APBC Northern Ireland 2

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Welcome to the 2nd edition of Planning and Building Control Today, Northern Ireland. We open this edition with an article from PLACE – the Northern Ireland Built Environment Centre who are an independent, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the making of great places across Northern Ireland. Their article outlines that the key challenge in the coming years for local councils is to develop joined-up and coherent development plans that create high quality spaces and encourage economic investment. This is an incredibly important development that must take place with the transfer of planning powers back to local government in 2015. It is vital that councils recognise that significant opportunities to shape and develop communities will be available and that the decisions made will affect the places in which we want to live. Local authorities and developers will also be interested in an article from Noel Farrer of the Landscape Institute who argues that by considering effective landscaping within developments, not only are good places delivered, but they are valued and maintained, making them sustainable as well as profitable for all. David Philp of the UK BIM Task Group also makes a welcome return with an article outlining how BIM can help industry to collaborate and deliver better outcomes, and the National Federation of Builders comment on their 2014 Contractor Survey Builders revealing an industry increase of readiness for BIM, but also that some barriers to adoption remain. Specific barriers to adoption were identified as: a lack of information available for companies to make an informed decision about BIM; a lack of client of demand; and prohibitively high investment costs. This edition also turns its attention to the subject of energy efficiency with articles from the Energy Saving Trust discussing the benefits of solid wall insulation, Richard Sharpe of Exeter University warning of the dangers of poor ventilation, and Nick Ralph of MIMA on how to close the performance gap. All quite timely pieces considering we are now in the winter months. As ever, comments and suggestions for future editions are always welcome, so please get in touch with the editorial team if you have anything to say.

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