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British Contemporary Construction Industry - Essay Example

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In the U.K. there are estimated to be 500,000 inhabited earth buildings. Earth was the principal material used in U.K construction until the 18th century and Scotland retains a rich heritage of earth construction with much regional variety. Many surviving buildings are not recognised as being of earth construction and much work has been done on this in recent years by Historic U.K and others.(
In the United Kingdom today copper is a popular material used for facades, roofs and other external building elements on some of the most exciting modern designs. But this has not always been so. Historically, copper roofs several hundred years old can be seen on many British city skylines, although usually limited to churches, civic buildings and other important structures. During the twentieth century, copper roofs became more widely used for ordinary buildings - although many were of little architectural quality. Unfortunately, poor detailed design and installation techniques resulted in technical failures and the material fell out of fashion until the 1980s. Then, the copper industry introduced modern installation techniques to the UK - including the long-strip method - and launched a promotional campaign to make architects aware of copper as a thoroughly modern architectural material. This 'Copper in Architecture' campaign continues today.(Article by Tom Woolley in Sustain magazine, vol 3 no 3)
It highlights the ability for copper sheets to be easily formed to suit any three-dimensional shape, making it a suitable weatherproof covering for virtually any external surface including roofs of all pitches, vertical cladding, gutters, soffits and even sculptural elements. Architects now recognise that it is one of the few materials that can offer complete material continuity and real freedom of form in architectural design.
Copper's natural development of a patina, with colours changing from bright copper to chocolate brown and eventually to the distinctive blue-green, is one of the unique characteristics making it popular with British architects. This patina can take years to develop and in some circumstances may never appear at all - for example on vertical surfaces. So, one of the most popular recent innovations has been the development of patination treatments to provide a green, textured surface straightaway, similar to the natural patina which gradually develops in the open. Pre-oxidised copper sheets are also available with a darker colour than the bright, mill-finished copper - concealing hand marks or other blemishes that can affect bright copper for a short time after installation. Apart from its inspirational design potential, British architects are also Collective professional bodies were first organised in Britain in the 19th century in response to an increasingly complex, industrialising world. These bodies began to establish a codified corpus of knowledge and methods of practice for each discipline. In architecture it also involved an assumption of the role of protecting the building client and the title and status of architect. These processes became enshrined in statute in the 1930s. The education of architects at the time was ad hoc, and largely took the form of ...Show more


Constructability is one of the many performance attributes that must be considered during the design process for a building or other constructed facility. Constructability must be analyzed along with all other attributes such as: Structural strength and stability, Level of complexity of structural assembly, Cost of labor, materials and equipment, Lighting performance, Acoustic performance, Maintainability, Durability, Ease of facility operation and others…
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British Contemporary Construction Industry
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