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Talk. Build 's Entries

  • 18 Jul 2017
    The importance of sustainability is recognised the world over but it means different things to different people. For many it is about low environmental impact, whether that is in terms of performance or delivery. However it is so much more than that and for a global business such as Sika, it is imperative that we fully embrace sustainability and practice what we preach. As a business, sustainability is embedded into everything we do – it affects us economically, environmentally and socially. It is a fundamental part of our everyday business. As a leading manufacturer of products working across multiple industry sectors (see http://bit.ly/2o8Ca6Z) and as a responsible employer, sustainability affects our thoughts, behaviors and actions – everyday. For us, sustainability is a shared goal but one whose successes directly benefit all. At Sika we strongly believe in the holistic approach to sustainability and as such have six sustainability target indicators which encompass the three traditional pillars of sustainability. These targets – economic performance; sustainable solutions; local communities/society; energy; water/waste; and occupational safety – define what we do on a day to day basis from a business strategy and culture perspective. Transparency is the hallmark of an ethical company, therefore Sika has committed to using the GRIs (Global Reporting Initiative) sustainability reporting standards for our Annual Report, which details initiatives implemented and progress towards our six sustainability targets. GRI provides the world’s most widely used sustainability reporting standards – 92% of the world’s largest 250 corporations report on their sustainability performance and 74% of these companies use GRI’s standards. Embracing GRI not only illustrates to Sika’s stakeholders the importance that we place on sustainability, but also demonstrates that we are not afraid of being open and honest – Building Trust with customers and local communities alike. GRI compares Sika’s performance, year on year. This approach allows us to base our sustainability credentials on fact and not on green wash. This is exceptionally important for a company like Sika that produces hundreds of different products, in dozens of different countries, as customers need to have the confidence that what they are specifying or installing is not only fit-for-purpose but also meets their sustainability needs. As a global company, a global approach to sustainability is required, as demonstrated by our membership of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and our commitment to the UN Global Compact.  Further illustration of our commitment includes 150 tonnes of waste saved and reused at a plant in Germany; a 60% saving of lighting energy at a number of our European factories and warehouses and 6% saving in electricity using outside cooling for processing at a plant in the US. Sika also work with the Global Nature Fund who have developed partnerships with over 100 organisations to address drinking water conservation globally. Additionally, in Thailand and Vietnam, Sika staff have volunteered over 3,600 hours to support Operation Smile International which is dedicated to providing free treatment to children and adults suffering from cleft lips and palates. Sustainability is in everything we do, every day. It affects all of us and as a business we are proud to practice what we preach and play our part in delivering a more sustainable future. By Dr Sarah Peake, Sustainability Manager at Sika UK  To find out more about the impact Sika are making every day, visit http://gbr.sika.com/en/group/about-us/sika-everyday.html
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The importance of sustainability is recognised the world over but it means different things to different people. For many it is about low environmental impact, whether that is in terms of performance or delivery. However it is so much more than that and for a global business such as Sika, it is imperative that we fully embrace sustainability and practice what we preach. As a business, sustainability is embedded into everything we do – it affects us economically, environmentally and socially. It is a fundamental part of our everyday business. As a leading manufacturer of products working across multiple industry sectors (see http://bit.ly/2o8Ca6Z) and as a responsible employer, sustainability affects our thoughts, behaviors and actions – everyday. For us, sustainability is a shared goal but one whose successes directly benefit all. At Sika we strongly believe in the holistic approach to sustainability and as such have six sustainability target indicators which encompass the three traditional pillars of sustainability. These targets – economic performance; sustainable solutions; local communities/society; energy; water/waste; and occupational safety – define what we do on a day to day basis from a business strategy and culture perspective. Transparency is the hallmark of an ethical company, therefore Sika has committed to using the GRIs (Global Reporting Initiative) sustainability reporting standards for our Annual Report, which details initiatives implemented and progress towards our six sustainability targets. GRI provides the world’s most widely