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Exploring Construction Methods and Materials for Residential House


Human comfort is a subjective and multidimensional concept that depends on various factors, such as thermal, visual, acoustic, and indoor air quality. Considering the fact that the various building types serve different purposes in different locations with different occupancies, the human comfort study has become an essential variable in designing a building in conformity to the kind of activity the building is meant to perform. Thus, materials selection is a critical component in making a human-comfort building because it determines the efficiency, longevity, and physical beauty of serviceability and enclosure for buildings (Greeno, 2012). This section will concentrate on the residential building as an illustration or case study and reflect on the aspect of materials’ choice on influencing human comfort such as thermal, visual, acoustic, and IAQ. Common indoor environmental quality issues in residential buildings and how to overcome these problems will also be presented. I will also give some health and safety regulations on everything related to the use, storage, and handling of used construction materials. In conclusion, I will answer the standard set for the building services in the residential building to maintain the apt conditions of humans.

photo project of the house

Materials selection in relation to human comfort requirements.

Thermal comfort refers to the satisfaction of an individual with their thermal environment. It depends on six parameters: air temperature, mean radiant temperature, humidity, air velocity, metabolic rate, and clothing insulation. Materials can affect thermal comfort by influencing heat transfer, thermal mass, insulation, and solar gain (Margani et al., 2020). For example, wood provides natural insulation properties, stone has high thermal mass, and glass allows solar gain. Building services that ensure thermal comfort include heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, which regulate the indoor temperature and humidity levels, and solar shading devices, which control the amount of sunlight entering the building (Chudley and Greeno, 2020).

Visual comfort involves having adequate lighting (natural or artificial), minimized glare, appropriate contrast levels, and pleasing colors for occupants’ visual satisfaction. Materials can affect visual comfort by influencing light reflection, transmission, diffusion, and absorption. For example, glass transmits light, translucent materials diffuse light; light-colored materials reflect light, and dark-colored materials absorb light (Glad and Gramfält, 2020). Building services that ensure visual comfort include daylighting systems, which optimize the use of natural light, and artificial lighting systems, which provide illumination when needed and adjust the color temperature and intensity according to the time of day and the activity of the occupants (Chudley, R. et al. 2012).

Acoustic comfort is the satisfaction of an individual with their acoustic environment. It depends on four parameters: sound level, frequency, duration, and source. Materials can affect acoustic comfort by influencing sound absorption, reflection, transmission, and insulation (Scragg and Bickley, 2022). For example, acoustic panels absorb sound, carpets reduce sound reflection, curtains block sound transmission, and soundproof materials prevent sound leakage. Building services that ensure acoustic comfort include sound insulation systems, which reduce the noise from external sources, and sound masking systems, which generate a background noise to mask unwanted sounds and enhance speech privacy (Lai et al., 2023).

Indoor air quality is the quality of the air within and around the building. It depends on four parameters: ventilation, pollutants, humidity, and odors. Materials can affect indoor air quality by influencing air exchange, moisture control, pollutant emission, and odor absorption. For example, natural ventilation allows fresh air to enter and stale air to exit, air filters remove dust and allergens, low-emitting materials reduce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and formaldehyde, and plants purify the air and remove odors. Building services that ensure indoor air quality include ventilation systems, which provide adequate and controlled air flow, and air purification systems, which eliminate contaminants and improve the air quality (Pacheco-torga et al., 2013).

The standard building services installed in the residential building to meet appropriate human comfort levels are:

  • HVAC systems, which consist of boilers, radiators, fans, ducts, vents, thermostats, and humidifiers.
  • Daylighting systems consist of windows, skylights, light shelves, and blinds.
  • Artificial lighting systems, which consist of lamps, switches, dimmers, and sensors.
  • Sound insulation systems, which consist of walls, floors, ceilings, doors, and windows.
  • Sound masking systems, which consist of speakers, amplifiers, and generators.
  • Ventilation systems consist of natural ventilation (windows), mechanical ventilation, and hybrid ventilation.
  • Air purification systems, which consist of filters, ionizers, and dehumidifiers.

These building services are designed and installed according to the relevant standards and regulations, such as the Building Regulations, the British Standards, and the Code for Sustainable Homes (Hegab et al., 2023). They are also maintained and operated according to the best practices and guidelines, such as the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) guides and the Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) (Cristescu et al., 2020).

Health and safety regulations and their impact on the use, storage, and handling of construction materials

The construction industry is subject to various health and safety regulations that aim to protect workers and the public from the hazards associated with the use, storage, and handling of construction materials. Some of the relevant regulations that might have been implemented in this residential building are:

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) set out the duties and responsibilities of the client, the principal designer, the principal contractor, the designers, and the contractors in relation to health and safety throughout the construction project. This ensures that the unit that has been built complies with the regulations of the professional building, which is a safe place for residents as the builders are certified to do the work (Cristescu et al., 2020).

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (MHOR 1992) require employers to avoid, assess, and reduce the risk of injury from manual handling activities, such as lifting, carrying, pushing, or pulling loads. This regulation not only keeps the employees safe but also makes building this unit faster and safer for the manual workers who operate on the site on a daily basis till its completion (Fleming, 2005).

The Waste Management Regulations 2011 (WMR 2011) implement the EU Waste Framework Directive and require the application of the waste hierarchy, the duty of care, and the waste management licensing system. The waste management system in this residential unit is connected to the sewer line. Appropriate waste management makes this unit liveable as the air quality is good, and the environment looks good.

