Exploring a best practice approach to operability and maintainability of low carbon buildings in the UK

Frank, Owajionyi L. (2014) Exploring a best practice approach to operability and maintainability of low carbon buildings in the UK. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

Growth in technological advancement was to humanity a mixed blessing. While it provided comfort and improved quality of life, it also increased the demand for energy to drive them. This increase in energy usage, particularly from fossil fuel sources is widely understood to be responsible for the critical environmental problems in the world (Climate Change). Mitigating and adapting to this anthropogenic induced consequence created the need for varying innovative and new low carbon and renewable technologies which are gradually replacing the traditional high fossil fuel driven systems in buildings.

Presently in the UK, every new building is expected to be low carbon and energy efficient; operated in such a manner as to use no more fuel and power than is reasonable in the circumstances. However, it is widely believed that construction underperforms in terms of capacity to deliver value. Clients and end-users of these buildings appear not to be getting long term value for their investments. Much attention has also not been given to how these new and innovative technologies can be operated and maintained long into the future. Recent researches also underpin the fact that the wide information gap existing between designers and building end-users is one of the factors responsible for the underperformance.

This research therefore sought to explore a best practice approach that could bridge this information gap, and ensure that low carbon buildings are efficiently operated and maintained long into the future, particularly as the UK built environment moves closer to its zero carbon targets of 2016 and 2019. The research methodology involved triangulation (a mixed-method research approach), thus maximising the chances of benefiting from the strength of each of qualitative and quantitative methods. Interviews, surveys and case studies were employed. Post occupancy evaluation method was also used for the key case study.

Findings indicate that there is a need for change in the way low carbon buildings are delivered to the end-users; that a properly prepared operation and maintenance (O&M) manual is indispensable in the effective and efficient operation and maintenance of low carbon buildings, and that it will be good practice to bring in the O&M team early to the design process. The study also suggested that designers be required to prove ‘life-cycle operability and maintainability’ of their designs before they are constructed. To ensure this desired cultural and process change in project delivery, a Maintainability and Operability Integrated (OMI) Design and Construction Process Model is proposed. The model was developed using the proposed RIBA 2013 revised Outline Plan of Work and drawing lessons from the New Product Development (NPD) process used by the manufacturing sector and other construction industry models.

A validation test was conducted by means of a focus group, populated by top management officials of the University of Nottingham Estates Office, which has been actively involved in the procurement and management of myriads of low carbon buildings. Feedbacks from the validation test indicate that the proposed OMI Process Model was a well thought out idea which is practicable and capable of addressing the shortfall within the existing processes to deal with the O&M issues raised by the use of new and innovative low carbon technologies.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Riffat, S.B.
Omer, S.
Keywords: Sustainable buildings, Operation and maintenance, Maintainability and Operability Integrated Design and Construction Process Model
Subjects: T Technology > TH Building construction
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Engineering
UK Campuses > Faculty of Engineering > Built Environment
Item ID: 13923
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2014 13:23
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2016 15:03
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/13923

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