Durability and Resilience &
The Built Environment
Before protecting your house, we must first asses the potential risks involved in building on that specific site. Even within a small city or town, varying locations could require a different approach in designing for durability and resilience. Whether your site is more susceptible to flooding or fires, or it carries a higher risk of exposure to high winds and rain, we can design suitable assemblies with appropriate materials that will help to protect against these potential threats. Building a safe, healthy, and long lasting home should be your first priority, and we are here to help you do it.
Here in the Okanagan I think all of us have come to terms with the fact that we are all at risk of being impacted by fires. Despite the heroic efforts of firefighters across the province, every year we lose structures to wildfires. Sometimes we may feel helpless as we stand back and watch them fight to save our homes, but there are measures we can take during the design stage that can help to protect your home against fire damage. To do this there has to be a very high level of attention to detail when it comes to material selection. We have invested countless hours into researching material properties to find the best options when it comes to developing your building envelope. Your wall and roof assemblies are the first line of defense against fires, and they need to stop or slow the spread of fire and smoke, while continuing to meet our needs and goals in thermal effectiveness, breathability, sound control, and carbon impact. Balancing all of these requirements can be quite a task, but that is why we are here!
You can also visit FireSmart BC for more information in helping you to be prepared as a homeowner.
In recent years flooding in our region has become more prevalent and, as such, we should be incorporating water damage prevention measures into our building designs. Much like in guarding against fire damage, material selection is a high priority in the fight against water damage. Ensuring exposed materials can stand up to prolonged contact with water can eliminate major repairs and costs when experiencing severe weather and / or natural events. Additionally, structural alterations and site layout can play a big part in avoiding potential losses or damage. For example, using a raised slab (or base) for your house could allow it to sit higher than estimated water levels in the event of a flood. Land grading can also be used as an alternative, or in conjunction with building height to help control or divert water away from the structure. Not only can water intrusion cause damage to your house, it can also cause mold and other moisture related issues that can lead to health issues for occupants. This is yet another reason why assembly composition is top of mind when we design your home.
Health & Longevity
Not many people think of health when they think of a building, but the health of your house has been proven to be directly related to the health of its occupants. Both physical and mental health can be altered based on the condition of the buildings we spend the most time in. It is estimated that the average person spends 90% of their lives inside, and because of this it is important that we take time to consider what we can do to not only limit the negative impacts of these buildings, but instead turn them into healthy environments that work in conjunction with our needs so they can be conducive of happy and healthy living. Specifying appropriate assemblies and materials that will make up the building envelope will help to control moisture transfer throughout the building, while reducing the potential for things like mold and pests which could affect indoor air quality and lead to long term health issues for occupants. Additionally, constructing an effective layout paired with thoughtful fenestration to control light exposure and natural ventilation can help with moisture management. This can have a direct impact on occupant experience by providing light levels that promote healthy circadian rhythms, as well as increased indoor air quality to boost overall health. And of course, we want all of this hard work to stand the test of time. Building for longevity helps to minimize operational costs by reducing the necessity of maintenance and repairs, while also helping to reduce your carbon footprint over the lifecycle of the structure.