used sustainability reporting standards – 92% of the world’s largest 250 corporations report on their sustainability performance and 74% of these companies use GRI’s standards. Embracing GRI not only illustrates to Sika’s stakeholders the importance that we place on sustainability, but also demonstrates that we are not afraid of being open and honest – Building Trust with customers and local communities alike. GRI compares Sika’s performance, year on year. This approach allows us to base our sustainability credentials on fact and not on green wash. This is exceptionally important for a company like Sika that produces hundreds of different products, in dozens of different countries, as customers need to have the confidence that what they are specifying or installing is not only fit-for-purpose but also meets their sustainability needs. As a global company, a global approach to sustainability is required, as demonstrated by our membership of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and our commitment to the UN Global Compact.  Further illustration of our commitment includes 150 tonnes of waste saved and reused at a plant in Germany; a 60% saving of lighting energy at a number of our European factories and warehouses and 6% saving in electricity using outside cooling for processing at a plant in the US. Sika also work with the Global Nature Fund who have developed partnerships with over 100 organisations to address drinking water conservation globally. Additionally, in Thailand and Vietnam, Sika staff have volunteered over 3,600 hours to support Operation Smile International which is dedicated to providing free treatment to children and adults suffering from cleft lips and palates. Sustainability is in everything we do, every day. It affects all of us and as a business we are proud to practice what we preach and play our part in delivering a more sustainable future. By Dr Sarah Peake, Sustainability Manager at Sika UK  To find out more about the impact Sika are making every day, visit http://gbr.sika.com/en/group/about-us/sika-everyday.html
    Jul 18, 2017 0
  • 03 Jul 2017
    Skeptics among us might say that we don’t need another building standard, but when you consider that we spend over 90% of our time indoors, it would seem prudent that the physical places where we live, work and play should be built for health and wellness. The WELL Building Standard™ (WELL) is the first building standard to focus on just that – the health and wellness of the people in buildings – and is set to become the benchmark across the globe. The workplace environment can have a huge impact on the health of an employee.  Indoor air pollutants such as solvents from paints or cleaners, poor lighting, or noisy and overcrowded offices can all contribute to sick-building syndrome, poor health and stress among workers. When you put health and wellbeing at the centre of any design brief, it will have a positive impact on staff. Put simply: a building that is good for the worker, is also good for the bottom line. Informed by a seven-year programme of scientific and medical research and peer-reviewed studies, the WELL Building Standard™ (WELL) is a rating based system that sets performance requirements on seven ‘Concepts’ – air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind – and demonstrates the connection between a building and its impact on people’s health and wellness.  This can help create an environment that improves nutrition, fitness, mood, sleep patterns, and performance of its occupants.   The needs and requirements of people within a building is something that everybody can identify with, irrespective of where you are from and what belief system you have. The health and wellbeing agenda is looking at the things we connect with, both purposefully and with an end in mind. This will help drive and encourage the owners of a building or company to connect with their staff better. When you work for a large organisation, it’s sometimes hard to feel connected with it. By creating an environment that is better for employees, there is a greater likelihood of them being connected to their workplace, from which they can be productive and flourish.  The industry’s first benchmark for human health and wellness is a step in the right direction and something Darren Evans Assessments is going to be adopting and encouraging. It’s good for us all to work for organisations that are actually interested in their peopleand take employee health and wellbeing seriously. This is an important factor when choosing where you work. What is the ethos of the company and how transparent is it?  Creating sustainable buildings which make occupants feel better as well as happier and more productive should therefore be a given. It should become part of the culture of a business. The challenge is how do we adopt wellness in the same way that we have embraced sustainability?  We wholeheartedly believe that wellbeing should be a part of every building whether it’s a home, school, hospital or an office and look forward to working with project teams to identify how they can reach the various levels of WELL Certification.  After all, why should anyone be in a building which is detrimental to their health? By Darren Evans, Managing Director, Darren Evans Assessments. Visit: http://www.darren-evans.co.uk/
