As part of our ongoing commitment to sustainable design, we have been carrying out research into factors behind the efficiency of our structural designs, how they can be measured and what we can do to improve them. Crucially, we are also investigating how these factors influence the relative cost and embodied carbon of the structure.
In 2016, as part of a consortium with the University of Cambridge, William Hare and the Steel Construction Institute we secured a grant from Innovate UK to initially focus research into the efficiency of steel framed buildings. This research resulted in the basis of our ‘Parametric Analysis and Numerical Design Assessment’ (PANDA) tool to assess steel frames.
In 2018, alongside the University of Cambridge, we secured further funding to develop this into a fully working software package. This will assess steel, concrete and timber framing options & their foundations against embodied carbon and monetary cost.
This software will allow our engineers to rapidly assess a wide variety of variables and determine in a matter of minutes the relative financial and embodied carbon costs of hundreds of different grids, framing and floor options. Unlike other tools, this performs a full Eurocode design to all structural elements including foundations, ensuring that the output is a benchmark that is both structurally viable and customised to the specific site requirements.
When complete, we will be able to use the tool at concept and early stages to ensure that the design team is starting from a point that is as efficient as possible, with the ability to quickly quantify the impact of decisions throughout the process. Due to its speed it could also be used at a later stage of a project, for example by tenderers to consider alternative design options at tender.
We will soon be ready to present the Innovate UK tool, to showcase its uses and the benefits offered to designers and clients. After which, we would welcome designs to further test the software and then host workshops at our London office to discuss the results.
If you are interested in hearing more or participating in a workshop, please contact Ben Gholam: firstname.lastname@example.org