Business Times

Planning buildings with concern for the environment, people’s health

By Quintus Perera

The Ceylon Institute of Builders (CIOB) is to promote “Green Construction” that would lead to efficient use of energy, water and other resources. CIOB was established in 1961 and according to its President, Dr Rohan Karunaratne it was dormant for the last 15 years but revived last year to fulfill its objective of making the contractor, a builder and to promote Green Construction.

Addressing a press conference in Colombo last week, Dr Karunaratne said that the contractor works with a number of professionals in the construction sphere and thus for him to become a builder the contractor should also have a fair knowledge in all these fields. In this regard he said that they will provide professional assistance to their members.

He said that adoption of sustainable/green concepts being expensive is a myth and said that if the construction is carried out within these concepts they would reduce energy by 30 – 50%, water use by 20 – 30%, Co2 emission by 33% - 39% and solid waste by 70%.

He said that by adopting the green concepts costs will drastically reduce when the complete building life cycle costs are considered. Though there is a possibility of initial costs of construction going up, the operational and maintenance costs would be lower, resulting in a low building life style costs. With the adoption of newer technologies and processes, world-wide figures indicate that the payback period for such an incremental initial construction costs are gradually coming down.

Awanthi Jayatilleke, an enviromentalist, said that there are rules and regulations to conform to environmental norms but these are limited to only the approval process. Very little implementation and monitoring results in the failure to obtain the envisaged benefits.

He said that construction and buildings are important as a new-born would spend 78% of his/her life in that building and it becomes part and parcel of the person’s life. If the building is a sick one the person or the persons living in that building would invariably become sick and the sickness could not only be physical but also mental, he said.

The building should be a stable and a solid structure to show the character of the society or the person. He said that buildings and road should not be constructed just for the sake of constructing them as there are instances that in no time roads are getting washed off and buildings collapsing. He said that collapsing buildings though not common in Sri Lanka, is common in South-East Asia.

He said that people spent their life time savings and income to construct houses and in some cases it is their only lifetime investment. Therefore regulations should be in place to ensure these buildings to be sustainable, environmentally friendly and human friendly.

Jayakish Tudawe, Vice President, CIOB said that CIOB would provide sufficient training to the builder for him to be adequately conversant with the modern trends in the construction process. In this regard he pointed out that English and IT knowledge is essential to find out the newest technology adopted in this field. He said with a fair knowledge of English they could access the Internet to obtain sufficient knowledge.

Environmentalist Tissa Meepe made a presentation on Construction and Maintaining Ecological Balance with Environment.

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