Concrete and masonry buildings can stand for centuries with minimum maintenance.
We are all familiar with the term “Your home is your Castle”. In Ireland, there is a tradition of using long lasting and durable construction materials such as concrete and stone to build our homes. Because we live on an island and are exposed to wind and rain, we can avoid problems which can greatly reduce the life of buildings by using durable materials such as concrete.
Concrete is truly made to last. It can withstand major shocks, absorb sound and regulate temperatures. Concrete buildings can remain serviceable for hundreds of years, if properly maintained.
Concrete’s in-built benefits
The long life of concrete buildings is due to concrete’s in-built properties. The durability of concrete enables it to resist weathering action, chemical attack and abrasion while maintaining its desired properties. Concrete is inert, non-combustible, non-biodegradable and does not rust, warp, rot or melt and retains its structural stability at high temperatures. The vast majority of concrete buildings will not suffer structural damage in a flood or after a leak.
Concrete buildings remain durable with much lower associated maintenance costs and impacts than other materials which, for example, may require repainting or treatment for mould or rotting.
Most importantly, unlike other construction materials, concrete’s flexibility and adaptability means that concrete buildings can easily be reconverted and changed to accommodate any design meaning that demolition is not always the automatic course of action. Structures can often be stripped back to their concrete core, then rebuilt to new, contemporary designs and specifications, thereby ensuring efficient use of resources. In addition, given that a building’s use accounts for over 80% of its environmental impacts, the long service life of concrete buildings reduces impacts over their life-time, when compared to buildings with a shorter life.
Looked at from a whole-life perspective, a fabric first approach with concrete is the simplest construction method to design, construct and maintain long-lasting buildings which are built to last.
Concrete is built to last and concrete homes can remain serviceable for hundreds of years.
Concrete is designated by the EU as a Class A1 building material (non-combustible).
Concrete does not rust, warp, rot or melt.
‘Fabric First with Concrete’ – The first step to maximise the building’s performance!