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Skeptics among us might say that we don’t need another building standard, but when you consider that we spend over 90% of our time indoors, it would seem prudent that the physical places where we live, work and play should be built for health and wellness. The WELL Building Standard™ (WELL) is the first building standard to focus on just that – the health and wellness of the people in buildings – and is set to become the benchmark across the globe. The workplace environment can have a huge impact on the health of an employee.  Indoor air pollutants such as solvents from paints or cleaners, poor lighting, or noisy and overcrowded offices can all contribute to sick-building syndrome, poor health and stress among workers. When you put health and wellbeing at the centre of any design brief, it will have a positive impact on staff. Put simply: a building that is good for the worker, is also good for the bottom line. Informed by a seven-year programme of scientific and medical research and peer-reviewed studies, the WELL Building Standard™ (WELL) is a rating based system that sets performance requirements on seven ‘Concepts’ – air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind – and demonstrates the connection between a building and its impact on people’s health and wellness.  This can help create an environment that improves nutrition, fitness, mood, sleep patterns, and performance of its occupants.   The needs and requirements of people within a building is something that everybody can identify with, irrespective of where you are from and what belief system you have. The health and wellbeing agenda is looking at the things we connect with, both purposefully and with an end in mind. This will help drive and encourage the owners of a building or company to connect with their staff better. When you work for a large organisation, it’s sometimes hard to feel connected with it. By creating an environment that is better for employees, there is a greater likelihood of them being connected to their workplace, from which they can be productive and flourish.  The industry’s first benchmark for human health and wellness is a step in the right direction and something Darren Evans Assessments is going to be adopting and encouraging. It’s good for us all to work for organisations that are actually interested in their peopleand take employee health and wellbeing seriously. This is an important factor when choosing where you work. What is the ethos of the company and how transparent is it?  Creating sustainable buildings which make occupants feel better as well as happier and more productive should therefore be a given. It should become part of the culture of a business. The challenge is how do we adopt wellness in the same way that we have embraced sustainability?  We wholeheartedly believe that wellbeing should be a part of every building whether it’s a home, school, hospital or an office and look forward to working with project teams to identify how they can reach the various levels of WELL Certification.  After all, why should anyone be in a building which is detrimental to their health? By Darren Evans, Managing Director, Darren Evans Assessments. Visit: http://www.darren-evans.co.uk/
    Jul 03, 2017 0
  • 02 Jul 2017
    By Darren Evans Assessments Ltd  There’s no denying the British love of wildlife but when it comes to planning applications, most of us have no idea what species are protected and what an ecology report entails. With planning consents being issued with ecological conditions added by the local authority, many developers, architects and building owners will overlook this aspect until it is too late. To prevent a development being held up, or at worst, a breach of planning consent, it’s vital that you include ecological assessments carried out by a qualified Ecologist at the earliest stage in a project’s development. Ecology is an important and integral part of planning, particularly as the UK has a large number of protected and notable species – from bats to badgers, reptiles to great crested newts – all of which carry their own complications when it comes to a planning application. Will my development harm any wildlife or their habitats?  How can any impacts be reduced? Whether large or small, most projects will not progress unless all ecological issues on a site have been identified and addressed. Furthermore, an Ecologist can also help a client throughout a BREEAM assessment to ensure that all land-use and ecology credits are maintained as well as offering helpful and constructive advice on how to get them. Potential developments should employ the services of a suitably qualified and licensed Ecologist who can provide an array of Ecological Assessments and surveys to help with planning needs and prevent any hold-ups when it comes to actually starting the work. An Ecologist should have an understanding of nature conservation legislation and planning, and be recognised by a relevant professional body such as CIEEM. It’s important to start the ecology process early because if a developer needs further surveys to make sure all ecological issues are addressed, they will have wiggle-room before a planning application is due, in order to make sure they satisfy all issues. For example, if you carried out a Bat Building Assessment to check for bats roosting in a building, you might then have to do a dusk/dawn survey in order to make sure the bats were not coming in-and-out of the building in the evening and morning.  