Oakford Homes ‘steel’ themselves for an energy-efficient future

At the forefront of home design, steel construction offers many advantages over traditional reinforced concrete building techniques, with lower costs, sustainability and flexibility being amongst the many benefits of choosing steel framed buildings over the alternatives.

It is for this reason that Oakford Homes has made a conscious design to build with steel frames at both our state of the art head offices in Hedsor, Buckinghamshire and also for our forthcoming development in Twyford. 

Although, the Twyford scheme is a collection of four detached family homes, which one might not normally associate with a steel frame build, the small footprint of the site made steel frames the obvious choice of material for this site, as much of the construction could be prefabricated off site.

Steel construction utilising a prefabricated structural steel frame can reduce overall building costs by 2 - 3% when compared to reinforced concrete. When inflation is taken into consideration, the cost of steel build has reduced by 14% in real terms. Over the same period, the real cost of the concrete construction has increased by 16%.

In addition, prefabricated steel buildings take advantage of offsite prefabrication to improve the speed or erection and cost predictability of the build. Figures released by the Department for Business in February 2014 showed that the average cost per square metre of fabricated steel had reduced dramatically, making it cheaper than both concrete and cement as a building material, mitigating the oft-used argument of the higher cost implications of using steel in a build project.

Steel also offers environmental and sustainability benefits when compared to concrete; the main advantage being that the material is 100% recyclable so when a building is eventually demolished, the steel can be reused. 

According to the Energy Saving Trust, home energy use is responsible for over a quarter of the UK’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which contribute to climate change. This is another powerful reason as to why steel frames should be considered in construction, with greater flexibility during the build process to include improved insulation methods.

However, in addition to steel frames, Oakford Homes are exploring many other ways to go above and beyond to improve on environmental build standards, ensuring our customers end up with homes that are more cost efficient to run and reduce the impact on the world around us. 

To achieve Level 4 on the Code for Sustainable Homes set by the government we include such features in our homes as dual-flush toilets, highly energy-efficient windows, doors and roofs, where traditionally the majority of energy is lost. Additionally, we use only energy-efficient lighting and energy saving white goods. By harnessing such measures, it also means that we achieve an energy-efficiency rating of B or above on all of our sites.

Sustainable developments are all about improving the quality of life for individuals and communities by creating attractive environments where people want to live, whilst protecting and enhancing the natural environment. This is why as responsible builders we owe it to ourselves, and our customers to consider all the steel construction and other energy-efficient techniques possible to create a better legacy of home design for future generations.