These regulations have a significant impact on the use, storage, and handling of the construction materials used in residential buildings, such as timber, concrete, glass, and insulation materials. For example:

CDM 2015 requires the client to provide the principal designer with the pre-construction information, which includes information about the materials to be used, stored and handled on-site and any associated risks or hazards (Cristescu et al., 2020). CDM 2015 also requires the principal designer to eliminate, reduce, or control any foreseeable risks arising from the design, including the choice of materials, and to provide the principal contractor with the health and safety file, which contains information about the materials used in the construction.

CDM 2015 further requires the principal contractor to plan, manage, and monitor the construction phase, including the use, storage, and handling of materials, and to provide the contractors with the construction phase plan, which specifies the arrangements for health and safety on site. These directions can help keep people safe while hastening the time for the construction to be finished (Katib, 2009).

MHOR 1992 requires employers to assess the risk of injury from manual handling of materials, such as timber, concrete, glass, and insulation materials, and to take appropriate measures to avoid or reduce the risk, such as using mechanical aids, providing training, or changing the work methods (Thamboo et al., 2021). This manual prevents these employees from harming themselves or putting themselves in line with impending danger that they may not be aware of.

WMR 2011 requires the producers of waste, such as timber, concrete, glass, and insulation materials, to apply the waste hierarchy, which prioritizes the prevention, reuse, recycling, recovery, and disposal of waste and to ensure that the waste is transferred to an authorized person who can deal with it safely and legally. Reusing timber byproducts helps save the environment by not cutting down more trees to make some wood products that can be used to furnish a house. For example, the cabinets can be made from timber byproducts that have been reprocessed and compacted together to form different blocks of wood, for instance, the MDF boards.

Risk assessments are a vital tool to monitor and control the risks associated with the use, storage, and handling of construction materials, such as manual handling, fire, falling objects, and waste disposal. Risk assessments involve the following steps:

  • Identify the hazards, such as the potential sources of harm or damage from the materials or the activities involving them.
  • Evaluate the risks, such as the likelihood and severity of harm or damage occurring from the hazards.
  • Decide on the control measures, such as the actions or precautions to eliminate, reduce, or manage the risks.
  • Implement control measures, such as providing equipment, training, supervision, or signage to ensure the safety of the workers and the public.
  • Review the control measures, such as checking their effectiveness, updating them if necessary, or reporting any incidents or near misses. If there is a problem, it should be addressed immediately.


Thus, this essay has focused on the effects of material selection on human comfort in residential buildings and the impact of regulatory illumination that may affect the use, storage, and handling of building materials in the 20th century. This report has demonstrated how various materials can influence the thermal, visual, acoustic, and indoor air quality of buildings once the service of the building provides comfort to the occupants. It has further demonstrated that rules like the CDM 2015, MHOR 1992, and WMR 2011 have the capability of protecting both workers and the general population from the hazards of the materials, as well as the fact that risk assessments can be used to monitor and control the risks.

Implications of the Report

The main implication of this essay is that material selection is not only a technical or aesthetic decision but also a social and environmental one, as it can have significant consequences for the well-being of the people and the planet. Therefore, it is essential to consider the comfort and safety aspects of materials in the design and construction of residential buildings and to follow the relevant standards and guidelines to ensure the best outcomes (Martin, Weidner, & Gullström, 2022).


Some recommendations for future research or practice are:

  • To explore the use of alternative or innovative materials that can offer better comfort and safety performance, such as nanomaterials, biobased materials, or smart materials (Casini, 2016).
  • To evaluate the life cycle impacts of materials on human comfort and health, such as embodied energy, carbon, and water, and the potential for reuse or recycling.
  • To develop and implement more effective tools and methods for assessing and managing the risks associated with materials, such as digital technologies and sensors (Fleming, 2005).


Casini, M. (2016) Smart Buildings: Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology to Improve Energy. Duxford: Woodhead Publishing.

Chudley, R. and Greeno, R. (2020) Building Construction Handbook. 12th ed. Abingdon: Routledge.

Chudley, R. et al. (2012) Advanced Construction Technology. 5th ed. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.

Cristescu, C., Honfi, D., Sandberg, K., Sandin, Y., Shotton, E., Walsh, S.J., Cramer, M., Ridley-Ellis, D., Harte, A., Ui Chulana, C. and Risse, M., 2020. Design for deconstruction and reuse of timber structures–state of the art review.

Fleming, E. (2005) Construction Technology: An Illustrated Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell

Glad, W., and Gramfält, M. (2020, November). Relational materialism in passive house designs–mundane work and tinkering in Vallastaden’s low-energy buildings. In IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science (Vol. 588, No. 2, p. 022053). IOP Publishing.

Greeno, R. (2012) Mitchell’s Introduction to Building. 7th ed. Abingdon: Routledge.

Hegab, H., Khanna, N., Monib, N. and Salem, A., 2023. Design for sustainable additive manufacturing: A review. Sustainable Materials and Technologies, p.e00576.

Katib, J.M. (2009) Sustainability of Construction Materials. Abingdon: Woodhead Publishing Ltd.

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Margani, G., Evola, G., Tardo, C. and Marino, E.M., 2020. Energy, seismic, and architectural renovation of RC framed buildings with prefabricated timber panels—sustainability, 12(12), p.4845.

Martin, M., Weidner, T., & Gullström, C. (2022). Estimating the potential of building integration and regional synergies to improve the environmental performance of urban vertical farming. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 6, 849304.

Pacheco-torga, F. et al. 2013. Eco-efficient Construction and Building Materials, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), Eco-Labelling and Case Studies. London: Springer

Scragg, E. and Bickley, C., 2022. Super sharehouse. Sanctuary: Modern Green Homes, (58), pp.49-53.

Thamboo, J., Zahra, T., Navaratnam, S., Asad, M. and Poologanathan, K., 2021. Prospects of developing prefabricated masonry walling systems in Australia. Buildings, 11(7), p.294.


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