‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is an oft-quoted phrase; if something is reasonably successful and effective then there is no need to change or replace it.

But look a little closer, and it’s a term that stifles innovation, cuts off creativity, and turns a blind eye to originality.

Something might be fixed, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved upon. If everyone thought like that, innovation would die out and we’d still all be using the first Nokia mobile phone and listening to music on a Sony Walkman.

The British construction sector has always been notoriously slow to embrace new ideas, ways of working and technology for this very reason. After all traditional building methods and materials such as concrete, bricks and mortar have been used to build houses in Britain for the last 100 years or so. Why change something that works well?

But with the current Government declaring its preference for Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) as a way of kickstarting the recovery currently facing the sector following the Covid-19 lockdown, and consultant Mark Farmer warning the industry must modernise or die, the brick is facing its most serious challenge yet.

One company helping the drive to modernise the British construction industry and safeguard its future is Green Life Buildings (GLB).

The Corby-based company’s advanced building system uses prefabricated insulated panels enclosed in galvanised steel mesh with connectors which, once in position onsite, are sprayed with a structural fine concrete coat to provide unbeatable strength. 

The panels can form walls, floors, landings, roofs, stairs, and internal partitions can be curved to meet demanding architectural specifications, meaning a single, family home can be constructed almost entirely from the material. 

GLB’s MD Chris Williams has lived with his family in a house constructed with the panels for more than 15 years and, with the technology having been used to construct over 1 million buildings worldwide, he said it’s only a matter of time before the sector wakes up to the product – and the brick is consigned to the history books. 

Traditional construction methods have produced some truly wonderful buildings over a prolonged period, but architects and developers are under increasing pressure to reduce construction costsbuild-time and build in a cleaner, greener, and safer way.  

“This is impossible to do using traditional building methods like bricks, and the GLB building system will need to be adopted for the construction sector to move forward into the future and hit housing and sustainability targets the Government has set. 

The GLB advanced building system offers unique advantages to developers and building contractors. 

Reduced installation times and cost 

Traditional methods of putting bricks on top of each other with mortar by hand is messy and weather dependent and can therefore be slow and unpredictable. 

The ultra-light EPS panels, which weigh no more than 5kgs per square metre before concrete coating and be installed in all-weather conditions and installation is typically much faster than traditional brickwork; a complete house can be built in just five-six weeks with GLB and one truck can deliver all the materials for one house. 

The lightness of the panels also eliminates the need for cranes or other external equipment as everything can be carried on site by handreducing the risk of onsite accidents. 

“You need almost 10,000 bricks to build a typical three bed home, which also then need to be laid by hand. Instead of building a brick wall, you can just put up a panel in a fraction of the time,” said Chris. “This means reduced build time and costs.” 

A better design and build  

The GLB system can be made to any specification and tailored to work with any design. And as the panels are factory made they can be made to each customers design to a 2mm tolerance, allowing for greater quality control throughout the process and a more consistent and predictable product. 

And with bricklaying as a skill not as widely available in the market today due to an aging workforce, GLB’s factory panels reduce need for a high-skilled, high-cost workforce. 

Chris said: “The versatility and adaptability of the panels enable the designer to achieve their desired design without restrictions or compromise, while it can be dressed in a range of finishes, including bricks, timber, tiles or render as standard.”  

sustainable solution 

There is a much greater need for energy-efficient manufacturing of building materials and energy-efficient structures, to reduce carbon emissions manage the transition to the 2025 Future Homes Standard and hit the UK’s Net Zero 2050 target – and the GLB system can dramatically reduce the impact on the environment. 

The systems embodied carbon is over 40% less than a traditional home, and once constructed can reduce the occupants carbon footprint by up to 65% less when in use when compared to a traditional masonry and timber roofs. The reduced volume of materials also means deliveries to site are reduced. 

The panels provide less waste in design and production, and as just one truck is needed to distribute the material for one house, transporting is more economical and reduces the impact on global resources,” said Chris. “This means a home’s whole-life carbon emissions, from its creation, maintenance and use, is much lower. 

While the traditional method of construction has been the accepted norm for a long time, the emergence of MMC and the GLB system can revolutionise every aspect of the building process, from cutting time to changing attitudes. So, why wouldn’t you use it? 

GLB can supply 700,000 square metres of panels a year from its factory, enough to build more than 3,000 average-sized family homes. 

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Make a difference and change the way you build today

We know you are under pressure to reduce construction costs and build time, while also building in a more sustainable way. Our building system will provide you with greater speed of construction, a lower carbon footprint and better value than traditional bricks and mortar, steel, or timber frames. So, why not change the way you build today?

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