You might have to go through the licensing process with Natural England which is a hefty, lengthy process if things are not done correctly, or to the standard of the bat guidelines by the Bat Conservation Trust.  More questions may come back and more surveys may be required. Getting things done sooner, rather than later, by employing a Licensed Bat Ecologist will save time and money, as well as achieving planning requirements.  The Local Planning Authority will dictate whether or not it requires an ecological assessment of a project as part of a planning application. This would be based on how the land in its district/county is valued by means of protected species it possesses. Normally when planning permission is approved, the LPA will have its own Ecologist, who would impartially assess the assessments/surveys of the Consultant Ecologist on the project in question and advise their LPA on whether the assessments/surveys have met the ecological criteria and considered all issues and options before planning is approved. Ecology can be daunting for the uninitiated, our Ecologist helps our clients through the planning process by providing the preliminary assessments to understand what issues are on a site and ensure any issues are tackled in a cost-effective and safe way. Visit - http://www.darren-evans.co.uk/    
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • By Darren Evans Assessments Ltd  There’s no denying the British love of wildlife but when it comes to planning applications, most of us have no idea what species are protected and what an ecology report entails. With planning consents being issued with ecological conditions added by the local authority, many developers, architects and building owners will overlook this aspect until it is too late. To prevent a development being held up, or at worst, a breach of planning consent, it’s vital that you include ecological assessments carried out by a qualified Ecologist at the earliest stage in a project’s development. Ecology is an important and integral part of planning, particularly as the UK has a large number of protected and notable species – from bats to badgers, reptiles to great crested newts – all of which carry their own complications when it comes to a planning application. Will my development harm any wildlife or their habitats?  How can any impacts be reduced? Whether large or small, most projects will not progress unless all ecological issues on a site have been identified and addressed. Furthermore, an Ecologist can also help a client throughout a BREEAM assessment to ensure that all land-use and ecology credits are maintained as well as offering helpful and constructive advice on how to get them. Potential developments should employ the services of a suitably qualified and licensed Ecologist who can provide an array of Ecological Assessments and surveys to help with planning needs and prevent any hold-ups when it comes to actually starting the work. An Ecologist should have an understanding of nature conservation legislation and planning, and be recognised by a relevant professional body such as CIEEM. It’s important to start the ecology process early because if a developer needs further surveys to make sure all ecological issues are addressed, they will have wiggle-room before a planning application is due, in order to make sure they satisfy all issues. For example, if you carried out a Bat Building Assessment to check for bats roosting in a building, you might then have to do a dusk/dawn survey in order to make sure the bats were not coming in-and-out of the building in the evening and morning.  You might have to go through the licensing process with Natural England which is a hefty, lengthy process if things are not done correctly, or to the standard of the bat guidelines by the Bat Conservation Trust.  More questions may come back and more surveys may be required. Getting things done sooner, rather than later, by employing a Licensed Bat Ecologist will save time and money, as well as achieving planning requirements.  The Local Planning Authority will dictate whether or not it requires an ecological assessment of a project as part of a planning application. This would be based on how the land in its district/county is valued by means of protected species it possesses. Normally when planning permission is approved, the LPA will have its own Ecologist, who would impartially assess the assessments/surveys of the Consultant Ecologist on the project in question and advise their LPA on whether the assessments/surveys have met the ecological criteria and considered all issues and options before planning is approved. Ecology can be daunting for the uninitiated, our Ecologist helps our clients through the planning process by providing the preliminary assessments to understand what issues are on a site and ensure any issues are tackled in a cost-effective and safe way. Visit - http://www.darren-evans.co.uk/    
    Jul 02, 2017 0
  • 01 Jul 2017
