PBC Today April 2018


Welcome to the April 2018 edition of PBC Today. In this issue, Kate Henderson, chief executive of the Town & Country Planning Association, looks at how we can deliver more genuinely affordable housing – and argues that councils have a key role to play

Elsewhere, Ian Gough of BAFSA examines the fallout of the Echo Arena carpark fire, which destroyed 1,400 cars, and Daniel Stern of Slater Heelis discussed the thorny issue of who pays to replace cladding in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

We also look at everything from the growing adoption of drones, blockchain and holomeeting technology to the construction industry’s productivity challenge, the strain on the UK’s flood defences and the impending General Data Protection Regulation, plus much more. Here’s a selection of what’s on offer:

1. How can councils secure the delivery of more affordable homes?

It’s time to take the brakes off councils so they can deliver the affordable homes and communities we need, says Town & Country Planning Association chief executive Kate Henderson.

2. Fire suppression in car parks

After the devastating fire in the Echo Arena car park, Ian Gough of BAFSA says the warning signs were clear – and highlights the hard evidence that sprinkler systems can significantly reduce the damage and danger caused by such incidents.

3. In the shadow of Grenfell


The Grenfell Tower fire has prompted a nationwide examination of cladding used on high-rise towers. But who is responsible for dealing with the cost of replacing potentially dangerous materials? Daniel Stern of Slater Heelis examines where the law stands.

4. Could our housing crisis turn into a flooding crisis?

Can we deliver 300,000 new homes a year without exacerbating the strain on urban surface water flooding infrastructure that is already struggling to cope in some areas? Matthew Elliot of WYG takes a look.

5. Blockchain and smart contracts: Binary solutions in a non-binary industry?

Legal expert and BIM specialist May Winfield examines the benefits, risk and future development of blockchain and smart contracts in construction.

6. Building the coastal town template for the future

Graham Boase of Denbighshire County Council discusses the authority’s efforts to regenerate Rhyl for a new generation of residents – and how the search for better work/life balance offers an outstanding opportunity for other seaside towns.

7. Quantifying the benefits of offsite construction

CIRIA, working with its members, industry partners and Buildoffsite, is poised to start work on producing good practice guidance for quantifying the benefits of offsite construction. This guidance is needed now, it would seem, more than ever to encourage and accelerate its uptake into mainstream construction practices, says Kieran Tully.

8. Assessing the risks of nanomaterials in construction

Professor Alistair Gibb and Dr Wendy Jones of Loughborough University discuss new guidance looking at the possible health risks associated with the growing use of nanomaterials in construction.

9. Is the sustainability assessment method BREEAM still relevant?

Becky Armstrong, Associate at Eight Associates, examines the evolution of the BREEAM sustainability assessment methodology and rating system – and asks if it is still relevant to the built environment.

10. Building for the future: Increasing productivity must be top priority for construction

Simon Cross, director of SiteSmart at BRE and a member of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC), says increasing productivity – now more than ever as we lead up to Brexit – should be the sector’s number one priority in 2018.



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