Be different?……….Me? You’ve got to be joking…….!

You might be wondering why this article is upside down? – read on and discover….
Some time back I wrote about the stuck in a rut type of thinking “but I’ve always done it that way!”
That is just soooooo boring – and besides, how are we meant to improve and progress if we don’t innovate?

Why is this relative for today’s article? Well as I sit on a return flight on my way from JHB having learned something new (Saint Gobain Gyproc partitioning systems have just sponsored a day up there to visit an amazing residential property – Stand47 http://www.stand47.co.za/ to teach three of our team alternative methods of building) I can’t help wondering why we hate change?

So often we have been involved in the design stage of a project and during discussions with our clients have brought up the option of using alternative methods of construction, only to be turned down flat because it is “not what we know”.

Take partition systems for example. I can’t tell you how many times I have suggested the use of partition board only for our client to lurch toward the nearest brick wall and give it a few knocks and say “No way – it’s got to be solid!” However, if I were to ask why, I would generally receive a look that suggests I’ve just got out of the funny farm- don’t I know there are no options other than bricks and mortar!

Well yes there are obviously strong qualities for using brick and mortar, but only in certain cases. Most of the time however, this causes other materials to be disqualified when in reality they would be a better option.

Usually the main reason why most won’t consider alternatives is because it is different – and not many of us are prepared to be trendsetters – we are too busy following the crowd! The reality is that there is a perception out there that says that drywall is an inferior product to brick. Funny then that most of Europe and America build with this product and yet we as South Africans seem stuck in the past. Now I do understand that we are unique in some aspects such as having to ensure the external walls of our homes are built as a fortress to prevent unwelcomed guests, but there is no reason not to consider internal walls as partition board – especially if designed and applied using the correct specifications to each wall as these can change within the space.

So here are a few misconceptions and corrective thinking I had about partition systems before yesterday:
• It’s cheap – maybe, depending on requirements, but not the driving factor for choosing it
• Sound control is a problem – using the correct specs it gets a better rating than brick
• Its weak – it depends which board you use – new technology allows for a dent resistant and strong board to hang TV’s, pictures etc.
Some further pluses
• It’s warm in winter, cool in summer – Thermal properties way exceed brick
• Acoustics are better
• Its quick to put up – saving you labour costs and getting use of your property earlier
• Easy to run services within the wall
• Its lightweight – no foundations required
• Easy to transport (up a high rise especially)
• Easy to change – an unexpected addition to the family – simply reconfigure your internal layout – beats having to move house every time the family dynamic changes
• Eco friendly

So at the risk of sounding like a partition board rep, it might be time that we started to explore new age technology and taking progress into consideration – just as we wouldn’t continue to use a 10 year old cell phone.
Perhaps it’s time we started to question what we have always done as the status quo. Be daring, be different!!

Andy Wood 082 3655037
Cost2Build – Construction Consultants and Management
www.cost2build.co.za