ESSAY WRITING CLUB Technical Papers Alternative Construction Methods

Alternative Construction Methods


QUESTION P1: Explore how the construction industry has an impact on the built environment

Introduction – Built environment when used in engineering may refer to all man-made structures, features, and facilities viewed collectively as an environment in which people live and work. However, while it may be taken to refer to tangible component of environment; it is not limited as it comprises all essential abstract component like air quality, water composition, active soil erosion and siltation which results directly as a byproduct of human action.  Construction being a major action of human civilization may have the following impact on built environment;


Beautification- construction of buildings, waterways, roads and ports help redefine the physical appearance of a place bringing in the aspect of aesthetic in our surrounding, various construction projects like inland artificial coasts, beaches, aquarium and mountain malls brings in a cool view which helps turn normal landscape to an even superior look beautifying our built environment.

Air quality -Various construction types utilize heavy machinery especially in road construction. Many of these machines have long operational lives, meaning they are not regularly updated. Depending on state regulations, most of this machinery lacks emissions standards, meaning greenhouse gases are not measured. In addition, environmental disturbances due to use of certain materials like cement also contribute to poor air quality.

While the effect of this emissions and toxic building materials are more long-lived others like asbestos present in furnishings and finishes are immediate. For example, nitrogen oxides may cause temporary smog during a construction period. While this may eventually lift, higher levels of particulate matter can lead to cancer, heart and lung disease, and asthma in nearby communities.

Water Pollution-Land is often cleared for new construction especially in dams, roads and ports, the damage goes below surface level. If any body of water is present at the site, rerouting or damming the waterway can have a huge impact on the surrounding area. One of the biggest problems with construction is sediment that pollutes waterways affecting drinkable water sources and fisheries, and plays a role in potential flooding issues.

Other than sediments, chemicals, oil, paint and debris are also substances that come from construction sites which further pollutes the quality of ground water, which is more difficult to treat than surface water and which relied upon by Many communities.

Habitat loss -Most African country are environmental conservative, however with new Construction a substantial size of natural ecosystems is lost example being the standard gauge railway of Kenya that passed through maasai mara national park. Habitat loss may come in many forms, and an area does not necessarily need to be completely destroyed to feel lasting impacts. This also includes habitat fragmentation and degradation. In fragmentation wildlife are divided by roads and development. Destruction, fragmentation and degradation all leave irreparable marks on the land, making it of utmost importance to consider wildlife before beginning a new project. When beginning a new construction project, companies should implement practices that prevent disturbances to wildlife by identifying vulnerable species, key habitats and effects on migratory birds.

Climate change -The construction industry brings about infrastructure, infrastructure brings about industrialization, manufacturing and processing of more construction materials which plays a central role in climate change. This is partially due to how extensive the industry is, and the many aspects that it encompasses. For instance, the mining of resources for buildings, the manufacturing of goods for furnishing, and the electricity and heat used are all major factors. However, having a vital role in the problem presents an opportunity. The sector can be a key player in the solution to mitigating climate change and building more resiliently.

Landfill waste- With new designs and architecture construction trash increases annually becoming one of the top contributors to industrial waste as demolition projects becomes more accounting for nearly 90% of that amount.

Since most materials used in projects are never reused the amount of construction waste including plastic, metal, wood, concrete and gypsum becomes almost impossible to visualize the number of buildings that are demolished globally continues to grow.



QUESTION P2: Examine how social and economic factors have an effect on the construction industry.

Introduction: social and economic factors are generally the predisposing factors that makes growth susceptible to failure or success. While it may be hypothetically possible to separate social from economic factors; the interrelationship between the two makes it harder to distinguish which is more important.  Construction industry thrives only if there is a need (social desire for amenity) and the capital (economic enabler); making it highly dependent on social and economic factors. The following social-economic factors therefore have great effect on the construction industry;


Level of Education – In the most obvious way, educational levels influence economic status, as higher paying jobs tend to require advanced or specialized education. Education, however, also determines social status and allows people to trust those who are educated in their fields of employment. this impacts the construction industry since it is intellectually critical fields. The higher the education level the more the need for advanced structures and social amenities hence the more the growth in construction industry. Also availability of cheap skilled labor creates an appetite for more constructions.

