This report will clearly
explain the difference between residential, commercial and industrial
buildings, how functional characteristics affect the design for a given
building, how the building can be made more sustainable in terms of the
products used to prevent material depletion and then evaluate how the
functional characteristics impact the eventual design solution.
1. Residential – Residential buildings are designed for people to live
in and have different types of rooms to accommodate the needs of people living
in them, residential buildings can be terraced houses, semidetached, detached
or in larger blocks such as a duplex, flats or apartment blocks, these are
multi storied blocks that house a higher number of people and conform to
slightly different regulations than single buildings due to the amount of
people in them. A building will be known as residential if over fifty percent
of the floor surface is to be used for dwelling purposes (OECD), if this is not
the case then the building will be a non-residential building i.e. commercial/industrial.
The most common building used for residential housing are low rise blocks that
consist of a ground floor and a first floor, these are ideal for families to
live in as they provide enough space to live comfortably without too much
1.1. Commercial – Commercial
buildings are buildings that are used for business purposes, commercial use and
retail use. Commercial buildings are places of work for the clear majority of
people in the UK with the main type of commercial building being an office
block, other types of commercial buildings are shops and shopping centres
although they are more for retail use they are still commercial buildings,
warehouses although generally an industrial building can still fall in to the
commercial side depending on what they are used for. We often see commercial
buildings mixed with residential buildings in areas around town centres or so
called urban areas, this type of building may have a shop or some other
business on the ground floor with residential housing on the floors above.
Commercial buildings are where most people will spend most of their hours
during the day due to working hours.
1.2. Industrial – Warehouses,
plants i.e. steel plant, rubbish tips and factories are all classed as Industrial
buildings, these buildings are large buildings with large open spaces to
accommodate things such as the storage of materials and large equipment/machine
usage. Like commercial buildings industrial units are places of work for people
unlike residential buildings, these buildings are often located on the
outskirts of towns and city’s due to the amount of transport and pollution
created. Industrial units are often used for the manufacturing of products,
distribution centres for storing materials/products for companies, creating power
such as gas and electric and other related industrial uses, these types of
building are the least attractive out of the three types of building as they
are generally constructed with large panels in dull colours as they are cheap
and do not have residents near bye.
2. When a
designer is given info on what sort of build the customer requires the word
residential, commercial or industrial alone tells the designer what codes and
regulations they have to use, the main function of any of these buildings is to
provide protection from the outer elements i.e. weather.
builds use different materials the type of building and its functional and performance requirements will affect the design process from
start to finish, for instance residential and industrial buildings are two very
different buildings and have totally different requirements to each other, the
residential building is to be a family home so needs to have small comfy rooms
so that you can relax and spend some quality time whereas the industrial
building will be used as a working building that will consist of very large
open spaces that are used for storage or large noisy machinery meaning that
there will be no comfort or relaxation areas as it is a work place.
Although the buildings are on
the complete other end of the scale to each other and have different
requirements in terms of their usage they still need the same functional
requirements all be it slightly different.
Both buildings need to be –
Strong enough to support itself and the loads
Sheltered to stop weather such as rain, snow
Secure enough to stop intruders.
Durable and adaptable in case any changes or
extensions to the building are needed.
The overall goal is to achieve
these functions in an economical, safe and timely fashion using the most
appropriate resources available and with minimal negative impact on the
environment (Function and Performance).These functional requirements are the
main requirements for a building however the designer cannot determine how to
design these until all the relevant site investigations have been done and the
results have been completed, once all the surveys have been completed the
designer can then determine the type of foundation/sub-structure to be used
with the correct dimensions for the ground type, this is crucial as the
foundations will be taking the whole weight of the structure so need to be
strong enough to take the load.
The type of building that is
being built will also determine what foundations to use, a low rise residential
property will generally have a strip foundation or maybe a raft foundation if
the ground is too bad for a strip foundation, an industrial building will
generally have pad foundations as most industrial units are made from a steel skeleton
frame where the loads are transferred to vertical steels supporting the
Once the base has been
established the designer can then look on what type of build to use i.e.
traditional build, timber frame, steel frame or concrete frame this again will
change depending on the type of building i.e. residential will be traditional,
timber for low rise or concrete for high rise blocks and industrial will be
steel framed. Designers will also need to look at the buildings around the
proposed build area to see what how the other buildings have been built, this
is so that the new build matches what is surrounding it so that it does not
change the layout of the area.
