PBC Today October 2015

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Europe’s cities are the engines of the European economy, providing jobs and services, and serve as catalysts for creativity and innovation. They have the capacity to find new ways to deal with fast-changing societal, economic and environmental realities according to Corina Creţu, Commissioner for Regional Policy at the European Commission. Cretu opens this edition discussing how the EU Urban Agenda is about enabling cities to fully contribute to shared priorities and deliver concrete benefits for citizens.

She emphasises that this agenda is not about more regulation, but about better regulation, more transparency and coordination in what the EU is already doing.

Closer to home, analysis of the UK’s housing shortage never seems to go away, and this edition presents the view from Jon Reeds, Convenor of the Smart Growth UK coalition who argues that to solve the housing crises, we should examine our approach to residential densities and concentrate development within conurbations.

He notes that those profiting from the greenfield binge of recent years are quick to stress the expense of reclaiming brownfield sites, but omit to mention that urban extensions and new settlements place far higher demands on the public purse for new infrastructure.

The use of brownfield land continues with Natasha Levanti writing on behalf of the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) outlining a sustainable way forward in both housing and commercial development of brownfield land. She believes that brownfield development is a potential solution to the housing crisis.

Turning our attention to digital construction, as Peter Hansford nears the end of his Government Chief Construction Adviser role, he provides a retrospective look at the adoption of BIM highlighting 3 key areas that have enabled the UK to become a world leader. He says that “should history record that Paul Morrell and I have contributed to BIM adoption then this would be a satisfying achievement. I have never regarded BIM as the panacea for transforming construction, but there is no doubt that it is a vital ingredient.”

The Smart Cities and BIM section is packed with informative articles from key people like Dave Philp, Alan Muse, Chris Witte, Karen Alford and Martin Large amongst many others to mention here. If BIM and digital construction is your interest area, then please head over to that section.

The Building Control area of the publication provides some key themes too, including the adoption of the Housing Standards Review, how the CDM 2015 Regulations have been affecting the industry, and even how your right to light should be viewed.

As ever, there is too much to be able to note here, but please do get in touch with any comments you have.

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