Income and Assets – Net income is a direct contributor to what a single person or family can afford to spend. Income determines neighborhood choices and living conditions. It is often the deciding factor in higher educational pursuits. In a society where there is a good income more quality construction are likely to happen, also the local government is also likely to impose more building regulation which encourages more advanced building techniques and technologies research leading a further growth in construction industry.

Health and Lifestyle – Health status is a definite measurement of socio-economic status. Poor health, whether brought on by genetic predispositions, accidents or lifestyle choices, is able to render a person/society stagnant. Illness can hinder progress in terms of education and employment options. This circles around a person financial power which may lead to many unnatural termination of construction project as sick developer is trying to safe costs for medication. In contrast ill health especially universal pandemic may steer constructions of more hospital, warehouses and water networks as government tries to contain the illness thus promoting the need more advanced and easy construction techniques (example being emergency hospitals built during covid 19 pandemic)

Quality of Neighborhoods/ local culture – this will more likely affect the methodologies and technology used in construction which will definitely affect the quality, feasibility and sustainability of various constructions. For example, in Africa most building used to traditionally have a thatched roof, since this was practiced for a long time, even after post-colonial error and new technology was spread all over, most people still build thatched roofs with major tourist hotels using the same material for roofing. This may create a local problem as new construction roofing materials and technologies face a local cultural problem with acceptance by communities like the plain and highlands nilotes of Africa.

Human settlement – most construction works are done by federal governments especially works involving connectivity to social networks in water sector(pipelines), transport sector (ports, roads, rail and air strips), heavy infrastructure (administration offices, hospitals, academic institutions) etc. however all these facilities are done for the greater benefit of the society which implies that they are more likely to be done in areas where there are more settlements since they will serve more people for the same cost which makes them more feasible. There settlement is known to attract more construction works, hence with more decentralization of population from urban areas due to congestion to peri-urban areas more construction works will happen in areas in the periphery where there were no previous settlements

Mining/ manufacturing – with advance in technology and the scattered distribution of newly discovered minerals, the need for construction (infrastructural development) continues to grow to ensure connectivity to mines, processing industry and the market. This opens up more areas to construction, encouraging more settlement which creates an even higher need for social amenities (roads, hospital, water, security posts) etc. which all round off to a growth in construction industry.



QUESTION M1 Assess how effective government targets and national statistics have been on environmental protection

Introduction: Management of environment is possible only through concerted efforts of all the components of society such as government and non-governmental organization, industrialists, agriculturists, voluntary social welfare organizations as well as the general public. The final controlling authority in most of the issues related to environmental management is the government itself as follows. Point 1 (Conducting an EIA on all construction projects) the government entrusts the Ministry of Environment and forests to plan, protect and coordinate all of environment and forestry programmes. The Ministry is involved in conservation and survey of flora, fauna, forests and wildlife, prevention and control of pollution, afforestation, regeneration of degraded areas and protection of overall environment. To accomplish these tasks, the Ministry undertakes various measures. One of these takes is the assessment of environmental impact prior to implementing any project, which cane damaged environment. For example, if a dam has to be built on a river, assessment is made as to the type of environmental problems that the dam will cause when built. Point 2 (setting up boards for implementing various pollution control measures) There may be many kinds of environmental problems like saltation of the reservoir, water logging in the area, submerging of forests, displacement of the population, etc. all which can happen due construction vast mega structures like dams, railway lines and roads. To ensure such things don’t happen or are mitigated the government have installed agency/ boards like Central and State Pollution Control Boards to ensure designers have curative measures for every danger they pose to the environment. Point 3 (setting standards for industrial discharges) -the government through the ministry have set standards for discharges into air, water and soil by different industries. Noise is also considered to be a pollutant and standards have been fixed for permissible limits of noise.  Point 4 (conducting extension training and education on importance of clean environment)- in addition, the government through the Ministry undertakes eco-regeneration programmes, provides assistance to organizations implementing environmental and forestry programmes, promotes research related to environment and forestry and implements programmes concerning extension, education and training.



