As is the case with most industries, the building industry undergoes constant changes. New tools, materials and methods are continuously being introduced to meet the market’s needs. Both small and large players are pulling their weight by frequently offering better services at affordable prices. This is driven by the insight that at the end of the day, it’s always the customer who decides how, and by whom, a job will be performed.
At Stop Digging, we have manufactured and installed our own ground screws for more than seven years now. We are delighted to have noticed a great deal of change during this time. Increasingly more people are taking an open approach to new construction methods and have thus realised the benefits of the innovations a flexible construction market brings about. An example thereof is the demand for our own ground screws. Ever since we entered this business, we have noticed how competition in the construction market is driven not only by the cost of materials and working methods, but also by aspects relating to the environment. Many of us, not only subcontractors and construction companies, but also individuals, have begun to consider how the increased demand for construction materials affects world we are living in.
Bigger is not always better
Concrete is still the most commonly used construction material, particularly in multi-storey buildings and industrial plants. Unfortunately, concrete is also the cause of significant amounts of carbon dioxide emissions. According to certain sources, as much as 7% of the world’s total carbon dioxide emissions are linked to the concrete industry, which is more than three times higher than the emissions by the global aviation industry. However, it’s currently not a viable option to completely discontinue the use of concrete-related materials, as the material as such simply has too many obvious advantages. On the other hand, there are definitely reasons to question whether concrete is actually the best option in all construction projects. At Stop Digging, we would argue to the contrary when it comes to ground anchoring, such as fences, signposts, patios and decking. These are examples where solutions involving concrete are neither cost-effective nor environmentally friendly.
A faster, cheaper and more environmentally friendly alternative
Notwithstanding its popularity, concrete is not always the best alternative. A freestanding small house structure is today one of the most popular additions to the family home. The small structure can either rest on a concrete slab or on individual anchoring points, such as concrete plinths or ground screws. Anyone who considers casting a concrete slab needs to be aware that it emits more than 1,000% more carbon dioxide during its manufacturing process than ground screws. But that’s not all. One also has to account for the concrete mixing process and transportation of the materials to site. In addition, we must also consider the practical (or, rather, impractical) aspects of concrete casting, including constructing the actual mould and placing the reinforcement steels, as well as smoothing the surface and allowing it to cure well. All of the above have a negative impact on both cost and time.
Even the commonly used concrete plinth has more disadvantages than advantages in this regard. Concrete plinths emit about 50% more carbon dioxide during the manufacturing process than ground screws. In addition, the plinths require digging, height-correction and proper drainage. Ground screws, on the other hand, are easily screwed into the ground and simple to adjust. The result is a construction-ready foundation with minimal damage to the surrounding areas and hardly any transportation involved.
Climate adaptations are often both costly and time consuming, but it doesn’t always have to be that way. In the case of anchoring to the ground, ground screws are in fact a climate smart alternative that saves both money and time.
As individuals, we can only do so much for the environment, but our actions can still lead to changes that are increasingly important for the future. We live in a time of fast production and vast product supply within most areas, but we can still choose products and services based on our own preferences.
Whether one prioritises time, the environment or one’s own financial situation, we would like anyone planning a new construction project to truly explore all the available options. With a good understanding of the alternatives, one will be more likely to achieve a satisfying result and, above all, be able to influence how the job is carried out. As is the case for all players in the construction industry, our task is not only to sell our products and services, but also to ensure high customer satisfaction. Indeed, this is a precondition for survival in an ever-changing industry.