestion to AEC companies, provided that they are critically assessed to their individual needs and capabilities. Consequently, this study can be a useful instrument for organisations that wish to contribute to promoting innovation in the construction industry.

Dissertation Aim and Objectives

The aim of this research is to discuss how AEC organisations adopt innovation management in the contemporary built environment and provide recommendation in order to promote and integrate innovation in the construction industry. In order to achieve the stated aim the following objectives are set:

  • Examine the current state of innovation in UK construction
  • Explore the role of innovation management and the organisational dimension of innovation in construction industry
  • Investigate the approaches of AEC organisations to strategically and tactically promote innovation
  • Identify effective strategies and techniques and provide suggestions for the adoption of innovation management by AEC firms

Dissertation Contents

1 – Introduction
Rationale
Research Aim and Objectives
Research Methodology
Structure of the Dissertation

2 – The Concept and the Context of Innovation in Construction
Defining innovation
Innovation in construction
Influencing factors on construction innovation
The role of the client and manufacturers
The structure of production
Industry relationships
Regulations/Standards
Organisational resources
Innovation performance of the construction industry

3 – Innovation Management at Organisational Level in a Construction Firm
Innovation management in construction
Organisational variables and management interventions
The role of leadership
The organisational environment
The business environment
Management approaches

4 – Research Methodology
Research Approaches
Quantitative Research Method
Qualitative Research Method
Research method selection
Methods of data collection
Literature Review
Interview
Synthesis exercise

5 – Data Analysis and Discussion
Classification of results
Background of the sample
Definition of innovation
Perception of in-house innovation
Barriers to innovation
Strategic approach to innovation
Tactical approach to innovation
Role of the construction sector
Synthesis of the findings

6 – Conclusions, Recommendations and Further Research
Aim and objectives restated
Recommendations
Limitations
Further Research
Summary

References

Appendix
Interview Transcripts

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Dissertation Social Media Deployment UK Construction Industry

The Impact and Effectiveness of Social Media Deployment within the UK Construction Industry

Over the past decade, social media has been at the forefront of how many individuals and organisations use the internet. This user-driven technology has provided a platform for users to publish their own content and share information through a variety of different interfaces. Often seen as industry that does not embrace change, the construction industry must ensure it understands the opportunities social media brings advertising, promotion, collaboration and communication are some of the themes considered.

Many within the industry have already adopted social media into their businesses, but there are some who have no interest. Four interviews were carried out with a variety of differing industry professionals; the findings were investigated to establish how social media was being used throughout the industry and how companies were looking to use it in the future.

The main findings showed a varying degree of social media adoption and differing views on the opportunities it presents for the industry in the future. It has been concluded that while it appears that social media has been adopted by the construction industry, it has only been bit part as most companies using the medium seem to only consider it a tool for promotion and few understand or implement it as a collaborative mechanism.

Dissertation Objectives

  • Assess the current use of social media within the construction industry
  • Compare the construction industries use of social media platforms to that of other industries
  • Investigate the reasoning construction companies choose to use or not to use social media
  • Critically appraise the effect of using social media and discover if there is a significant difference for those who have not invested in this medium
  • Consider the opportunities social media provides for a business and understand how it could affect the construction industry in the future
Social Media Construction Industry

Dissertation Contents

1 – Introduction
An introduction to social media in construction
Research rationale
Aim and objectives
Methodology
Secondary data collection
Qualitative research
Dissertation structure

2 – Literature Review
What is social media?
Types social media and the main platforms
Types of social media
Social media platforms
Uses of social media in business
Social media in construction
Social media in other industries
Social media as a collaboration tool

3 – Research Methodology
Quantitative
Qualitative
Chosen approach
Questionnaire design

4 – Data collection and Analysis
Data analysis respondents
Data analysis results
Introduction and general use of social media
How social media influences the perception of the construction industry
Organisations use of social media
The future of social media in construction

5 – Discussion
Social media in the construction industry
Implementing social media into a business
The future of social media in construction

6 – Conclusion, Limitations and Recommendations
General Conclusions
Satisfying the objectives
Analysis of objectives
Limitations
Recommendations

References

Appendix
Interview transcripts

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Dissertation BREXIT UK Construction Labour Market

Future Impact and Implication of BREXIT on the UK Construction Labour Market

Title: Future Impact and Implication of BREXIT on the UK Construction Labour Market. The construction Industry remains one of the most influential industries within the British economy. As the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) reported, for each £1 spent on construction output, a total of £2.84 in total economic activity is generated. With ambitious government plans and scheduled deadlines around the corner, it is essential for the construction industry to retain an access to the required resources.

The skills shortage remains an issue within an industry where a remedy has not been found to overcome the labour shortfall problem. The foreign workforce has been successfully used in recent years to fill the gap within the construction labour market, but the gap between the retiring workforce and the number of new entrants into the construction market remains significant. The 2016 EU Referendum resulted in a decision to leave European Union.

