PBC Today November 2021


Welcome to a packed November edition of PBC Today. As we went to press, leaders from around the globe were heading to Glasgow for COP 26, the United Nations climate summit, which has been described as the last best chance to act on climate change

The built environment, not only what we build in the future but also, crucially, what already exists, will have a major role to play if the UK is to reach its net zero targets. In this issue, we look at some of the issues and challenges that construction, architecture and engineering will face in order to cut emissions.

David Philp of the Construction Innovation Hub discusses Transforming Infrastructure Performance and its Roadmap to 2030, which set out the government’s ambitions for high quality, sustainable infrastructure that will set the country on the path towards net zero.

Elsewhere, Keith Howells of the Institution of Civil Engineers calls on the National Infrastructure Commission’s second National Infrastructure Assessment to prioritise climate action, while the Association for Project Management’s Andrew Baldwin argues that lessons must be learned from the failure of the Green Homes Grant if we are to meet net zero ambitions.

Simon Storer of the Insulation Manufacturers Association looks at meeting emission reduction targets through retrofitting, Ben Griffiths of Rye Group urges the demolition industry to go beyond carbon offsetting and we examine the Decarbonising Construction report from the National Engineering Policy Centre, which calls on the industry to go further and faster in cutting emissions.

We also take a look at the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre‘s Transforming Timber Initiative, which aims to boost the use of homegrown sustainable timber and has secured funding to create a demonstrator home for COP26, and the European Build in Wood initiative, which aims to make timber the construction material of choice for multi-storey buildings.

There is much, much more on offer, from a look at the winners of the 2021 RIBA Stirling Prize and the COINS Grand Challenge to 4D BIM, why the water sector needs to embrace MMC and how data management can make the industry safer.

Here’s a selection of what’s inside this edition:

  1. Supporting TIP to 2030 – and beyond

The Construction Innovation Hub’s focus on innovation is central to the delivery of the Transforming Infrastructure Performance Roadmap to 2030 against a backdrop of an ever-increasing digitalised and technologically advanced built environment, writes impact director David Philp.

  1. What needs to be in the second National Infrastructure Assessment?

With major challenges on the horizon – including the growth and ageing of the population, coupled with the need to adapt to a changing climate – it is essential that we take a long-term approach to infrastructure planning, says Keith Howells FICE, trustee of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

  1. Roundtable: The Heat & Buildings Strategy

The government has published the Heat & Buildings Strategy, its plan to drive down the cost of clean heating by incentivising householders to replace their old gas boilers with low-carbon alternatives, such as air source heat pumps.

  1. NABERS UK: Energy efficiency ratings for offices

The Better Building Partnership’s Design for Performance initiative, in partnership with NABERS and the BRE, has launched the NABERS UK energy performance rating scheme for offices. BRE’s Ruby Smith takes a look.

  1. From design to where? Changing quality post-planning consent

A new study, winner of the Royal Town Planning Institute’s Sir Peter Hall Award for Research Excellence, has highlighted how housing developments can undergo significant changes between securing planning permission and starting on site – and not always for the better. Research lead Hannah Hickman of the University of the West of England discusses this vital but often overlooked area of planning.

  1. Transforming the UK’s approach to homegrown timber

The Transforming Timber initiative, led by Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, aims to boost the use of homegrown sustainable timber in mainstream construction projects. It has now secured funding to create a demonstrator home ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference taking place in Glasgow.

  1. Water: Time to embrace change

The water sector needs to embrace a “production line” approach, Modern Methods of Construction and offsite assembly to futureproof the industry and secure supplies, says Chris Tyerman, managing director for infrastructure at Tilbury Douglas.

8. Environmentally and socially sustainable multi-storey buildings

The European project Build-in-Wood aims to make timber the natural choice of material for multi-storey buildings.

  1. 4D BIM: What does it mean and how can I get involved?

James Bowles of Freeform and Harlene Gill of Buro Happold explain why 4D is not just a buzzword and why projects need some standards to realise the full benefits.

  1. How to measure the success of a digital twin

Ali Nicholl from Iotics explores “what good looks like” when it comes to digital twins.


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