PBC Today August 2022

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Welcome to the PBC Today August 2022 edition. As Boris Johnson edges towards the exit of Number 10 and we await the outcome of the Conservative leadership contest between Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, this month we explore the future of many key policy areas, from levelling up and net zero to housebuilding, infrastructure and reviving high streets

Whoever enters Number 10 faces a groaning inbox of issues both domestic and foreign, not least a potentially catastrophic cost of living crisis. In our cover story for PBC Today August 2022, Gillian Charlesworth, CEO of the Building Research Establishment, warns there is no time to waste and that acting on fuel poverty must be front and centre in tackling the cost of living while supporting the drive to net zero.

Dr Hywell Davies of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers examines the Building Safety Act and asks if Grenfell will prove to be construction’s “Piper Alpha moment” in bringing about a radical shift in safety and culture.

Government help needed to reduce construction CO2 emissions

We also hear from Philp Dunne MP, chair of the cross-party Environmental Audit Committee, on the need for government action to help reduce CO2 emissions from construction, while Professor Peter Guthrie OBE FREng, vice-president of the Royal Academy of Engineering, discusses its call for transformational changes across the built environment and its underlying regulatory framework in response to the weaknesses uncovered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Progress of the Levelling Up & Regeneration Bill

We also check the state of play with the Levelling Up & Regeneration Bill as it makes its way through Parliament, the latest efforts improve diversity in construction, mental health in the industry and the need to protect workers from silica dust, which has been dubbed the “new asbestos”.

On top of that, there is expert insight on micromobility strategies, the legal options available to developers on nutrient neutrality, better planning for housing for seniors and biodiversity net gain.

AIMCH R&D project trials industrialised housing techniques

In our MMC & Offsite section, we look at the AIMCH R&D project to develop, trial and scale up industrialised housing techniques, Make UK Modular’s creation as the voice of volumetric modular housebuilders and new research looking at how factory-built homes can cut carbon.

In BIM & Digital, our contributors discuss the future of BIM compliance, the progress of digitalisation of procurement 18 months on from the publication of the Construction Playbook and how automation and IoT can help drive effective change in preventing legionella.

Here’s a selection of the articles in PBC Today August 2022:

  1. Fuel poverty, cost of living and the drive to net zero

Tackling fuel poverty should be front and centre amid the cost of living crisis and the drive to net zero, says Gillian Charlesworth, CEO of the Building Research Establishment.

  1. How can the construction industry build towards a net zero future?

In May, the cross-party Environmental Audit Committee published a report calling for government action to help reduce CO2 emissions from construction, including the introduction of mandatory whole-life carbon assessments for buildings. Committee chair Philip Dunne MP discusses the need for action to meet net zero goals.

3. How can we build a healthier built environment post Covid-19?

Professor Peter Guthrie OBE FREng, vice-president of the Royal Academy of Engineering, discusses its call for transformational changes across the built environment and its underlying regulatory framework in response to the weaknesses uncovered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

  1. Time for change: Will the Grenfell Tower fire prove construction’s Piper Alpha moment?

The Building Safety Act is a welcome recognition that making safe buildings is a highly skilled operation, says Dr Hywel Davies of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers.

  1. Building diversity in construction

In the UK, fewer than 2% of tradespeople are female. In 2022 this is a shocking statistic and when compared with North America, where the figure rises to 10%. It shows we still have a very long way to go when it comes to diversity in construction, says Sandi Rhys-Jones, senior vice-president of the Chartered Institute of Building.

  1. Micromobility: Designing a transport revolution

Federico Cassani, partner and global director of transport and mobility at engineering consultancy Buro Happold, explores how we can transform urban areas to integrate new micromobility infrastructure and kickstart a new transport revolution.

  1. Making the stars align for building net zero carbon homes

As AIMCH, the UK’s flagship collaborative R&D project, whose aim has been to develop, trial and scale up industrialised housing techniques, ends, project director Stewart Dalgarno reflects on its achievements and predicts what’s next on the agenda for building net zero carbon homes.

  1. How factory-built homes can cut carbon

Modular construction is playing a vital role in the construction sector’s battle to cut carbon emissions with factory-built homes, says Nick Hillard, ESG lead at Tide Construction.

  1. BIM compliance: Let’s “do BIM” differently

BIM is a standard, a way of working, not a task, says Matt Samways of AIMIS. Here, he explores the future of BIM compliance.

  1. Digitisation of procurement is the only way to the gold standard

Eighteen months on from the publication of the Construction Playbook, just how well is the industry doing in meeting the needs for increased digitisation of procurement? Julian Penna, product owner for MyPagabo, says that while the pieces of the puzzle are all there, the industry as a whole is still a few steps away from completing the jigsaw.

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