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Ethical challenges: the conflict between design brief and sustainable principles

Dated: 4 September 2012

Hi All! I am going to use today’s post as a learning session. In my previous post i mentioned taking part in the ICE Apprentice competition. It required writing essay on the subject of ethical challenges. I wrote the following. I am willing to learn so please read and share your opinion about the subject..i mentioned taking part in the ICE Apprentice competition. It required writing essay on the subject of ethical challenges. I wrote the following. I am willing to learn so please read and share your opinion about the subject.

 

Ethical challenges: the conflict between design brief and sustainable principles

 

Rapid transition from rural to urban habitat demands modern cities that can fulfill the most complex manifestation of human activities – in commerce, finance, service industries and cultural enterprises. Factors as such define client’s requirements including expectations of high living standards, financial growth, space utilisation and aesthetics.

 

Whether to include sustainable principles or not and the extent of its application tends to vary between sectors, depending on the investors’ priorities. E.g. private owners dictate their requirements depending on their budgets and planning constraints whereas, public sector shows wider interest in both capital investment and whole-life costs. In contrast a developer’s attitude is driven by the expectations of their target market demanding flexibility for alterations by its occupants leading to uncertainty in effectiveness of sustainable design. Therefore, the need to incorporate and appreciate sustainable principles within the design brief can never be overemphasised.private owners dictate their requirements depending on their budgets and planning constraints whereas, public sector shows wider interest in both capital investment and whole-life costs. In contrast a developer’s attitude is driven by the expectations of their target market demanding flexibility for alterations by its occupants leading to uncertainty in effectiveness of sustainable design. Therefore, the need to incorporate and appreciate sustainable principles within the design brief can never be overemphasised.private owners dictate their requirements depending on their budgets and planning constraints whereas, public sector shows wider interest in both capital investment and whole-life costs. In contrast a developer’s attitude is driven by the expectations of their target market demanding flexibility for alterations by its occupants leading to uncertainty in effectiveness of sustainable design. Therefore, the need to incorporate and appreciate sustainable principles within the design brief can never be overemphasised.private owners dictate their requirements depending on their budgets and planning constraints whereas, public sector shows wider interest in both capital investment and whole-life costs. In contrast a developer’s attitude is driven by the expectations of their target market demanding flexibility for alterations by its occupants leading to uncertainty in effectiveness of sustainable design. Therefore, the need to incorporate and appreciate sustainable principles within the design brief can never be overemphasised.private owners dictate their requirements depending on their budgets and planning constraints whereas, public sector shows wider interest in both capital investment and whole-life costs. In contrast a developer’s attitude is driven by the expectations of their target market demanding flexibility for alterations by its occupants leading to uncertainty in effectiveness of sustainable design. Therefore, the need to incorporate and appreciate sustainable principles within the design brief can never be overemphasised.

 

Sustainability principles such as Eco-design, green buildings and triple bottom line, which were merely catchy phrases, have now been developed into integrated strategic framework in order to lessen the strain on the world’s natural resources. These needs have also been identified at national and corporate levels in form of “Securing the future – the UK Sustainable Development Strategy” and “Corporate Citizenship” respectively, ensuring the establishment of benchmarks for values and policies. However, can it be assumed that the current guidelines and regulations are sufficient or do we need a more thorough approach to ensure that an ethically responsible decision is made during the design process? Is there a scope for shifting design focus to embrace ethical standard of care?

 

A design brief often conflicts with the sustainable principles when the criteria are to be justified solely against economic factors. Also, codes, regulations and guidance in their current form simply provide minimal criteria. Therefore an ethical responsibility from a designer’s perspective becomes core for engineering design solutions to achieve a balance between the two. A holistic approach should be adopted to ensure economic prosperity, environmental stewardship and social responsibility. When responding to the call for sustainable development, designers should opt out costly technological features with creative smart solutions. E.g. inclusion of sensible choice of construction methodologies, responsible sourcing of the materials, utilising material properties (exposed concrete soffits), mass design, renewable energy resources (daylight, natural ventilation), passive design methods, etc. have the tendency to eliminate negative environmental impacts simply through skilful sensitive design. Where the investors are keen to explore innovative long-terms solutions, decisions should be made through considerate evaluation and optimisation of systems in order to minimise possible financial risks emerging due to departure from traditional mode of practice.

 

It can be assumed that advancement in technology along with a greater availability of durable environmental materials will lower the capital cost of sustainable elements encouraging Eco-efficient designs in the future. Design for Sustainability strategies (DfS) and codes should be interlinked with more stringent regulations introducing penalties and promoting forms of incentives such as lower taxes to enforce sustainable action in design. Otherwise, in the foreseeable future, these principles will remain largely in conflict with design due to economic constraints.design due to economic constraints.design due to economic constraints.

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This entry was posted on April 19, 2014 by .

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