UK Construction Dissertation BREXIT
UK Construction Dissertation BREXIT

Although exact strategies of dealing with this decision are unknown yet uncertainty started affecting the construction industry immediately after the referendum result. At first, many foreign workers consider transferring their skills to other countries where access to the single market remains unaffected. This dissertation aims to analyse the effect of Brexit on the construction labour market and assess foreign workforce movement within the United Kingdom.

The aim of this dissertation is to analyse the current and potential future trends of foreign worker movement within the UK construction sector.

Dissertation Objectives

  • Provide a clear and precise analysis of the construction industry labour market in UK focussing on the foreign workers coming from EUA8 countries.
  • To evaluate the current tendencies within the market and make reliable assumptions towards the possible changes in trends resulting from Referendum decision.

1 – Introduction
Background
Aims and Objectives
Research Questions
Research Structure

2 – Literature Review
UK Construction – Labour Market
Foreign Workers in Construction Industry
Skills shortage and solutions
BREXIT
Effect of BREXIT on Construction Industry
BREXIT Strategies

3 – Research Methodology
Research Strategy
Quantitative Research
Qualitative Research
Primary Research
The Survey Approach
The Case Study Approach
Secondary Research
Research Ethical Practice
Limitations

4 – Data Analysis
Interviews
Interview Results
Questionnaire
Questionnaire Results
Office for National Statistics

5 – Conclusion
Research Purpose
Research Objectives
Research Limitations
Recommendations for further research

References

Appendix
Questionnaire

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Carbon Footprint

Electrical Power: How to Reduce Consumption during Peak Period with Low Carbon Footprint Energy Technology

The theme of this research paper is the following: Transforming the electricity retailing system to meet future demand, encourage the usage of low carbon footprint energy, thereby contributing to a more sustainable environment for our future. This research paper is composed of four goals: 1). Reduce the rate of electrical energy fluctuation and overall reduction of wholesale privacy by 10%, thereby increasing profit. 2). Reduce peak time demand for electrical power by 5% in 5 years. 3). Reduce electrical power generating operational costs. 4). Increase the ease and reduce the cost to operate PHEV.

Electricity is a secondary source of energy. Electricity is transformed from the combustion of coal and fossil fuels into a secondary source, which can be used and effectively and efficiently transmitted by means of power transmission lines to the consumer. Electricity can also be generated by means of the combustion of biomass. Other primary sources from which electricity is transformed are: natural gas, solar, hydro, geothermal, wind and nuclear sources. The electricity which is generated from the combustion of coal, natural gas, fossil fuels and nuclear sources is non renewable. Electricity is also generated from renewable sources such as: hydropower, wind, biomass, geothermal and solar (need.org 2013).

The cost of generating electricity varies between 2.2 pence per kilowatt hour to 3.2 pence per kilowatt hour. The least expensive means of deriving electrical power is from a combined cycle gas turbine. The most expensive means of deriving electrical energy through combustion is the coal fired integrated gasification combined cycle plant. Open cycle gas turbines which operate on the combustion of natural gas are the most well suited for new electrical generating facilities. The best candidates for fulfilling electrical power generation requisites at peak duty are the open cycle gas turbines. These open cycle gas turbines are adaptive, reliable and are capable of being efficiently ignited when the demand for electricity reaches its peak demand. An open cycle gas turbine can generate electricity at 3.2 pence per kilowatt hour when operate continuously. When operated solely at periods of peak duty, the open cycle gas turbine generates electrical energy at 6.2 pence per kilowatt hour (Royal Academy of Engineering 2012).

The operating cost of renewable energy sources is more expensive than the constant cycle gas turbine, the pulverized fuel steam facility, the circulated fluidized bed steam plant and the integrated gasification combined cycle. Fluctuation of electrical power generation in the renewable energy sources is a limiting factor in the output generation of electrical power. The cost of generation of electrical power varies from 3.2 pence per kilowatt hour to 7.2 pence per kilowatt hour. The cost of generating electrical power is diminished when there is no standby generation from non renewable sources. An onshore wind farm generates electrical energy at a cost of 3.2 pence per kilowatt hour, notwithstanding the standby generation of electrical power from non renewable sources. In the provision of a standby electrical generator operating from non renewable sources, the cost of generating electricity from an onshore wind farm is 5.4 pence per kilowatt hour. The kilowatt hour cost of generating electrical power from wave and marine technologies is consistent at 6.6 pence per kilowatt hour, with or without a standby electrical generation resource (Royal Academy of Engineering 2012).

