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10 Oct 2019

What is a systems approach to building?

A systems approach to construction means focusing on how components in the building envelope work together as a whole, rather than how they perform in isolation. Using a system solution means creating a specification tailored to suit the function of the building, and it is often backed by a comprehensive guarantee.

Building a Safer Future, the report authored by Dame Judith Hackitt, advocates taking a systems approach when designing buildings, and thinking about how the components of the system interact with one another to achieve complete performance.

What are the benefits of using a proven system?

Designing a specification around the particular requirements of the building and its function adds certainty about how the building will perform. It also virtually rules out the possibility of a contractor coming in and undercutting on price.

A lack of accountability and proper enforcement has contributed to a ‘race to the bottom’ culture identified by Dame Judith Hackitt. If less scrupulous contractors tender for a project on the basis of doing it faster or using inferior or unproven products, the end result is a compromised building.

Specifying a proven system puts the onus on anybody proposing an alternative to demonstrate the credentials of what they’re offering - including that it is designed to meet the specific needs of the project in question, rather than being a generic system.

How can manufacturers help with adopting a systems approach?

If specifiers are to move away from an approach of seeking confirmation about components individually, then they are justified in saying, “We need help with that. We need more support from manufacturers.”

A manufacturer-backed system can cover the comprehensive list of performance elements - energy efficiency, acoustics, fire performance, weather resistance, durability - and help design out complexity from a jigsaw puzzle of individual components.

There is a lot more to system solutions than the fundamental fabric performance, but that is always the starting point. Backed up by rigorous independent testing, [link to ‘What are the benefits of a traceable and reputable supply chain?’ post] a system offers combinations of products and components that get the fabric performance balance right.

Platinum® Plus is a guarantee offered by Tata Steel on building envelope solutions. A Tata Steel system backed by Platinum® Plus offers dependable and enduring performance, and lower cost of ownership for the life of the building. Contact our technical team to discuss any building envelope specification questions, or read more about Platinum® Plus here.





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