Sample Masters Construction Coursework

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Sustainable Design and Unit 19

Executive Summary

Ash Developments has asked for the feasibility of implementing sustainable design to 19, four-story office property. Sustainable design is a philosophy that incorporates the use of environmentally and socially acceptable methods of architecture and design without endangering the environment or the inhabitants of the area in which construction occurs.

To understand the concept of philosophy,  it is essential to comprehend the principles that compose the philosophy. For the current report, sustainable design and pollution prevention in architecture were chosen as the method by which sustainable design was to be implemented. The principles include economy of resources, life cycle design, and humane design.

The sustainable design principles were used to compose an office design whose fundamental goal was to reduce energy usage, making the building more energy-efficient. This particular goal was chosen because, in today’s technology-driven world, electricity and energy have become the basis for businesses in addition to consumers. Without the use of energy, the production of a company cannot begin.

Keeping in mind the need to decrease energy usage, workplace productivity was also held at the core of the design. Being an office space, it is essential that the building is developed in such a way to ensure that employers can obtain the most productivity from their employees by providing a comfortable and energetic working environment.

The project’s design process ensures that we need to build a project team that can represent the needs of Ash Development and members of the team that are experts in sustainable design, utility experts, restoration, and conservation experts.  One of the main goals was the reduction of energy consumption.

To reduce energy consumption, simple, innovative, straightforward, cost-effective, and functional strategies were included. The project’s primary aim was to ensure that maximum daylighting was used to decrease energy use. The building was designed so that each of its orientations was able to provide multiple daylight sources. Other fixtures and equipment were utilized to achieve high energy performance but with minor energy usage.


Summary: The section introduces the report’s purpose to the clients and gives background information on sustainable design and green building. The section also provides the aims and objectives of the project that should be achieved by the end of the report.

Many economists consider architecture and construction as the most apparent forms of economic activity. According to McLennan, it is hypothesized that the pattern of architectural resource intensity based on the ratio of per-capita architectural resource consumption to per-capita income is to increase linearly.

This is because a country’s economic development needs to develop more factories, office buildings, and residential buildings. Throughout the existence of a building, it impacts the local and global environment through sequential activities of humans and natural processes, which are all interconnected to one another.

Professionals in the architecture and construction industry need to accept that with improving society’s economic status, architectural resources such as land, building, energy, building products, and other resources will also increase with the need. This will impact the global ecosystem, composed of inorganic elements and living organisms, particularly humans. Therefore, it is best to incorporate sustainable designs to find architectural solutions to ensure the global ecosystem’s well-being and co-existence.

The current report presents the feasibility of implementing sustainable design solutions into a four-story office property on Liverpool Innovation Park. The report will define sustainable design principles and how they can be implemented in the current project. Sustainable design is often noted as the “philosophy of designing physical objects, built environment and the services to comply with the principles of social, economic, and ecological sustainability.”

Research Aims

The current report’s research aims to;

  • Address the research question: What are sustainability options that can be implemented for the four-story office premise on Liverpool Innovation Park, Edge Lane, Liverpool?
  • Comprehend the complexities that are associated with the use of the sustainable design in architecture and construction.
  • Examine major concerns in terms of financial advantages and disadvantages of using sustainable designs.
  • Undertake broad research to identify measures and strategies that will improve the four-story office property’s environmental co-existence to the surrounding environment and the global ecosystem.
  • Analyse the effectiveness of the various strategies and recommendations composed for the four-story office premises using sustainable designs focusing on the design’s economic, social, and environmental aspects.

Research Objectives

  • To review the trends of using sustainable design in construction and architecture; highlight why sustainable designs have become a viable construction method. Data from different sources will be used, such as from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
  • Examine the financial concerns that are related to the use of sustainable designs on existing buildings.
  • Undertake secondary research using published academic literature on sustainable design and green building. Analyze the data that is obtained through secondary research.

