A builder’s legacy is easy to see — the homes, shops, offices, and other buildings they’ve worked on are testaments to their skill and hard work. Well-built structures can last more than a lifetime, standing as monuments to their builder’s craft.
However, not all buildings share the same lifespan. Anyone with a keen eye for detail may notice that significantly older buildings, made with traditional materials and time-tested techniques, seem to outlast new construction that relies heavily on prefabricated components and low-cost materials.
If you want your legacy to last, it’s critical to make sure you’re working with materials that will go the distance. Sustainability and a long use-life go hand-in-hand; the longer a door or window lasts, the less frequently it will need to be replaced. One of the keys to ensuring that you have a long legacy is using sustainable materials whenever possible.
As Australia looks toward the future, a renewed interest in traditional building techniques and the development of exciting new technologies have significantly expanded the options available to architects, designers, and builders. Today’s environmentally friendly homes, shops, and workspaces often have significantly longer lifespans than their less sustainable counterparts.
Sometimes innovation just means looking for keys to the future in our past. Take sustainable timber used for window and door fittings as an example: many old buildings still have their original fittings in place, while newer buildings may already be sporting replacements.
Not all timber is equally suited for every job — any experienced builder knows that. Cheaper, less sustainable timber may seem like an economical choice, but will it last as long as something like spotted gum?
Many materials that were immensely popular during the past fifty years have proven that they can’t withstand the test of time. These low-cost solutions may have saved money up-front, but fittings made from aluminium or vinyl can very rarely be repaired — instead, they must be replaced, often more frequently than building owners expect.
Planned obsolescence might be well and good for mobile phone manufacturers, but building owners aren’t keen on buying new windows and doors every few years. That’s why many builders are turning toward sustainable timber fittings that can be repaired, rather than replaced.
According to renew magazine, forward-thinking builders have started to express a “preference for timber window frames over thermally broken (insulated) aluminium” for a good reason: “the hardware to operate them is simpler and can be replaced, and the frames can be repaired and even partially rebuilt if needed.”
So not only do sustainable building materials score good marks for their environmental impact, they also help ensure that a builder’s work has a long lifespan. While over time many parts of a building may be replaced, your work will still be standing.
Environmental issues aren’t just the domain of fringe ecological activists any more. According to the Lowy Institute, 60% of Australians believe that “global warming is a serious and pressing challenge” and that “we should begin taking steps [to address it] now, even if this involves significant costs.”
The message is clear — Australians are willing to pay for sustainability and quality. This is great news for builders because it means they are free to use the materials they know to be right for the job, rather than what’s most affordable.
For more information about the value of sustainable timber on your next project, read our new guide. If you want to know how we can help you find the right window and door frames for your home, contact our team today.