The process then follows on
from itself, once the build has been designed then the roof will follow on
along with the windows doors and the internal requirements which will follow
the relevant legislations in order to comply with building regulations.
and non-loadbearing – Industrial units consist of large open spaces and large
openings for large transporting vehicles. Industrial units are steel framed to
allow for the large spans needed, horizontal beams transfer the loads to
vertical columns that support the building and give it it’s structural stability.
Internal walls that form rooms such as offices, canteens and toilets are
non-loadbearing and only built to form a room and not support any loads above.
Movement and thermal expansion
– Thermal expansion is caused when materials expand in heat and then shrink in
the cold causing cracks generally in brick buildings, industrial units consist
of steel frames with some sort of clad panel system. These panels do not
generally have expansion from the weather so do not have expansion joints,
sometimes an expansion joint is put in where the walls meet the roof, but this
is more to do with any movement caused by high winds.
Durability – An industrial
unit is a building where a lot of heavy duty activity happens so the building
needs to be suitable for those requirements, things such as hard-wearing
flooring, adequate open space, sufficient docking bays/openings are a few
things that contribute to the buildings durability.
Weather and moisture
resistance – Every building that is built needs to be water proof, so an
adequate shell is needed, industrial units are generally built with large clad
or sheet metal panels and have large shallow sloping dual pitched roofs, these
panels need to be fastened down correctly and sealed where necessary, they also
have sky lights built in to the roof to allow for natural lighting which also
need to be adequately sealed in order to stop water penetration. Industrial
units also need to be sufficiently ventilated to stop moisture from
condensation due to the amount of people that work in them, this can be
achieved by having extractor fans and ventilation vents to allow the moisture
to exit the building.
Fire resistance – The good
thing with most of the materials used to form the structure of an industrial
building are that they are either fire proof or fire resistant, materials such
as steel as used in the frame and concrete as used in the floor are great fire
proof materials, clad systems are also fire retardant depending on which type
you go for and how much you are willing to spend on them. Other fire
preventative measures will be added to these materials such as fire proof
coatings/paints. The rest of the building like the office space and welfare
areas will be built to the fire proof building regs where they must have a sufficient
fire escape access, again use products that have good fire-retardant
properties, fire alarms and fire extinguishers, they may also have a sprinkler
system installed if the customer requests it.
Sound insulation – Industrial
units can have a lot of noisy work going on inside but the building itself is
very hard to sound proof, these units are built in such a way that they only
have an outer skin on the external walls so you only have the thickness of what
ever type of cladding system as sound proofing, this still acts as some
protection but its not the best, industrial units are situated in industrial
areas so the need for sound insulation is not as great as the need in
residential buildings, all the buildings around are all being used for similar
activities and are generally spaced out very well so that any noise generally
does not affect other units. Internal offices and welfare units can be sound
insulated like normal and keeping them as far away from the main works as
possible will reduce noise even more.
Resistance to heat loss and
thermal transmission – This is similar to noise insulation; these types of
buildings are so big that they are very hard to keep warm, also the fact that
they have large door openings and docking bays for deliveries and collections
allowing heat to escape quickly and from lots of exits makes it near impossible
to heat in the colder months how-ever in the summer months these buildings get
extremely hot due to their greenhouse like comparisons. The materials used in
the build haven’t got great thermal values either but using better valued
product would also be a waste of time as it would make hardly any difference
due to the size of the building. Again, like the sound insulation the office
space and welfare area can be insulated properly and use the relevant
heating/cooling system, they are also smaller rooms so are much easier to keep
Dimensional co-ordination – Dimensional
coordination in industrial units is pretty easy to achieve, these units are
very similar to each other, so the materials can be made to standard sizes at
mass to accommodate the requirements, as most units are steel framed bay
sizes/widths are generally kept the same this is so that manufacturers can mass
produce these products rather than have to make to measure every job.
Sustainability and scarcity of
availability – Industrial buildings are very sustainable buildings “most” of
the products used have low embodied energy, are quick and easy to install and
are readily available. Most of the products used can be bought straight from
the shelf in builder’s merchants, other materials such as the steel, concrete
and clad panels can all be ordered and delivered within a few days even next
day in some cases, these products are now in that high demand due to the amount
of construction work happening that manufacturers are mass producing these
products to cope with the high demands.
On-site and off-site
construction – Unfortunately due to the large size of the buildings off site
construction is pretty limited, although all the materials are manufactured off
site there is no area to make prefabricated items such as walls to speed up the
process, but in saying that the external shell of an industrial building goes
up very quickly itself therefore sort of eliminating the need for prefabbed
Legal requirements – All
buildings including industrial buildings must comply with the relevant legal
requirements and regulations, firstly the building must be approved for
planning permission before any work is started, the designer must also follow
certain regulations such as BREEAM. During the construction phase the build
will be constantly monitored by the building regulator to ensure all work is
completed to the current regulations, once the build meets all the relevant
criteria then it can be signed off and handed over to the client.