According to the RICS, many clients are more interested in achieving sustainability standards in buildings when they are committed to improving the sustainability of existing buildings. However, there may be some technical and economic constraints that exist in the process. The research question of the current report will also be addressed within the report’s recommendations section, which will outline an action plan based on the report’s findings.

Sustainable Design Principles

Summary: Sustainable design principles based on sustainable design and pollution prevention in architecture are used as the project’s basis. The principles include economy of resources, life cycle design, and humane design. The approach is analyzed and then implemented later in the design phase.

Sustainable designs aim to eliminate any negative environmental impact through skilful and sensitive design (McLennan 2004). Sustainable design products necessitate renewable resources, have minimal impact on the environment, and connect people with the natural environment.

Various technologies are developed constantly to counterpart the current practices in development structures that are greener. However, regardless of what technology is developed, they all have the same objective, which is to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment (RICS) through;

  • Efficiently using resources, especially energy and water (Hover et al. 2008).
  • Ensuring that occupants’ health is protected and that the design improves employees’ productivity in the case of office spaces (Kim 1998).
  • To ensure the reduction of waste, pollution, and depletion of the Earth’s natural resources (RICS).

Within architecture itself, there are three principles of sustainability, which includes (adapted from Shu-Yang et al. 2004;

  • Economy of resources- focused on reducing, reusing, and recycling natural resources that are input to a building.
  • Life cycle design- develops a method to analyze the building process and its impact on the environment.
  • Human design- emphasizes the interaction that takes place between humans and the natural world.

Through these principles, surveyors can provide their clients with a broad awareness of architectural consumption’s environmental impact on the local and global scale (figure 1). These principles will help design and renovate the current property being reviewed; Unit 19, Liverpool Innovation Park, Edge Lane, Liverpool. Each of the proposed principles above further extends into a set of unique strategies that can be used to reduce the environmental impact of the building under question.

Sample Masters Construction Coursework

Based on the first principle, Economic of Resources, the focus is to reduce the excessive use of non-renewable resources in the building’s construction and operation. Based on figure 2, it is evident that there is a constant flow of resources that can be either manufactured or natural in and out of the building.

The process of resource flow begins with the production and manufacture of building materials, which are then used to make and maintain the building, making it present throughout the building’s life cycle, making an environment for sustaining human well-being.

Based on resource conservation law, any resources that have been inputted into the building ecosystem will come out of it either as waste or to become components for other buildings. Each of the principles will be independently implemented for each design phase and holistically used to ensure that the design proposed fits the principles.

Sample Masters Construction Coursework

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Strategic Plan

Summary: The strategic plan consists of design goals, energy strategies, and cost schedules. The section outlines ways in which the sustainable design process will begin and the ideas that will be used to ensure that Unit 19 is upgraded into a building that is energy efficient. The strategy’s focus and later the design is energy efficiency, which seems to be the main problem in many buildings today.

The design process for the Unit 19 building was focused on low energy use goals and sustainable design. For the first part of the process, a building committee must be formed with Ash Developments, which will be made up of staff members which a strong interest in the success of the project by representing Ash Developments, the owners of Unit 19 in the design and construction process.

Furthermore, design professionals will be selected for the consultation process based on their qualifications in energy efficiency design practices and the use of sustainable design principles, which have been summarised in the previous section. The project team also includes experts in utilities such as United Utilities, conservation boards, restoration specialists, and local material suppliers.

Design Goals

A series of ten-day design charrettes will be held with the project team. The team will discuss five project goals, which will be refined to guide the design process.

1. Reduction in building energy consumption. The Unit 19 property is set to serve as an example of innovative energy-efficient techniques implemented in commercial buildings. A low-energy use target is set to 40 percent less energy.

