APBC Northern Ireland 3

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Welcome to the March edition of Planning and Building Control Today – Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland’s planning system is on the cusp of momentous changes with local government reforms seeing 11 new councils holding planning powers by 1st April 2015. It is an exciting time, but one not without challenges. Not least of those challenges is ensuring that the transfer of powers from the Department of the Environment, to the councils is done as seamlessly as possible. The ultimate result of the new planning system should see huge benefits, not only for communities, but for developers alike. NILGA, the Northern Ireland Local Government Association is confident that the new plan-led system will provide greater clarity for all, and will encourage the formation of healthy working relationships between the various participants in the planning process. One area that must be addressed through the planning system is that of flooding which is a national infrastructure concern. This issue examines the latest government consultation on the SuDs programme with Sam Ibbott of the Environmental Industries Commission who looks at how this will be delivered through the planning system. With an ever-increasing call for more housing to be built, and all political parties likely to make a related commitment in their general election manifestos this year, it is important to get SuDS regulations in place as soon as possible as our towns, cities, and urban spaces become ever more densely populated. In terms of BIM, this year has seen the Digital Plan of Work toolkit released along with PAS 1192-5. This issue contains an article from Stephen Hamil, Director of Design and Innovation and Head of BIM at RIBA Enterprises, discussing the Digital Plan of Work toolkit. Steve Thompson, Chair of BIM4M2 and Market Manager for Construction & Infrastructure at Tata Steel evaluates the product information required and how it can be delivered, and Sarah Birchall of BSRIA describes what is required by Government Soft Landings. We also have a very interesting article from Martyn Horne of the Landscape Institute’s BIM Working Group highlighting how landscape architects can collaborate and share information with their project teams in the evolving process of BIM. This edition also looks at energy efficiency with articles detailing fuel poverty and mitigating energy losses within buildings – another key topic for this time of year. Whatever your profession, I hope you find something of interest in this issue and look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments.

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