QUESTION P3: Examine the development of alternative construction methods using historic precedents

Introduction: historical trends about growth and development of construction industry may be hard to trace as it dates back to human civilization and different places evolved differently in how they did their dwellings, however, according to an article written in university of Greenwich UK the following summery can be made;


Construction generally refers to the techniques and industry involved in the assembly and erection of structures, primarily those used to provide shelter.

It is an ancient human activity which began with the purely functional need for a controlled environment to moderate the effects of climate. Constructed shelters were one means by which human beings were able to adapt themselves to a wide variety of climates and become a global species.

Human shelters were at first very simple and perhaps lasted only a few days or months. Overtime, however, even temporary structures evolved into such highly refined forms as the igloo (usually dome-shaped dwelling of arctic regions that is usually made of blocks of snow or ice when built for temporary purposes or of sod, wood, or stone when permanent and that is typically associated with the indigenous Inuit, Inupiat, and Yupik peoples of Canada, Greenland, Alaska, and eastern Siberia).

Gradually more durable structures began to appear, particularly after the advent of agriculture when people began to stay in one place for long periods. The first shelters were dwellings, but later other functions, such as food storage and ceremony, were housed in separate buildings.

Some structures began to have symbolic as well as functional value, marking the beginning of the distinction between architecture and building. The present state of construction is complex. There is a wide range of building products and systems which are aimed primarily at groups of building types or markets.

The design process for buildings is highly organized and draws upon research establishments that study material properties and performance, code officials who adopt and enforce safety standard

Construction today is a significant part of industrial culture, a manifestation of its diversity and complexity and a measure of its mastery of natural forces, which can produce a widely varied built environment to serve the diverse needs of society.

Evidence of composite construction of clay and wood, wattle-and-daub method, is also found in Europe and the Middle East. The walls were made of small saplings or reeds, which were easy to cut with stone tools. They were driven into the ground, tied together laterally with vegetable fibers, and then plastered over with wet clay to give added rigidity and weather proofing.

It was from the Etruscans, who lived in the northern part of Italy, that the Romans derived much of their early building technology. The Etruscans, probably influenced by a few rare Greek examples in southern Italy, developed the true arch in stone.

A late specimen of the 3rd century BCE is the Porta Marzia, an arched city gateway with a span of about 6 meters (20 feet), in Perugia. The Etruscans also had a highly developed terra-cotta technology and made excellent fired bricks. This approach arguably provides benefits by speeding up delivery, reducing labor costs, eliminating unnecessary waste and improving quality.

Modern methods of construction employ innovative practices such as: Creating paneled units in factories, which can be quickly assembled on site to create 3D structures.




QUESTION P4: Explore alternative construction methods which can be used for commercial or domestic use.

Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs)- these are a high-performance building system for residential and light commercial construction. The panels consist of an insulating foam core sandwiched between two structural facings, typically oriented strand board (OSB).  SIPs are manufactured under factory controlled conditions and can be fabricated to fit nearly any building design. The result is a building system that is extremely strong, energy-efficient and cost-effective.

Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs)- these are two foam panels connected by plastic webs or ties that join the panels, provide placement options for securing rebar, and form insulated studs every 6″. Filled with concrete and left in place they provide extremely high-density insulation and air-tight sound-proof walls that are resist high-wind speed and other natural disasters while reducing energy use by more than 60%. ICFs is designed to create the strongest structure .