2. Aim for a healthy and productive environment. Unit 19 building will be renovated to create daylit spaces to provide passable controlled thermal zones and ventilation air. This can be achieved by allowing occupants of the office property to control their environment using operable windows blinds and task lighting control. This design goal can also be achieved with minimal materials that can emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

3. Selecting appropriate building materials

4. Reducing the number of building materials

5. Improving the ecology of the site.

Energy Strategies

For the design team to reduce energy consumption, the project team must evaluate the various energy strategies regarding the building systems incorporated into the design. The plan devised for energy reduction was assessed using life cycle costs that would estimate HVAC alternatives’ prices to understand the economic impact of continuous use of equipment functionality, maintenance, repair, and replacement costs over the building life.

Cost of Project

The cost of the repairs that will be needed using sustainable design (Jennings 1995);

Table 1- Costing Schedule

Project Preparation £550,000
Project construction, capital investment £1,000,000
Project construction, personnel £650,000
Total construction cost £2,200,000
Beam and ceiling commissioning £850,000
Total project construction cost £3,050,000

The costs which have been projected are taken from various previous sustainability renovations of the same kind. Further, the capital investment can be made through grants, capital allowances, and other funds sources. Occupants will be charged rent of £572,062.5 PA based on a £12.50 per sq. ft. of 45,765 sq. ft. The major aim of Ash Development will be to get a client on a 10-year lease using the sustainable designs proposed.


Summary: This section analyses sustainable design principles and the strategies used to reach the design goals. It outlines how the building is to be upgraded to ensure that it can reach its energy efficiency goal.

The final project design uses various energy-efficient strategies that are considered innovative, functional, cost-effective, and user-friendly. The major design features include daylighting, a high-performance building envelope, and a lighting system.


The design created is based on daylighting, with natural daylight as the primary form of illumination. The design establishes the use of high mounted daylight transom windows on the west, and especially on the bullnose elevation to the north, which allows daylight penetration to the interior areas of the building, primarily the open office areas, which will reduce the need for electric lights by 30 percent (Kim 1998).

There will also be external shading devices, overhands, and seasonal banners that will effectively prevent direct sunlight from striking the work surface within the office areas and decrease air conditioning load.

The asphalt roof coverings will be renovated to include exposed roof surfaces and a metal deck ceiling with reflectively painted surfaces to effectively and evenly distribute daylight. It will also contribute to the overall uniformed appearance of the building.

It is proposed to install a daylight control system using a light sensor and dim electronic ballast to decrease the light energy to up to 35 percent, installed at the cost of £0.56 per square foot (Bejan 2015). Furthermore, the design solutions proposed can reduce by 10 percent the capacity of air conditioning equipment in the building and decrease by 24 percent the electrical demand of a combination of lighting and air conditioning.

High-Performance Building Envelope

The design includes the use of window visible light transmittance (VT) and solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) that will differ based on the placement’s orientation to optimize thermal and daylighting performance, hypothesized in table 2.

There will be low-E, triple pane, wood frame window U-Values between 0.25 – 0.35 BTU/hr-ft2- °C. The window to wall area will be augmented to balance the daylighting, passive winter solar gain, and summertime air conditioning load. Lastly, operational windows will be installed to allow for neutral ventilation.

Table 2- Summary of Window Usage

Orientation VT SHGC U-Value/BTU/hr-ft2-°C Window to Wall % Window to Floor Area %
North 0.66 0.43 0.35 12% 2%
South 0.66 0.43 0.35 20% 7%
East 0.61 0.33 0.25 20% 3%
West 0.61 0.33 0.25 7% 1%
Entire Building 18% 13%

Lighting System

It is proposed using sustainable design principles that electrical lighting is only used as an accompaniment to daylight when needed. An indirect lighting system proposed for implementation uses a high reflectance painted ceiling to achieve the design illumination of 30 to 35-foot candles (Kim 1998) on the office areas’ work plane.

There will also be installing task lighting, which gives individual control of the lighting level in the individual office spaces and work areas within the open office floors. Inverted industrial strip lights will be installed to provide the office space with a uniform appearance while also giving it an indirect light source that holds dimming electronic ballast efficiency. As discussed earlier, occupancy sensors will be installed in enclosed spaces to ensure that lighting energy is further reduced. It is proposed that lighting of 150 watts be reduced to 50 watts in light sensors (Emmanuel and Baker 2012), time clocks, exit switches within the property’s parking area to reduce the amount of night-time light pollution.

