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The Big 3 Forces Shaping Building Design
Canadian Property Management | November 16, 2022
Peter Machnee, MEng., P.Eng. | Regional Manager
As society evolves, codes change, and exterior forces like climate change and global economics impact the way buildings are designed and constructed, it’s critical to have an eye on current and future trends. While no one could have foreseen a years-long pandemic shuttering the world’s offices and storefronts, developers today are well-aware that anything is possible. Meanwhile, climate change has increased the likelihood that a major weather event could strike at any moment, whether you live in PEI, Ontario, or BC. Factoring in these once “doomsday-esq” considerations has become central to a building’s ability to stand the test of time.
So, what are the “Big 3 Forces” currently shaping building design? Peter Machnee, Regional Manager, RJC Engineers, gives us his expert opinion:
- Zero Carbon
Infinitely better for the environment, zero carbon buildings are highly energy-efficient compared to traditional buildings. The Government of Canada has committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050, meaning all developments must emit no greenhouse gas emissions or offset its emissions through actions such as employing technologies that capture carbon.
“Sustainability and zero carbon are the topics du jour, and structural engineering hasn’t been immune,” Machnee says. “Leading institutions such as the Institution of Structural Engineers and the Structural Engineering Institute have both been raising awareness of structural engineers’ role in achieving goals like net zero by 2050. We have seen a keen interest by developers to pursue mass-timber projects, which typically have smaller carbon footprints than more traditional structures constructed with steel and concrete.”
Affordability has never been more important than it is today in the aftermath of the pandemic as interest rates rise and supply chain issues and labour shortages add additional challenges to the construction process. Thankfully, technology and innovation are bringing new solutions to the table that weren’t available until recently.