Health and safety – Health and
safety is another legal requirement that needs to be looked at in depth and
enforced, every person on a site is responsible for theirs and others health
and safety, like a building inspector there is also a health and safety
inspector that visits through out the build, if an inspector sees any breaches
in health and safety he will act in a way that he deems appropriate, this could
be any thing from putting a sign up, getting someone to work in a more
appropriate way or by shutting the whole site down. Site shut downs will
generally come from major safety breaches such as major accidents, any site
shut down will have a negative impact on the project by delaying it which in
turn may mean extra men and hours will be needed to make the time back, this
will then have an effect on the environment with the increased noise for longer
Buildability – As repeated
earlier Industrial units are very easy to build, as little as three men can
build the frame that’s 1 crane driver to lift the steel and 2 operatives in
mobile elevated platforms to fix the steels in place, the external finish can
also be completed with a low amount of labour but obviously this is set by the
time scale for completion. In general, industrial units are probably the most
easy and sustainable buildings to build out of the three buildings as described
Sustainability should be one of the main
priorities when designing a building and also during the construction of a
building, the fact that we are consuming so much,
and so quickly, that we are already living far beyond the earth’s capacity to
support us (www.sustainability.com,2016) should be a major wakeup call for everyone in the
industry. So, what does sustainability mean? The dictionary says the quality
of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and
thereby supporting long-term ecological balance (www.dictionary.com, 2016)
The four main contributors
to the earths damage are –
Over extraction of
Unfortunately, we have no
control over industrial agriculture as a designer however we can reduce the
damage caused by transport, global warming and resource extraction with careful
planning and consideration for the materials and processes used in our design. At
this minute in time we are currently using more materials than we can keep up
with resulting in resource depletion this is down to bad planning and a total
lack of care for the effects this is having on the environment.
During the design stage, a
buildings whole life cycle needs to be looked at, this means we need to look at
how the materials are extracted, manufactured, constructed, use once complete
and the possible demolition of a building, all of this is classed as the
buildings life cycle also known as cradle to grave.
(cement concrete and aggregate)
Looking at a buildings life
cycle we can look at a number of things to create a more sustainable structure
Firstly, we can look at our
material choices, can we use materials whose extraction and manufacturing
process is less damaging to the environment than others, i.e. brick over timber
as timbers embodied energy is less.
Pre-fabricated panels are a
good sustainable product, they are manufactured in a warehouse to fit the
relevant sizes which in tale reduces the time spent on site, these panels are
easily and quickly installed to form the frame of the building, they can also
be made with insulation and windows already installed again saving time on
site. Once the panels are installed the external finish needs to be added.
Building position and the
use of natural resource such as the sun can aid with sustainability, having a
North facing building will aid with heat from the sun meaning that less energy
will be used from heating, it will also aid with light as the sun will provide
natural light rather than using artificial lighting.
(Paul Mcalister architects and energy consultants 2016)
These are a few things that
can be done at a design stage to aid with sustainability however designers will
follow the guidelines as set out in BREEAM in order to complete a design.
Construction teams can also
play a big part in sustainability during the build by doing things like –
Using locally sourced
materials so that transport emissions are kept to a minimum.
Using locally sourced
tradesman again to keep transport emissions down.
Recycling and disposing
materials correctly so that they can be re-used if possible.
Quality over quantity, make
sure all jobs are done correctly first time so that they do not need to be
redone using more products.
Any spare materials are
used on future jobs rather than thrown away.
These are just a few
considerations to think of when planning a building, if all of these
considerations plus the many others there are then there is no reason to not
create a sustainable building that uses low embodied energy.
Glossary of statistical terms.
Available from: https://stats.oecd.org/glossary/detail.asp?ID=2326 Accessed
03 January 2018.
Barry, R. (2005) Barry’s
introduction to construction of buildings: the construction of buildings
by Robin Barry. 2nd ed. Oxford; Malden, MA: Blackwell
Sustainability. Available from: www.sustainability.com Accessed 08 January 2018.
Sustainability meaning. Available from: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/sustainability?s=t Accessed 08 January 2018.
Life cycle assessment. Available
from: http://22.214.171.124/LCA/lca/lca.php Accessed 09 January 2018.
Embodied energy of materials Jan
2016. Available from:http://www.pmcarchitects.com/blog/embodied-energy-of-materials/
Accessed 09 January 2018.