Energy Performance

The total building’s energy performance was simulated to obtain a base code, a code-compliant building model already in place, and the final design, which brought forward an estimated and actual metered energy use. The figures below illustrate the results of the simulation of energy and energy cost performance.

With the compliance of the sustainable design implemented into Unit 19 building on Liverpool Innovation Park, the building can reduce the use of energy by 57 percent, which is considered a remarkable and significant drop from about 65,800 kBTU/SF to 28,325 kBTU/SF (Kim 1998, Hatigay and Yu, 1993).

Furthermore, based on the hypothesized simulation of the sustainable designs, there is a reduction in energy cost from reducing energy use, which is directly proportionate to each other. Based on the figure below, there is an energy cost reduction of 54 percent after implementing the sustainable designs from £14,070 to £6,505. That is considered more than half of the energy budget being reduced (Finnegan and Ashall 2014).

Sample Masters Construction Coursework

Figure 3- Building Energy Performance based on Energy Use

Sample Masters Construction Coursework

Figure 4- Building Energy Performance in terms of Energy Cost

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Building Materials

Based on the research conducted for sustainable design principles, it is evident that Unit 19 can significantly benefit from renovation using sustainable design and green building methods. Based on the case study of Unit 19, it is obvious that the building is facing concrete repairs that cost up to £30,000.

The landlord can benefit from conducting concrete repairs using sustainable concrete (Hover et al., 2008). It is already evident that concrete in construction has resulted in a decrease of 7-10 percent of global CO2 emissions (Bejan 2015; Lemay et al. 2013). Therefore, mixed material recycling concrete should be used to stay with the idea and repair the existing concrete, including concrete mixed with either glass, wood chips, or slag (Lemay et al., 2013). The changes made to the concrete composition are not radical but simply mixing the materials that would have gone to waste further reduce the CO2 emissions associated with concrete (Bejan 2015).

There is also a need for many repairs on the exterior brickwork of the unit 19 building. Over time, many of the bricks on the building’s exterior have been worn, leaving gapping within the building. Therefore it is recommended to use the budget allotted for the brick repair of £40,000 to a more eco-friendly material.

The landlord can replace traditional brick with a brick material that is more environmentally sustainable from the start of its production. Ash Development is recommended to use bioMason’s’ bio brick product to repair and replace bricks on unit 19. According to Bejan (2015), over 1.23 trillion fired clay bricks are produced every year, resulting in 800 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere from burning fuel in the production of brick making.

bioMason has developed technology that uses bacteria to produce durable cement making it a green alternative to cement-based products traditionally used in construction (bioMason 2015).

Currently, the company produces materials at .22/standard brick units at a small volume scale (bioMason 2015). This green, environmentally friendly material can aid with the building’s repairs while also using sustainable products. It is also recommended that Ash Development focuses on replacing currently worn bricks in the building and further construction or extension on the building be completed with the bio brick. This will reduce the cost of repairs and ensure that less material is used in the building’s restoration and renovation, leading to less waste.


Summary: This section provides recommendations post-construction of the unit 19 building. It evaluates if the design proposed can achieve its goals and aims.

The renovated building develops a meaningful place that can provide the occupants more than basic business offices, conference, and training rooms. The renovated building using sustainable design principles can demonstrate the appropriate use of high-performance, energy-efficient, environmentally responsible office buildings.

This can be achieved even with the smallest of office building budgets. The integrated design can capture energy performance that may not become possible with traditional or conventional design approaches. Through the use of this sustainable design, the energy goals and design goals of the building are met, but they are exceeded. Using the measured energy performance results illustrated in the previous section, the energy goals developed for the building are achieved and become sustainable over time.