    By Steven Argent, Construction Director at QOB Group Many of us take the air that we breathe for granted, but in the workplace exposure to harmful chemicals can have a detrimental and serious impact on our health. Improving our indoor environment by using products with low or zero VOCs plays an important part in the health, wellbeing and productivity of the workplace. After all, a safe and healthy workplace should be a given. But how many of us really understand VOCs and is a low or zero VOC interior really achievable? Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are common air pollutants and you can be exposed to them by breathing polluted air that contains them. Emitted from certain solids or liquids, they can cause short-term health issues including eye and respiratory tract irritation, headaches and dizziness, to long-term damage to the liver, kidneys and central nervous system. The concentration of many VOCs is also much higher indoors than outdoors with organic chemicals widely used in the manufacture and maintenance of building materials, interior furnishings and cleaning supplies from paints to furniture, flooring to drywall and a whole lot more. Many of the building standards such as BREEAM and the WELL Building Standard are driving the industry towards lower VOCs. In the case of One Carter Lane in London, the first building in Europe to be delivered under WELL and a project where QOB were fit-out contractors, the VOC rating of all materials had to be between negligible and zero, ensuring that office fixtures, fittings and fabric did not expel harmful chemical or organic emissions. A flooring manufacturer offering low VOC, phthalate-free products and solutions which are sound-reducing and allergy approved will make a significant contribution towards creating a healthier workplace and meeting WELL certification, for example. The desire to meet the new standards such as WELL needs to be instigated by a client. Many believe that to achieve high environmental standards will come at a significant cost, but if the client spends money at the front-end of a project then the operational costs in the long-term will be lower due to increased productivity and staff wellbeing. It is surprising when you start to scrutinise products how difficult it can be to find materials that are natural and don’t contain any toxins. It’s critical that we stress the importance of education throughout all stages of the construction process, ensuring that building professionals and facility owners are aware of the low VOC material options that are available from suppliers and manufacturers. Specifiers and their clients need to think carefully about what is used and the long-term effects this has on building occupiers.
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • By Steven Argent, Construction Director at QOB Group Many of us take the air that we breathe for granted, but in the workplace exposure to harmful chemicals can have a detrimental and serious impact on our health. Improving our indoor environment by using products with low or zero VOCs plays an important part in the health, wellbeing and productivity of the workplace. After all, a safe and healthy workplace should be a given. But how many of us really understand VOCs and is a low or zero VOC interior really achievable? Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are common air pollutants and you can be exposed to them by breathing polluted air that contains them. Emitted from certain solids or liquids, they can cause short-term health issues including eye and respiratory tract irritation, headaches and dizziness, to long-term damage to the liver, kidneys and central nervous system. The concentration of many VOCs is also much higher indoors than outdoors with organic chemicals widely used in the manufacture and maintenance of building materials, interior furnishings and cleaning supplies from paints to furniture, flooring to drywall and a whole lot more. Many of the building standards such as BREEAM and the WELL Building Standard are driving the industry towards lower VOCs. In the case of One Carter Lane in London, the first building in Europe to be delivered under WELL and a project where QOB were fit-out contractors, the VOC rating of all materials had to be between negligible and zero, ensuring that office fixtures, fittings and fabric did not expel harmful chemical or organic emissions. A flooring manufacturer offering low VOC, phthalate-free products and solutions which are sound-reducing and allergy approved will make a significant contribution towards creating a healthier workplace and meeting WELL certification, for example. The desire to meet the new standards such as WELL needs to be instigated by a client. Many believe that to achieve high environmental standards will come at a significant cost, but if the client spends money at the front-end of a project then the operational costs in the long-term will be lower due to increased productivity and staff wellbeing. It is surprising when you start to scrutinise products how difficult it can be to find materials that are natural and don’t contain any toxins. It’s critical that we stress the importance of education throughout all stages of the construction process, ensuring that building professionals and facility owners are aware of the low VOC material options that are available from suppliers and manufacturers. Specifiers and their clients need to think carefully about what is used and the long-term effects this has on building occupiers.