Steel Metal Buildings: Those are usually kit homes where one chooses or creates their own plan, send it to a fabricating company that cuts the frame of the house from steel in the factory according to the plan. Then the cut steel is delivered together with all the required hardware and the builders start to erect the frame over its foundation. The idea is much like that of a regular stick built home. Where one will need to install the frame, add siding of their choice, insulation, sheetrock on the inside and so on, but instead of the frame being wood it’s made of steel.

Precast Concrete –  It starts with a design. The company sends their clients design to the factory where precast, insulated wall panels are made from concrete. Windows and doors openings are also made in the factory and the walls don’t need additional insulation, and installation is very fast. Precast concrete walls are great for basements and provide a very solid foundation for the rest of the house. However, they can only go as high as two floors above ground.

Straw bale Homes – There are two ways to construct a straw bale home. One is to build a frame from wood and fill in between with straw bales, the second is where the straw bales support the weight of the roof and there is no additional frame. Straw bale homes are very environmentally friendly, insulation is very good because of the thick walls, and rooms are very sound proof.

Cob Homes – Cob is the product of earth mixed with straw, sand, and water. The ingredients are mixed by hand (or feet) and lumps of mixed earth are used to sculpt the house. Basically, a house of mud. This building method is very old. Cob homes stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Since the building process is pretty much like sculpting in clay, you can be very creative in your design also cob homes are very environmentally friendly and can be designed to fit and be a part of its surrounding environment.

Adobe Homes – Adobe is homemade bricks which although a very ancient building method it is very environmentally friendly. Dirt and clay (and sometimes other materials like straw and sand) are mixed together and moistened. The mixture is poured into molds, usually in the shape of bricks, and then is left to dry. The dry bricks are stacked on top of each other to form walls.

Rammed Earth Homes – Rammed earth homes are homes made of a mixture of earth, just like cob and adobe homes, however, here one builds a wall frame from wood, then pours and rams the mix into the frame, leave it to dry and remove the frame. Like cob and adobe, rammed earth homes are fireproof and termite proof. They stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter. They last for hundreds of years, the walls are thick and very strong.

Earthship Homes – Earthship homes are comprised of recycled materials. Bottles, cans, tires filled with dirt, wood, glass etc. these materials are combined together to form a house that is a part of the earth.

Earthbag Homes- in this method, polypropylene sacks are filled with a mixture of sand and clay and are stacked on top of each other (with barbed wire between each layer) to form walls. They are then wrapped in chicken wire and covered with mortar.

Cordwood Homes- Cordwood homes are built by stacking firewood logs or split logs on top of each other between a pre-built wood frame. The logs are held together by a mixture of cement, sand, lime, and sawdust.

Shipping Container Homes- homes are built by recycling old shipping containers. The containers are stacked or placed next to each other (or both) on a pre-built foundation, depending on the design. Openings for windows and doors are cut, the inside is framed with wood, insulated, and dry walled.



QUESTION M2 Compare alternative construction methods in terms of effectiveness, cost and performance

In this comparison, the rating is given as either (Y) to mean yes or (N) to mean not really advantageous over other convectional means or (Y/N) to mean it depends on building size and availability of fixtures not just the material. At the end, a justification is given only if the method has more Ys than Ns else it is disregarded and not recommendable over conventional means. The method has been previously explained in question P4 above.

Method Effectiveness Cost Performance Justification over convectional
Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) Y Y Y Saves on labour cost, Construction time an is structurally strong.
Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) Y Y Y Saves on labour cost, Construction energy cost and resists wind load (no need for shear walls)
Steel Metal Buildings Y Y/N Y Saves on labour cost, Construction time an is structurally strong.
Precast Concrete Y Y Y Saves on labour cost, Construction time, curing cost and resists more vertical load (no need for over-reinforcing)
Straw bale Homes N Y Y Saves on insulation costs, performs well in all environment

Problematic as it requires excessive thick walls

Cob Homes N Y Y Saves materials costs, Problematic as it requires excessive thick walls, high labour and very is sensitive(one mistake and all structure is compromised)


Method Effectiveness Cost Performance Justification over convectional
Adobe Homes


Y Y/N Y/N Saves on material cost but increases labour cost.

