PBC Today November 2020

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PBC Today November 2020 brings you a wealth of insight and opinion exploring planning, BIM and construction as the UK prepares to enter a second national lockdown

Bob Blackman MP, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Building Communities, discusses its latest report, Productive Placemaking, which argues that linking place, planning and productivity will be in tackling the challenges of the housing crisis and “building back better” post-Covid.

Meanwhile, with the government proposing wide-ranging reforms to the planning system, Lord German OBE of the cross-party Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee raises concerns that it could reduce local scrutiny of planning applications.

Elsewhere, HS2 has been the first major infrastructure project to adopt digital engineering, with BIM at its core, at the very earliest stages of the project to allow future benchmarking to be delivered over the entire lifecycle – and in real time. Dr Sonia Zahiroddiny, head of digital engineering at HS2, explains how it works.

There’s much more besides. Sue Ryan of Gowling WLG examines the Building Safety Bill, Phil Hall of the Association of Accounting Technicians discusses further delays to the domestic VAT reverse charge for construction and Karl Desai of the UK Green Building Council looks at the challenges in decarbonising the built environment.

With the Advanced Industrialised Methods for the Construction of Homes project reaching the halfway stage, project director Stewart Dalgarno provides an update on its progress to date – and the next stage of the journey.

We also hear from the UK Asbestos Training Association, which is calling for urgent action to address a sharp drop in asbestos training during Covid-19 in order to head off a potentially devastating health crisis, while Julie Lock of Mitrefinch argues that mental health needs to be a top priority for UK construction companies.

Here’s a selection of what is in store:

  1. Making the link between place, planning and productivity

Bob Blackman MP, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Building Communities, discusses its latest report, Productive Placemaking.

  1. Are planning changes eliminating local scrutiny by the back door?

Wide-ranging government proposals would result in a concerning reduction in the level of scrutiny planning applications receive from local councils and the people they represent, says Lord German OBE of the cross-party Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee.

  1. What does digital engineering mean to HS2?

HS2 is the first major infrastructure programme to adopt digital engineering, with BIM at its core, at the very earliest stages of the project to allow future benchmarking to be delivered over the entire lifecycle – and in real time. Head of digital engineering Dr Sonia Zahiroddiny explains how it works.

  1. Opportunity in adversity: Time to act to transform construction

Following publication of the Transforming Construction report, Professor Cam Middleton, director of the University of Cambridge Laing O’Rourke Centre for Construction Engineering & Technology, reflects on the current opportunity for the industry to make change happen in a post-Covid-19 world.

  1. Tackling the housing shortage: Wind and watertight in a day

With the Advanced Industrialised Methods for the Construction of Homes project reaching the halfway stage, project director Stewart Dalgarno provides an update on its progress to date and the next stage of the journey.

  1. Delivering a net-zero carbon built environment

Momentum for sustainable buildings is building rapidly, but how will the UK’s property and construction sector tackle all the challenges that lie ahead in completely decarbonising the built environment? Karl Desai, senior adviser for Advancing Net Zero at the UK Green Building Council, takes a look.

  1. The draft Building Safety Bill: Major reform on its way

The draft Building Safety Bill is intended to introduce major reforms of the safety regime in the wake of the Hackitt Review. Sue Ryan, partner at law firm Gowling WLG, examines the changes it puts forward.

  1. Lessons from lockdown: How the UK construction industry is bouncing back

Covid-19 has taken its toll on construction sector productivity, but as Fieldfisher construction specialists Cecily Davis, Dan Preston and Helen Andrews explain, the industry is adapting positively to changes in working practices brought about by the pandemic.

  1. The Forge: Quantifying the value of P-DfMA and digital delivery

The Centre for Digital Built Britain, as part of the Construction Innovation Hub, is supporting a ground-breaking commercial development. Thayla Zomer, a research student embedded in the project team, reports on her work assessing the benefits to industry of applying Modern Methods of Construction and a digital delivery approach to a commercial development.

  1. Asbestos training during Covid: A matter of life and death

Asbestos training in the construction industry has dropped sharply during the Covid-19 pandemic to the lowest level in five years. The UK Asbestos Training Association is raising concerns at this fall and calling for urgent action to avert a serious crisis.

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