After renovations to the property on Liverpool Innovation Park, it is recommended that Ash Developments conduct a ”Post Occupancy Survey” POE Survey (See Appendix B). Using the POE Survey, the property and the design team’s landlord can assess the effectiveness of the renovations made to the building using the sustainable designs devised for the building Unit 19 (Enright 2002). The POE survey will highlight the building’s functionality after being occupied and used to its full potential.

According to Oseland (2007), the British Council for Offices (BCO) explains that the POE is a means to provide feedback on how successful the workplace environment is in supporting the occupying organization and individual end-user requirements for productivity. The POE is considered an evidence-based design process that provides insight into the design fit’s direct success in the project’s goals.

Ash Development’s use of the POE will allow them to obtain feedback from the building’s occupants through the survey and environmental monitoring to ensure that the energy-efficient design proposed decreases energy use and cost as projected (Preiser et al. 1988).

It is concluded that the implementation of sustainable design that has been proposed in the report is a viable investment to be made on unit 19. The building will be one of its kind, providing energy efficiency to organizations that occupy the building. This is a crucial point for organizations and companies that are looking to be environmentally and socially responsible.

Also, the cost they will be saving is an attractive point to many organizations, allowing them to put that money to other users, such as research and development or marketing. Not only is the use of sustainable designs viable in terms of providing a high return on investment, but it will also make Ash Developments a corporately responsible company. The proposed sustainable design is implementable to the existing building, and major renovations and construction are not needed to improve.


Bejan, A (2015) Sustainability: the water and energy problem, and the natural design solution. European Review, 23 (4), p. 481-488.

BioMason (2015) the bioBrick. [online] Available from <> [Accessed 4 March 2016].

Emmanuel, R and Baker, K (2012) Carbon Management in the Built Environment. Routledge

Enright, S (2002) Post-occupancy evaluation of public libraries. Library Quarterly, 12, p. 26-45.

Finnegan, S and Ashall, M (2014) The actual carbon cost of new sustainable technologies. RICS Construction Journal June/July 2014 p. 18 to 19.

Hartigay, S.E & Yu S.M (1993) Property Investment Decisions, Spons.

Hover, K C., Bickley, J, and Hooton, R D (2008) Guide to Specifying Concrete Performance Phase II Report of Preparation of a Performance-based Specification for Cast-In-Place-Concrete. RMC Research and Education Foundation, Silver Spring, MD.

Jennings, J.R. (1995) Accounting and Finance for Building & Surveying. Macmillan

Kim, J J, (1998) Introduction to sustainable design. National Pollution Prevention Center for Higher Education. The University of Michigan, p. 1 to 28.

Lemay, L, Lobo, C, and Obla, K. (2013) Sustainable concrete: The role of performance-based specifications. National Ready Mixed Concrete Association. [online] Available from [Accessed: 3rd March 2016].

McLennan, J F (2004) The Philosophy of Sustainable Design. John Wiley and Sons: NJ.

Oseland, N A (2007) British Council for Offices Guide to Post-Occupancy Evaluation. London: BCO

Pearce, A, Han Ahn, Y and HanmiGlobal (2012) Sustainable Buildings and Infrastructure – Paths to the future – Earthscan

Preiser, W F E, Rabinowitz, H Z, and White, E T (1988) Post Occupancy Evaluation. Nostrand Reinhold: New York.

RICS Professional Guidance Sustainability: improving performance in existing buildings. 1st Edition, Guidance Note GN 105/2013.

RICS Guidance Note- Environmental Impact Assessment.

Ryan, C (2006) Dematerializing consumption through service substitution is a design challenge. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 4(1), p. 3-6.

Shu-Yang, F, Freedman, B, and Cote, R (2004) Principles and practice of ecological design. Environmental Reviews, 12 (4), p. 97-112.

Appendix A

PowerPoint Presentation Slides

Appendix B

Post- Occupancy Evaluation Survey

Sample Masters Construction Coursework

Sample Masters Construction Coursework

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