Good only for non-load bearing walls

Rammed Earth Homes


Y Y Y Saves on material and labour cost.

Structurally strong

Earthship Homes


N Y N Only cheap as it uses recycled materials, but not effective as it performs poorly
Earthbag Homes


Y Y Y Suitable for perimeter walling, retaining walls, uses local material and skills, cheap process.
Cordwood Homes


N Y Y Suitable for all construction, strong and aesthetical. But not effective as it is not fire proof
Shipping Container Homes


Y Y N Structurally strong hence effective.

Saves on material, labour and time

Performs poorly hence requires heavy insulation.


Recommendation table- based on comparison above.

Highly Recommendable  alternatives Least recommendable  alternatives
Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) Earthship Homes
Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) Adobe Homes
Precast Concrete Straw bale Homes
Cordwood Homes Rammed Earth Homes
Shipping Container Homes Earthbag Homes


QUESTION D1: Evaluate the impact of specifying an alternative construction method on environmental protection

Leads to Reduced Noise Pollution especially when using Precast Concrete & Shipping Container

Noise pollution is a real threat to the environment and to animals’ way of life. Construction sites are some of the noisiest areas of a city or a neighborhood. The sound mostly comes from the operation of the machinery and the demolition of an existing structure. It disrupts not only the normal way of life for people near the construction site but also the natural habits of animals. Using precast minimizes noise onsite since materials are already prefabricated.

Provide Opportunity to Recycle Waste Properly especially through Earthbag Homes & Earthship Homes

Every year, millions of tons of garbage are being generated by construction projects. A whopping 90% of these are incinerated or put in landfills, both of which are harmful to the environment. There are a lot of construction materials that can be recycled or reused. You can either sell it back to the contractor, donate it to another construction project, or find ways how to dispose of them properly. Using earth bag homes and earth ship homes provide such an opportunity.

Encourages Use of new Technology leading to reduced construction time and material wastage especially by using Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) and Steel Metal Buildings

Used of 3-D printing, and construction software and automation needed for SIPs and Steel Metal Building will reduce construction time and eliminate the instances of oversupply thus minimizing construction waste and severity of its impact on the environment thus making construction sites and projects environmentally friendly.

Limit The Usage of Fuel especially through using Rammed Earth Homes

Using local materials like rammed earth will impact construction projects by limiting burning of fossil fuels such as diesel and gas by wheeler trucks that bring construction materials sourced from far to a site. Minimizing the distance in hauling construction materials will do a great deal of good, as well as using greener machinery, reducing vehicle idle time, and using hybrid equipment.

QUESTION P5&M3: Examine how government policies have had an impact on building design and highlight the implications and constraints of government policies on the use of alternative construction (the two questions are answered together)

Introduction: Today the whole universe is realizing the whole importance of sustainability and that is wholly because our planetary depends on it. Construction industry being the second largest industry and employer after agriculture in most developing and developed country contributes significantly to three major factors that impact or planetary namely carbon emission, high water cost and high energy cost. Based on this, most government are making policies that aims to achieve a sustainable society, environment and economic thereafter as discussed below;

The housing standard review – in this policy the governments set the building codes and standard to be adopted in design and construction phases of a building. This, in some cases may involve setting milestone and limits of material properties that must be used for a certain design phase. Also the connectivity of a building to water and sewer service mains, windows and door sizes, minimum corridor and sitting spacing in some communal buildings like mosques, hall, schools and hospital. Its implication& constraints to use of alternative construction – this standard limits some use of very slender elements which may require use of highly improvised materials that might be difficult to assemble on site, it also limits use of new technologies that might be safe though they are not convectional therefore causing fear to public this because building standard are laid/ or set using the current technology which may get outdated with time before the standard is reviewed again.

