With the question of sustainability looming large over the construction industry, the dialogue within is now consumed with how to solve the problems of building green. This industry is one of the major contributors to the problem of consumption, emissions, pollution and hence action is indeed needed. But there is a problem emerging within this problem.
Let us take a commercial office building as an example. The most commonly discussed topic is on “green building practices of construction of new buildings” followed by “how to efficiently operate these buildings” but there is a third component to the impact of the building that is being thoroughly ignored by most discussions; i.e. the interior construction industry that makes offices for all companies.
The cost of constructing a building and operating the building through its lifespan pales in comparison when it comes to the amount of times a unit goes through tenant and interior renovation changes. Every time there is a change of interiors there is an immense generation of waste from furniture to walls to floors to service infrastructure. Most of this goes to the wasteland and the main reason for that is the way we build it.
It usually takes 4 trade smiths to make a partition wall: a gypsum guy, an electrician, a carpenter, a painter. To break it, it takes one. With the world needing us to move to more sustainable solutions, the scale of this problem shows us the immense opportunity we have in innovating in interior construction.
Could we not create recyclable, sustainable, circular economical solutions that could not only solve the problem of future generations but also be a tremendous business opportunity?