What are IBTs
Literature provides various definitions and perspectives on what innovative and/or alternative building technologies are. Although the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) recognises that there are more inclusive definitions, its definitions are based on its major objective; which is to ensure the structural integrity of a house for which warranty cover is provided. Dictionaries define ‘innovation’ as ‘introducing something new’. An innovation is something that is new, is positively different, or is better than what was there before.
The construction industry interchangeably uses the terminology of either alternative or innovative building technology to describe the new technology of a building. The NHBRC has taken the position that the term innovative building technology (IBT) is more inclusive of all innovation in artefacts or processes.
It is also stipulated in the Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act of 1998 (No 95 of 1998), as amended, what non-standardised construction means to which IBT relates, which is defined as any form of building that utilises building systems, methods, materials, elements or components which are not fully covered by existing standards and specifications or codes of practice and/ or which are not described or referred to in “deemed-to-satisfy” rules of the National Building Regulations.
IBTs are also often contrasted with conventional/standard building systems, which can be defined as a building system, method, materials, elements or components, that are fully covered by existing standards and specifications or codes of practices.
Relevance of IBTs
Innovative building technologies (IBTs) can provide solutions to relevant challenges in both the public and private sector. Some benefits of using IBTs in housing projects (if designed and constructed appropriately) as compared to conventional construction methods, include cost savings, improved rate of construction, lower maintenance, improved energy efficiency, water savings, less wastage, improved embodied energy and social acceptability.
Over time IBTs will become more disruptive and hence more streamlined to be environmentally friendly. NHBRC has an interest in the development of innovative building technologies for homes to ensure compliance with the performance based regulatory system in terms of the National Building Regulations.