Carbon Footprint
Carbon Footprint

The analysis of consumer demand for electrical energy requires constant demand data on a monthly, daily and hourly basis. This data may be evaluated by two means: daily and by the maximum or minimum electrical power consumption. The patterns of demand are relatively stable during the months of January through April and October through December. The instability in demand for electrical power occurs between the months of May through September, when consumer demand for electrical power reaches its peak. One method of reducing consumer demand for electrical power is to augment the price per kilowatt hour to the consumer. As the price increases, the demand for consumption of electrical power would be expected to diminish. However, in the short run, large augmentations in the price per kilowatt hour of electrical power only produces small changes in consumer usage. Over a long period of time, consumers have the possibility of adapting their consumption behaviors with regards to domestic appliances, in order to respond to the change in price per kilowatt hour of electrical power (Miller et al. 2002). Demand side management of electrical power consumption may include a variety of venues, inclusive of energy efficiency and conservation. In applying these venues, the impact has been proven to increase the utilization of electrical power efficiently. In California, the savings realized from electrical energy savings and efficiency programs has augmented from 750 MW in 1980 to 3,300MW in 2000. A few recommendations which may assist in the reduction of peak demand for electricity are the following:

  • Residential motivations and expense reductions.
  • Provision of adequate energy saving insulation in residential environments.
  • Residential motivations which include high efficiency lighting (i.e., fluorescent energy saving light bulbs).
  • Provision of Light Emitting Diodes (LED) for traffic signals and street lights.
  • Provision of energy efficient cool roofs.
  • Application of real time electrical meters in residential settings.
  • Application of media usage in declaring anticipated electrical shortages (i.e., Stage 1 and Stage 2 emergencies), in order to increase public awareness and voluntary electrical power conservation (Miller et al. 2002).

The implementation of these recommendations has been demonstrated to be effective in the reduction of peak electrical demand. The supply of electrical power must be correctly assessed with respect to consumer electrical demand. This may be demonstrated in the following equation:

Electrical power generating resources + electrical power transfer capabilities > Peak electrical power demand + electrical power reserve (Miller et al. 2013).

Globally, there is an energy transportation paradox. The global transportation sector is wholly dependent upon the combustion of petroleum as a primary energy source. Plug in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) demonstrate an excellent means by which to diminish global dependency of petroleum for the transportation sector. Plug in hybrid electric vehicles which include hydrogen and fuel cell technology offer a potential to offset a significant quantity of petroleum consumption. These plug in hybrid electric vehicles have the capacity of recharging their energy storage systems with electrical power received from the electrical energy retailers. When fully charged, these vehicles apply the power from the secondary source, being electricity, to mechanical utilization for locomotion. The primary benefit of the PHEV technology is that the vehicles cease to be wholly dependent upon one energy source. These vehicles may deploy a variety of energy mixes which include: coal, natural gas, wind, hydropower and solar energy. The PHEV is an evolution in automotive technology, it allows for the storage of energy and its application to the transmission and wheels of the automobile. The PHEV conceptually operates in two modes: the charge sustaining mode which enables the accumulation of electrical energy and the charge depleting mode which enables the dissemination of electrical energy to mechanical energy in order to provide locomotion for the vehicle. The PHEV are not without obstacles, the energy storage systems significantly increase the vehicles cost. The energy storage systems of the PHEV also present engineering obstacles in the energy storage system’s duty cycle. The PHEV is likely to require one deep recharge per day and is likely to require over 4000 deep recharges over a ten to fifteen year lifetime (Markel & Simpson 2013).

Conclusion

The electrical retailing system is presently undergoing an evolution. The types of electrical generation facilities which were considered in the twentieth century may no longer be feasible. Many electrical generation facilities will not be completed for a variety of reasons. In 2007, the State of Texas had nineteen power generation accords, of which seventeen pertained to wind powered electrical generation facilities. These electrical power accords accounted for 78.6% of the increased  MW capacity dedicated to the regional ERCOT system. In order to comply with the ever increasing demand for electrical power generation, large capital investments will be required in electrical power generation and electrical power transmission. These large capital investments will most likely result in higher electrical power generating costs. The higher electricity prices may result in increased conservation and efficiency methods (Combs 2012). In order to effectively reduce consumer demand for electrical power during peak periods of consumption, the recommendations in this research paper should be implemented simultaneously with the large capital investments being made in electrical power generation and transmission.

Works Cited

Combs, S (2012) Window on State Government Chapter 27 Electricity. Window on State Government Chapter 27 Electricity

Electricity at a Glance, (2013) need.org

Markel, T & Simpson, A (2013) ‘Plug In Hybrid Electric Vehicle Storage Design’ National Renewable Energy Laboratory. NREL/ CP 540-39614.

Miller,R, Griffin, K, Alvarado, A, Weatherall, R, Rohrer, R, Vidaver, D, Belotsky, A et al. (2013)California Energy Commission 2002- 2012 Electricity Outlook. California Energy Commission

Royal Academy of Engineering (2012) The Cost of Generating Electricity: A Commentary on a Study Carried out by PB Power for the Royal Academy of Engineering. Royal Academy of Engineering

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