    Jul 01, 2017 0
  • 30 Jun 2017
    By Martin Townsend, Director of Sustainability at BRE Global US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord has many layers of complexity, and seeing the debate unravel, it is not easy to understand if it driven by US politics surrounding employment opportunities, world politics – about making a stance on the global stage – or simply disbelief in the argument about climate change. But one thing is becoming clear since the President’s announcement in the rose garden of the White House on Thursday, the international response; regarded by political leaders and climate experts world-wide as a major error of judgement. Making the argument about current domestic job security is perhaps missing the opportunity of long-term creation of jobs in the fields of green energy will give greater potential than the job cuts in the current industry. An argument that is clearly understood by many, including China. The President’s announcement leaves the United States as one of just three countries, along with Nicaragua and Syria, to oppose the Paris Agreement, which is the world's first legally-binding climate deal. The leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan as well as the UN chief had hoped to pressure Trump into respecting the US pledge to curb its carbon emissions. In a rare joint statement, continental Europe's three biggest countries said they were “firmly convinced that the agreement cannot be renegotiated,” immediately cancelling any possibility of a new deal more favourable to the US being struck. The advice went unheeded. The subsequent impacts on climate change are uncertain.  One thing is for sure, BREEAM will continue to research, and support the industry to be the best through its network of assessor, and the 70+ countries in which it operates to ensure we reduce the impacts of buildings to drive more sustainable solution. Allowing the industry to innovate, and improve. Our work and passion in this space is not about a transfer of economic power from North to South, or West to East, It is very much about enabling free flow of knowledge between like mind institutes and corporates to support such growth and to release the potential of the market. Such an approach of collaboration will ensure that we also reduce our impact capacity by good design, and by sharing international best practise through BREEAM. For more information on BREEAM visit: www.breeam.com  
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • By Martin Townsend, Director of Sustainability at BRE Global US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord has many layers of complexity, and seeing the debate unravel, it is not easy to understand if it driven by US politics surrounding employment opportunities, world politics – about making a stance on the global stage – or simply disbelief in the argument about climate change. But one thing is becoming clear since the President’s announcement in the rose garden of the White House on Thursday, the international response; regarded by political leaders and climate experts world-wide as a major error of judgement. Making the argument about current domestic job security is perhaps missing the opportunity of long-term creation of jobs in the fields of green energy will give greater potential than the job cuts in the current industry. An argument that is clearly understood by many, including China. The President’s announcement leaves the United States as one of just three countries, along with Nicaragua and Syria, to oppose the Paris Agreement, which is the world's first legally-binding climate deal. The leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan as well as the UN chief had hoped to pressure Trump into respecting the US pledge to curb its carbon emissions. In a rare joint statement, continental Europe's three biggest countries said they were “firmly convinced that the agreement cannot be renegotiated,” immediately cancelling any possibility of a new deal more favourable to the US being struck. The advice went unheeded. The subsequent impacts on climate change are uncertain.  One thing is for sure, BREEAM will continue to research, and support the industry to be the best through its network of assessor, and the 70+ countries in which it operates to ensure we reduce the impacts of buildings to drive more sustainable solution. Allowing the industry to innovate, and improve. Our work and passion in this space is not about a transfer of economic power from North to South, or West to East, It is very much about enabling free flow of knowledge between like mind institutes and corporates to support such growth and to release the potential of the market. Such an approach of collaboration will ensure that we also reduce our impact capacity by good design, and by sharing international best practise through BREEAM. For more information on BREEAM visit: www.breeam.com  
    Jun 30, 2017 0
  • 30 Jun 2017
