It is an exciting time to be in the architecture industry. Advances in technology and innovations in material fabrication have made it possible to bring the most ambitious visions to life. To help sort it all out, keep reading for a detailed breakdown of the most important considerations for constructing an architectural project in 2023!
Ensure the Best Foundation and Framing
A building is only as good as its foundation and framing. If these hidden structural elements are subpar, the rest of the building will quickly follow.
The foundation should be protected against moisture and soil erosion. At the least, damp-proof flashing should be applied to foundation walls. This will help prevent passive water ingress.
In areas with high hydrostatic pressure in the groundwater, damp proofing may not be enough. A more comprehensive waterproofing system is necessary. This involves a permeable screen attached to the exterior of the foundation walls. This directs flowing water down to a drainage mat and away from the foundation. It keeps the foundation secure in areas of intense precipitation.
In terms of framing, insulated concrete forms (ICF) are becoming increasingly popular in construction. ICF has many advantages over traditional structural wood panels. Some of the most pertinent include:
- Improved R-value
- Elite resistance to fire and other natural disasters
- Decoupled sound and moisture barrier
- One-piece construction to prevent thermal bridging
The concept behind ICF is rather straightforward. A series of interlocking panels are fabricated off-site. These panels feature an open interior with rebar reinforcement sandwiched between two layers of insulation. These panels are then locked in place at the construction site. They are filled with concrete and set in place once the concrete dries. This innovative concept helps create a continuous insulation system for the building.
Provide Flat Roof Support
Most commercial structures feature flat roofs. This is in contrast to the pitched roofs found on most residential houses. There are many advantages to a flat roof for commercial buildings:
- Facilitates the construction of rooftop decks
- Allows for a more convenient access point for service professionals
- Provides some rooftop storage possibilities
Despite these benefits, there are some factors to keep in mind with a flat roof. It may accumulate precipitation more readily than a pitched roof, so adequate drainage is a must.
In addition, increased foot traffic can cause acute roof damage if not properly constructed. To help mitigate the impact of vertical loads, metal b-decking should be applied to the roof substrate. Metal decking helps transfer vertical loads horizontally to the building’s frame. This can help the roof withstand many times the pressure it could without structural decking. The standard metal deck cost will range between $6 and $20 per square foot. This may fluctuate depending on the market price of steel. Generally, a thinner metal deck will be less expensive than thicker options. This is why b-decking is popular. Its innovative ribbing promotes load transfer without requiring a lot of steel during fabrication.
Promote Energy Efficiency
Energy efficiency is a forefront consideration in 2023. The United States has a goal of a net-zero economy by 2050. Any building that does not take this into consideration will not have much staying power.
There are numerous ways to construct with energy efficiency in mind:
- Create an infrastructure for PV and solar technology
- Include larger windows to allow more natural light flow
- Choose durable materials, such as polished concrete floors and quartz surfaces, that will not require a lot of energy for maintenance and upkeep
- Insulate ceilings, walls, and below-grade areas
Energy efficient features do more than help control costs in the short term. They will help the building stand out on a resale market that is sure to feature a more conscientious clientele.
Don’t Neglect the Exterior
Curb appeal has always been important for residential properties. But it is coming into greater focus for commercial facilities in 2023.
The COVID-19 pandemic reminded everyone of the importance of stepping outside to get some fresh air. Furthermore, stunning exteriors are proven to boost the morale of employees and patrons. Some ways to improve the exterior of a building include:
- Constructing a rooftop deck
- Adding plants and trimming dead trees
- Installing new cladding
- Using decorative screen panels and architectural grilles for increased visual intrigue
Don’t let the exterior be an afterthought. It can be the cherry on top that ties an entire architectural project together.
Guarantee Safety Features Are Adequate
Safety should be a top concern for any type of project. But it is especially important for commercial buildings. A breach of liability can be a disaster for a public space. Therefore, be sure there are no points of weakness. Some points to keep in mind:
- Check that the parking lot is in good condition and has sufficient ADA spaces
- Install the latest fire prevention system in the building
- Use glass railing around staircases and elevated walkways
- Secure all entry points and lay the foundation for credentialed access
Sometimes, it can be difficult for the untrained eye to recognize any security breaches. As such, it is beneficial to hire a professional building inspector to check for safety prior to opening the building to the public.
Go the Extra Mile When Constructing An Architectural Project
There are many new and exciting ways the architectural game is changing for the better in 2023. However, even the most ambitious products need to stay true to the fundamentals of construction. With this in mind, focus on foundation, framing, flat roof support, energy efficiency, exterior appeal, and top-notch safety as some of the most important considerations for constructing an architectural project.
Max Shafer is a freelance writer that loves sharing his knowledge and expertise on real estate. He lives in Land O’ Lakes, Florida where he enjoys spending time with his wife and researching real estate trends in his free time. Max’s work as a freelance writer can be found on Building Product Advisor, a new construction industry resource.