The introduction of Construction capability assessment tool (CCAT)- The CCAT is a self-assessment tool which aims to encourage reflection and discussion within organizations. It is designed to help organizations understand the size and complexity of projects that they are capable of delivering within their current organizational set up. Its implication – this policy implies that before any project design and construction is undertaken, caution be taken to ensure there is sufficient knowledge supported by experience and evidence in project management, project and quality assurance, sustainability and community benefits, etc.  constraints to use of alternative construction the implication of the policy above limits use of new materials or construction techniques that are not very convectional and which there exist little experience in the local skills.

Introduction of Sustainable tender pricing policy – this policy is intended to bodies responsible for planning and delivery of public works projects. It is also intended for industry bodies considering bidding for these construction tender opportunities and aims to remind the public sector clients of their responsibilities in handling abnormally low tenders and highlights the importance of bidders putting in realistic and sustainable bids. Its implication –  it puts emphasis on the sustainable delivery of whole life quality by purposing that the purpose of any construction/building design project is to deliver an output which contributes to one or more outcomes.  In order to do this, the output, a physical built asset, whether a road, a hospital, a school or other public structure must meet the requirements of the client in all respects. Constraints to use of alternative construction this policy limits the design to be purely prepared by the client or client engineer who based on level of exposure might be unfamiliar with use of new/ alternative construction method i.e. most client and junior engineer maybe limited to use of masonry, timber, steel section and mass or reinforced concrete and since it is essential that clients properly estimate the cost of the job and set the specification according to what is affordable within current and future budgets for the delivery of the built asset and its whole life management and do not put unfair demands on the contractor by squeezing more out of the contract than is reasonably deliverable, new methods or unfamiliar alternative methods may never get used.

Introduction of Site inspection and assurance policies- the policy recommendations suggest that clients should maintain a level of independent inspection of construction activities which is commensurate with the risk assessed in any individual project, and that this goes beyond oversight of the contractors’ quality systems and processes, and provides some targeted independent inspection of construction activities and outputs.  Its implication –  it puts emphasis on the need to have more than player is building design bringing about the need for a consultant who will guide and supervise the work of a contractor to ensure quality if the client is unable to supervise for themselves.  Constraints to use of alternative construction – the policy limits the creativity of the contractor who maybe foreign thereby might be willing to bring new technologies to hasten the construction process i.e. use of SIP and ICF but is unable to if the consultant is unfamiliar with their use therefore the contractor is forced to use convectional methods.

QUESTION P6 (part a) Explore the Health & Safety considerations associated with alternative construction methods

Airborne fibres and toxins- though not often talked of; fibres and toxins from construction materials in an urban setting poses a potential lung damage within the construction environment which may emanate from dust caused by stone masonry, removing rubble and general site clean-up; toxic fibres that become airborne when laying carpet, inhaling isocyanates, which are used in paints, varnishes, glues, flooring and building insulation materials; various wood dusts making this a health and safety concern. Conditions created by breathing in these particles run the gambit from occupational asthma to silicosis, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and lung cancer.

Asbestos – Another key source of fatal respiratory conditions is asbestos making it a major health and safety consideration. Elements like ceiling tiles, thermal paper and wall plaster, insulation, cement siding and even switchgears and circuit breakers in older buildings all made from asbestos present hazards to the unwary, particularly electricians. Asbestos is particularly dangerous because carrying the dust home can present a danger to a worker’s family. Called para-occupational or secondary exposure, when a family member comes into contact with asbestos dust they are placed at risk for developing respiratory issues as well.

Unintended collapse –this poses a major safety and health concerns since people working in and around excavations are at risk of several things that can happen. These may include: Falling into an excavation, the area around an excavation becoming unstable resulting in collapse when extra loads are applied (like scaffolding or vehicles) undermining the integrity of nearby structures causing them to collapse causing injury from falling materials when the integrity of the excavation itself collapses.