    By Atiyeh Rose Pourmatin, BREEAM Communities Scheme Manager at BRE   The Government recently announced plans to support the creation of 14 new Garden Villages. Universally seen as a good idea, there is however an underlying concern. This is around the historical slow growth which can be attributed to the existing ones failing to be the Utopia they promised to be. However, this discouraging outcome is rooted in lack of a mechanism that considers all social and technical impacts of a new development in its context in a wholesome manner. So what do we need to do to make sure our planned 14 Garden Villages are a success? The concept of Garden Towns or Garden Villages was first introduced in the UK in 1898 and has continued to modestly grow ever since. They are defined as ‘a free standing, self-sustaining, high quality urban space that can address the housing issues, and is led by the local authority and supported by the community’. To ensure the new 14 new Garden Villages are a success, there are a number of common problems that need to be addressed. BREEAM Communities is one solution that can help to ensure we don’t fall in to the same old traps.   Loss of Character Garden Villages/Towns have been often criticised for not respecting or retaining the original characters of the locale they are developed in. Every region and community holds its own unique characteristics and vernacular. Continuity between architectural style and building design within the development and the surrounding area will create coalition between the existing and new residents which in turn adds value to the quality of life within that community.   Injecting a new neighbourhood with its own facilities and potentially brand new occupants into the countryside requires a great deal of scrutiny into the existing and local features through studying the surroundings and consultation with stakeholders and community representatives. To illustrate the importance of this, BREEAM Communities scheme has an assessment issue worth of 2 credits dedicated to the subject of local vernacular to confirm that the development relates to the local character whilst reinforcing its own identity through a few practical steps.   Infrastructure Concentrating new homes in purpose-built new towns or villages, has a two-fold effect on infrastructure: Services and infrastructure (such as new drainage systems and gas and electricity services etc.) are built as part of the development which upsets people who live nearby in numerous ways if not done properly. Power loss, road closures, interruptions to customer supply or unnecessary expenses are some of the unwelcome outcomes of the inefficient structure for the existing/surrounding communities. This is addressed under BREEAM Communities’ Utilities assessment issue where 3 credits are awarded for providing ducting and access points for services and for service providers’ coordination to ensure that installation and maintenance would not interrupt consumers’ supply. It puts pressure on the existing infrastructure and services where no extra infrastructure or services to support the new homes has been provided. The notion of considering communities needs and requirements in terms of services and facilities and also delivery of these is visited in a few assessment issues within BREEAM Communities at the very early stages of development.   Traffic Milton Keynes, as one of the first new age Garden Towns, has over the years been criticised for its grid of broad roads that steers the residents towards driving their cars rather than using public transport. The grid also frustrates developers by taking up more space than a traditional city street despite the fact that it distributes traffic. Other Garden Villages, on the other hand, seem to have been unable to cope with the traffic load due to poor or no evaluation of the infrastructural needs of a newly built community. Both of the above cases have led to unhappy stakeholders, whether that’s the community or the local authority. Whereas, an early consultation with the stakeholders alongside an assessment of the transportation situation in the area followed by a design review in line with the results, can prevent either of the above issues. To achieve this, BREEAM Communities provides step-by-step guidance to: Ensure the needs, ideas and knowledge of the community are used to improve the quality of the design, planning and construction process. (Consultation) Ensure that the masterplan's design is reviewed by the community and other key stakeholders, ensuring that it supports a vibrant, healthy, functional and inclusive development. (Governance) and; Ensure transport and movement strategies reduce the impact of the development upon the existing transport infrastructure and improve environmental and social sustainability through transport. (Transport and Movement)   Other issues Overloaded schools and surgeries and lack of essential facilities such as shops, post office, banks etc. and absence of green infrastructure are some of the other issues that have made Garden Cities movement unsustainable. These are all as a result of a lack of consideration to demographic needs in general which is the core of BREEAM Communities methodology. Undeniably there are other types of hurdles to building a practical Garden Village/Town. However, with the Government’s financial backing, lessons learned from the previous projects and the sciences within the Communities assessment methodology, now is the right time to create Garden Villages that are, more than ever, environmentally, socially and economically sustainable. The most commonly accepted number of homes the UK needs to be building each year, in order to meet future housing need, is 240,000. Despite the small increase (6%), against the number of the newly built homes in the past year, we are far from achieving the above, hence the Government backing of the garden villages. However, the housing crisis is not about how many homes we can build each year. It is about how many of these homes are affordable, habitable and practical for the people, the community. This is where the politically sponsored, sustainably created and socially approved Garden Villages/Towns come into play.
