Architecture / June 25, 2018 / .
Buildings affect everyone and can intrude on the freedom, privacy or rights of individuals. Statutory legislation regulates many activities of those who wish to build. Planning legislation controls the appearance and intensity of planning of buildings and may limit the extent of development on particular sites. Building control legislation establishes minimum standards and requires that buildings are safe and efficient to use. Safety legislation sets out to eliminate accidents to persons in the course of constructing the building. Environmental legislation protects society and wider environment from potential negative effects of the development process.
The availability, location and capacity of existing utilities must be considered in the design. Connecting to these may involve significant costs particularly where they are inconveniently located or are distant from the site. For example septic tanks or pumping plant may be required to drain a site, easements may be required to cross neighbouring land, and diversions of live services may be required to accommodate the development.
The choice of the material, and hence the cost, may be influenced by factors other than aesthetic qualities. For example fast-track construction projects may use a steel frame in preference to an in-situ or precast concrete frame in order to reduce overall programme durations. Although the concrete option may be cheaper, the shorter programme achieved by using steel may offset this initial cost advantage. Technical decisions such as these are made for each building element and these have a direct bearing on the eventual cost. Where considerable repetition can be achieved it may prove economical to prefabricate certain structural elements or to standardise various components and fittings.
The materials specified and the proposed construction details will have an important bearing on the cost of the project. The relationship of quality to cost has been commented on above, and buildings which incorporate high quality and innovative features are invariably more expensive than those which are purely functional. The choice depends on what the client is willing to pay. The materials, nevertheless, should be appropriate for their use; over-specification is wasteful.