constructsteel recognises the need for steel to be an important part of the necessary decarbonisation of construction. The Zero Energy Building (ZEB) work stream was established to build a steel zero-energy home where the core design principles can be used in climates around the world. To this end, constructsteel has been working with Gensler and has developed an outline design. The Forever House is currently focused on the design and delivery of a single-family dwelling with the materials and construction methodology that will be optimised for steel structural and envelope systems.
The logic of this work is that it helps steel demonstrate its positive credentials in three key factors that currently need addressing:
• Sustainability: There is a real requirement to achieve Net Zero carbon solutions and validate building performance and tackle the Global crisis. Through this project, there is an opportunity to work with industry-leading organisations and fast-track a solution for commercialisation and validation.
• Skills Shortage: the basis of design is a modular off-site solution. This maximises the work done in the factory whilst minimising the work done on-site. The aim is to get the balance correct so as to minimise the cost of the end product.
• Housing Shortage: In many markets, there is a need to build additional new homes as the current supply chains are unable to cope.
The important driver for the ZEB Forever House is that it needs to be a commercially viable proposition for developers when costed against current solutions. Whilst it still needs to be finalised the intent is that will be offered into the market as a pre-defined and pre-packaged kit of parts. This not only helps with the current skill shortages in construction but means that the Forever house will be capable of adaptation throughout the lifetime of its occupants and systems (updating and repair/ replacement). This adaptation could be minor: the removal or addition of partitions to open up or sub-divide space, or more involved such as the addition or removal of spaces as the needs of the occupants alter over time. Both the initial construction and subsequent alterations shall be facilitated by standardised details, interfaces, and connections.
Currently, a consortium of interested manufacturers and consultants is being assembled being led by constructsteel, Gensler and Tata Steel to finalise the design and build the first demonstrator along with developers to beta test the concept. It is envisaged the team will accelerate delivery of the ZEB Forever House as a commercial solution in the next 12 months.