Materials handling – while this is not an alarming consideration in recent technology, areas with only manual material handling possess health and safety concern to their worker. Manual materials handling are those tasks that involve lifting, holding, carrying, lowering, pushing and pulling materials and material loads. While there are a variety of injury types associated with materials handling (bruises, punctures, broken bones), the most common is soft tissue damage, i.e. damage to muscles, ligaments, tendons, discs, cartilage and/or nerves. Typically, soft tissue injuries affect the neck, shoulders, elbows, arms, wrists, hands, lower back, hips, legs, knees, ankles, and feet. They can happen immediately or start as a twinge that gradually grows worse over time. The intensity of the injury can also vary, from mild to moderate discomfort to intense pain and the potential for permanent disability. Healing can take months or even years, which not only disrupts the ability to work and earn a wage but affects daily personal activities. This therefore qualifies to be a health and safety concern.

Hand and vibration syndrome -Hand and vibration syndrome (HAVS) occurs when a worker continually uses handheld power tools e.g. vibrators, grinders etc. While it is easily preventable, once someone has developed HAVS, the damage is permanent. Early symptoms of HAVS include tingly and/or numbness in fingers and hands. Left untreated, dexterity becomes limited and touch receptors are impaired. This results in workers unable to grasp things properly, which creates all sorts of problems.

Noise – Construction sites in particular can be problematic when it comes to hazardous noise levels (welding, cutting, shredding) making these a health and safety concern. The problem is that because noise levels on a site can vary workers are often lax in wearing the proper hearing protective gear. There is also a problem of being issued the wrong kind of hearing protectors, which not only increases reluctance to wear them but can create additional hazards, like being unable to hear a warning call or not fitting properly with other PPE.

Slips and trips- Slips and trips are the most common non-fatal workplace-related injury which is factored most of the time by poor work area management, these makes it a health and safety factor. These hazards can however be easily avoided by proper work area management.

Moving objects –these becomes a major health and safety concern as constructions sites are typically a buzz of activity and, as with slips and trips, without proper work area management, being hit by a moving object can become a hazard. There are several reasons that a worker might be hit by a moving object. These include: Untidy and cluttered work areas that hinder safe maneuvering, Lack of warning lights and/or beepers on moving vehicles, poorly lit areas etc.

Working from height- with recent technology and global growth in population more building is expanding vertically than laterally posing a major safety and health concern to workers since working from height possess common hazards which may include: Lack of guardrails, Loose tools, unguarded openings, inadequate edge protection, unsecured ladders or scaffolding etc.

QUESTION P6 (part b) &D2 … explore the Health & Safety aspects regarding the alternative methods of construction &Justify the use of a chosen alternative construction method (the two questions are answered together)

Introduction- Having mentioned the major health and safety concern, I will paraphrase how alternative construction methods can help reduce or lower or even eliminate some of those concerns and improve the safety and health of our construction workers and immediate neighbors in a construction area.  Method 1: Precast Concrete-Using precast concrete means that preparing concrete is done outside the site, this bring about work organization where safe concrete mixing, casting and curing plants can be established and easily inspected to ensure it complies to health and safety standards. This would eliminate dangers from noise, moving objects, slips and trips material handling etc. also it would be easier to mechanize the process making it even more safe to handle and fix the elements on site. Method 2: Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs)-Using this method brings about the concept of having light structures, this makes handling and fixing of elements like walls etc. easier and faster on site. Light elements poses less danger of unintended collapse making this sites even more safer. Again since the site engineers do not have to worry about the construction time and costs as this method is faster and effective, he/she may focus their energy in ensuring proper scaffoldings and edge protection are made increasing the degree of health and safety. Method 3: Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs)- In this method the concrete is embedded within the two foams which are both economical and air/ dust tight. This eliminates the danger of having Airborne fibres and toxins which conventionally results from timber cutting while forming form works, cement dust during and after mixing, placing and curing hence improving the quality of air around the construction site. This improves safety and health of the workers. It also eliminates the need for having exposed reinforcement bars, poorly placed bars etc. which might injure inspectors and workers during cutting bars and inspection further improving the quality of health and safety for site workers. Method 4: Shipping Container Homes-  These containers are already prefabricated which means less work done on site minimizing dangers from poor material handling, slips and trips, noise etc. improving safety and health on site, they also have minimum excavation works meaning little to no dust or Airborne fibres and toxins which are known to cause respiratory disorders. In conclusion; the above four methods can be a solution to many safety and health considerations as demonstrated.

