How Benfield ATT help you create
The Low Energy Buildings you’ve always wanted… Intrigued by the claims of this ‘full service’ company we decided to investigate their approach a little more. Value Engineering: First, we wanted to know what was meant by ‘Value Engineering’ (VE). Professor Dr. Michael Benfield, their CEO, explained: “By focusing on the various ‘functions’ of a client’s building and its components, we aim to identify and remove unnecessary costs while at the same time maintaining - even enhancing - its performance.” Comprehensive Knowledge: This approach blends their extensive and rather unique knowledge of all forms of timber structure, building science, regulations, and state of the art products with individual client’s design concepts. “For us, value engineering starts with environmental planning and regulatory impositions as part of our analytical and technical design processes.” he explained. “These feed our drive for, and commitment to, sustainable development through into waste reduction, recycling and lean manufacture. It embraces a ‘Pride in the Job’ and a ‘Right First Time’ mentality that is applied to all our Design & Build (D&B) operations.” Focus on End User: Paying attention to end user demands is central to Benfield ATT’s approach (the ATT stands for Advanced Timber Technologies, by the way). They believe it enables them to deliver highly effective, quality buildings for projects large & small. This includes providing solutions for difficult to develop sites, like soft ground, steeply sloping land and potential flood plain areas. Product Selection: Self-evidently, to value engineer design & build solutions, the selection of the most appropriate products needs the services and methods used to be an integral part of the process. Working closely with architects, building designers, engineers and quantity surveyors, Benfield ATT helps select and specify those which are most functionally appropriate and cost effective. In turn this encourages the delivery of high quality products to be protected, and results in saving time for on-site build operations. All of this, they claim, reduces costs, enhances client’s projects and helps to make them one of the most competitive full service timber engineering design and build firms in the UK. Fabric First: In the current business climate it is perhaps not surprising to find Efficiency, Performance & Cost Effectiveness to be included in their key current considerations. This is most clearly evidenced in their ‘Fabric First” approach to designing really effective building envelopes. “There is a crucial need to deliver highly energy efficient structures with optimum levels of insulation, minimal thermal transmission and appropriate airtightness for floors, walls, roofs, windows and doors.” explains Prof Benfield. Unsurprising, therefore, that in their drive toward Zero Carbon and minimal heating requirements, they offer factory Insulated Panels, SIP’s, Green Oak, Post & Beam, Glulam and Hybrid structures all orientated to achieve what was Code for Sustainable Homes levels 4, 5, 6 and Passivhaus Standards. Specialist Builders’ Merchants: Potentially, the procurement of design specific components can create unforeseen difficulties, for example locating the source of supplies, avoiding delays in delivery lead times, quality assurance, and securing ‘best value’ products and terms. Here Benfield ATT’s long established connections, access and volume buying capabilities as manufacturers and selective builder’s merchants, enables them to secure and supply such requirements in the most timely and competitive manner as part of their value engineered, design & build methodology. Catalysts for Quality: “We believe that our approach to helping you create the ‘Low Energy Buildings you’ve always dreamed of …’ is distinctly different” says Benfield. “We welcome collaboration with other construction professionals in our drive to achieve this.” In doing so, his company aims to help enhance the professional construction team of architects, other designers, engineers, quantity surveyors, contractors, house-builders, developers, et al, facilitating the delivery of the high quality buildings they and their clients both need and want. And, if end user clients like self-builders and home improvers lack any of these skills, to be the catalyst drawing in those that are most appropriate for each individual project. To compliment this they offer a selective part or full project management service. Professional Partnerships: While they are happy to engage in ‘one off’ projects, Benfield ATT see the greatest benefits to industry and end user occupiers as coming from the establishment of long term ‘partnering’ style arrangements with other construction professionals. This can include Joint Venture arrangements for specific developments, which may be of interest to land owners and those who wish to fund, say, housing schemes, but lack the technical knowledge and industry experience necessary to make them successful. In such cases they believe that their comprehensive team approach can be highly valuable.