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • By Atiyeh Rose Pourmatin, BREEAM Communities Scheme Manager at BRE   The Government recently announced plans to support the creation of 14 new Garden Villages. Universally seen as a good idea, there is however an underlying concern. This is around the historical slow growth which can be attributed to the existing ones failing to be the Utopia they promised to be. However, this discouraging outcome is rooted in lack of a mechanism that considers all social and technical impacts of a new development in its context in a wholesome manner. So what do we need to do to make sure our planned 14 Garden Villages are a success? The concept of Garden Towns or Garden Villages was first introduced in the UK in 1898 and has continued to modestly grow ever since. They are defined as ‘a free standing, self-sustaining, high quality urban space that can address the housing issues, and is led by the local authority and supported by the community’. To ensure the new 14 new Garden Villages are a success, there are a number of common problems that need to be addressed. BREEAM Communities is one solution that can help to ensure we don’t fall in to the same old traps.   Loss of Character Garden Villages/Towns have been often criticised for not respecting or retaining the original characters of the locale they are developed in. Every region and community holds its own unique characteristics and vernacular. Continuity between architectural style and building design within the development and the surrounding area will create coalition between the existing and new residents which in turn adds value to the quality of life within that community.   Injecting a new neighbourhood with its own facilities and potentially brand new occupants into the countryside requires a great deal of scrutiny into the existing and local features through studying the surroundings and consultation with stakeholders and community representatives. To illustrate the importance of this, BREEAM Communities scheme has an assessment issue worth of 2 credits dedicated to the subject of local vernacular to confirm that the development relates to the local character whilst reinforcing its own identity through a few practical steps.   Infrastructure Concentrating new homes in purpose-built new towns or villages, has a two-fold effect on infrastructure: Services and infrastructure (such as new drainage systems and gas and electricity services etc.) are built as part of the development which upsets people who live nearby in numerous ways if not done properly. Power loss, road closures, interruptions to customer supply or unnecessary expenses are some of the unwelcome outcomes of the inefficient structure for the existing/surrounding communities. This is addressed under BREEAM Communities’ Utilities assessment issue where 3 credits are awarded for providing ducting and access points for services and for service providers’ coordination to ensure that installation and maintenance would not interrupt consumers’ supply. It puts pressure on the existing infrastructure and services where no extra infrastructure or services to support the new homes has been provided. The notion of considering communities needs and requirements in terms of services and facilities and also delivery of these is visited in a few assessment issues within BREEAM Communities at the very early stages of development.   Traffic Milton Keynes, as one of the first new age Garden Towns, has over the years been criticised for its grid of broad roads that steers the residents towards driving their cars rather than using public transport. The grid also frustrates developers by taking up more space than a traditional city street despite the fact that it distributes traffic. Other Garden Villages, on the other hand, seem to have been unable to cope with the traffic load due to poor or no evaluation of the infrastructural needs of a newly built community. Both of the above cases have led to unhappy stakeholders, whether that’s the community or the local authority. Whereas, an early consultation with the stakeholders alongside an assessment of the transportation situation in the area followed by a design review in line with the results, can prevent either of the above issues. To achieve this, BREEAM Communities provides step-by-step guidance to: Ensure the needs, ideas and knowledge of the community are used to improve the quality of the design, planning and construction process. (Consultation) Ensure that the masterplan's design is reviewed by the community and other key stakeholders, ensuring that it supports a vibrant, healthy, functional and inclusive development. (Governance) and; Ensure transport and movement strategies reduce the impact of the development upon the existing transport infrastructure and improve environmental and social sustainability through transport. (Transport and Movement)   Other issues Overloaded schools and surgeries and lack of essential facilities such as shops, post office, banks etc. and absence of green infrastructure are some of the other issues that have made Garden Cities movement unsustainable. These are all as a result of a lack of consideration to demographic needs in general which is the core of BREEAM Communities methodology. Undeniably there are other types of hurdles to building a practical Garden Village/Town. However, with the Government’s financial backing, lessons learned from the previous projects and the sciences within the Communities assessment methodology, now is the right time to create Garden Villages that are, more than ever, environmentally, socially and economically sustainable. The most commonly accepted number of homes the UK needs to be building each year, in order to meet future housing need, is 240,000. Despite the small increase (6%), against the number of the newly built homes in the past year, we are far from achieving the above, hence the Government backing of the garden villages. However, the housing crisis is not about how many homes we can build each year. It is about how many of these homes are affordable, habitable and practical for the people, the community. This is where the politically sponsored, sustainably created and socially approved Garden Villages/Towns come into play.
    Jun 30, 2017 0