QUESTION P7 & P8 Present a design proposal, utilizing a selected alternative construction method, and explain how it is ‘fit for purpose’ in the given context.

Proposal description:

A residential building for a peri-urban setting with the following characteristics, 5- bedroom, 3- bathroom, study room, lobby, lounge, kitchen, dining and laundry , Plinth area of 150 Sqm

Drawing tool used

AutoCAD 2022

Proposed material (alternative material)

The foundation to be made of precast reinforced concrete C20/25, since it is strong and all weather. The floor slabs to be made of Extended polystyrene panels since they are faster to fix on site and also requires minimum reinforcement thus saving on steel and labour. The siding (walling) to be made of structural insulated panels, this is because they are easier to prefabricate and finish as precast then fix easily and cheaply on site therefore saving both cost in labour and material wastage. The roof to be made of timber truss (easier to work on with minimum noise) and less dead weight thus easier to lift and fix on site with minimum energy cost. The roofing material be made of clay tiles / calcined clay /rammed earth since they are environmentally friendly, possess minimum danger to fix, requires minimum finishing and last longs as they are not predisposed rusting etc.

Justification of materials

All of the above chosen material can be prepared far from site then transported when ready for fixing on site. This would minimize dangers posed to health and safety of workers and other spectators by poorly placed instruments, material cutting and wastage, weak connection on site etc.

The material also permits faster construction therefore saving money for the clients, fewer onsite energy consumption, less dangers of poor curing and construction methods due to fatigue of respective workers.

Drawing presentation

Drawing presented in the following A3 SHEET attached at the end of this document.

QUESTION M4 Evaluate the effectiveness of using computer-aided drawing software and BIM

BIM in construction industry leads to Improved collaboration and control among professionals where designers can develop the project in all phases in a shared cloud together with all other project stakeholders, this enables development of a plan or a layout that is not only convenient but also inclusive of all relevant professional views.

Improved project quality due to collaboration fathered by BIM, architects can actually do a project that is not only aesthetical but also buildable as engineers through BIM are able to explore various ways to mitigate the complexity of plans through finite element analysis of 3d objects made by BIM software thus improving project quality.

Enables faster delivery of projects since BIM brings to play not only the drafting option but also the 3D printing which makes prefabrication of structural elements like columns beams and slabs easy through the SIP and EPS technology. This together with the increased ability to predict major risk and deal with them early makes project construction faster and safer.

Through BIM various Cost effective methods may be explored and analyzed to simulate their effect on the building safety as per usage, durability and exposure conditions. This provide a frame work for inventing and testing new construction techniques that might in long run prove to be effective and cheaper.

Through 3d printing BIM provides a platform to reduce wasting of resources (materials and excessive labour) thus not only making construction process cheaper but also reducing the amount of construction waste that would cause environmental degradation.

With need for more automation and animation of construction industry (BIM) numerous companies have evolved and are reaping maximum revenue as this provide new business opportunities to investors as well as new employments to engineers and programmers thus benefiting not only the professionals’ engineers but also other plays making construction a more lucrative and competitive sector.





  1. Jie Chen, Zan Yang & Ya Ping Wang (2014) “The New Chinese Model of Public Housing: A Step Forward or Backward?” (
  2. Jean Heilman Grier (April 13, 2020) “China: Revising Tendering and Bidding Law”
  3. Alex Wang (5 February 2007). “Environmental protection in China: the role of law”
  4. Sarah Xuan “China’s Construction Laws”





What do you think?

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