AECB News : Soapbox

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A community green deal?

Jonathan Atkinson reports on the positive results of a deep retrofit programme that might inform future government energy efficiency policy. At the 2015 AECB Conference in Sheffield, Jonathan Atkinson of Carbon Co-op and Marianne Heaslip of URBED reported on interim findings from our deep retrofit programme, Community Green Deal. A couple of years later we have collected sufficient data to make some conclusions and outline key learning from the programme. The project set out to achieve high quality, deep retrofit, at scale and at a relatively affordable price. It was funded by DECC and the Greater Manchester Authority with the » Read More

Posted in AECB Latest News, Soapbox on October 19th, 2017

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Building Regulations!

Tom Jarman considers the strengths and limitations of Building Regulations. Tom Jarman considers what Building Regulations are actually there to do, why they are unlikely to meet client expectations and most importantly why they are not a substitute for client responsibility. And although this won’t be a surprise for the great majority of the AECB community, it does seem to be the case that many client groups regard them as what to do, rather than a baseline. We need to do all we can to continue to highlight this, and argue for cultural change in client groups so the demand » Read More

Posted in AECB Latest News, Soapbox on October 18th, 2017

Soapbox: Andy Simmond’s thoughts ahead of Friday’s National Conference

On the eve of the AECB National Conference, which takes place this Friday at the headquarters of the Institute of Engineering and Technology in Savoy Place, it seems appropriate to reflect on some of the major issues the conference will be addressing. On the eve of the AECB National Conference, which takes place this Friday at the headquarters of the Institute of Engineering and Technology in Savoy Place, it seems appropriate to reflect on some of the major issues the conference will be addressing. Brexit may be dominating the news headlines at the moment, but the recent Hurricanes to hit » Read More

Posted in Soapbox on September 13th, 2017

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Passivhaus planning refusal.

Philip Newbold questions a recent planning refusal on the basis of “isolated location”. I have just suffered my first planning refusal (upheld on appeal) in forty-odd years of building design. It was a proposed passive house (Band A) new-build, detached home on an established residential plot on the edge of a small town. The clients’ existing home on the same site won a national award for the Best New Eco-home in 2006 and the designer of their proposed new home next door (me),  is also a national award-winner for Best New Home in 2014. In spite of our collective credentials » Read More

Posted in AECB Latest News, Soapbox on June 15th, 2017

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Robust and effective ventilation strategies vital for new-build and redevelopments.

Carl Fivash comments following the EC’s decision to include indoor air quality into its EPBD. Carl wrote a Soapbox article for us in March 2017 on “The importance of improving indoor air quality in the fight against air pollution“.  Since then the European Commission has included indoor air quality into its Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.  This is what Carl had to say about this decision: “The announcement that the European Commission has made a last minute decision to include indoor air quality (IAQ) into its Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) is a welcome sign that finally, health is » Read More

Posted in AECB Latest News, Soapbox on June 13th, 2017

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Regulation; Why we don’t want or need it, and should stop asking for it!

Tom Jarman argues that regulation can be undesirable and unnecessary. In most industry events and workshops it is not long before talk turns to the ‘ask of government’, which in turn leads to a wish list of financial or regulatory assistance. And because this is an instinctive thing to do, it is hard to distinguish between what we genuinely need, and a replacement for something we can do ourselves already. This blog argues that regulation can be undesirable and unnecessary, and calls for regulation are too casually made. Ultimately, any sector needs to engage positively with Government. This blog argues » Read More

Posted in AECB Latest News, Soapbox on June 5th, 2017

The case for public authorities

Tara Gbolade considers whether the face of public authority housing is changing. Local authorities (LA’s) and housing associations (HA’s) aren’t identified as ‘innovative’ when it comes to quality and provision of housing in the UK (with a few exceptions!). With slowness in responding to changing markets, a very real cost budget to meet, and the Section 106 requirement by the government, public housing have historically suffered as the ‘add-on’ to development, often also represented as such. But, with councils like Camden, Norwich and Exeter, as well as HA’s like Hastoe leading the way with Passivhaus developments, could the face of » Read More

Posted in AECB Latest News, Soapbox on April 13th, 2017

Local authorities and sustainability standards

Tom Jarman asks what can planning authorities do, and how do we create a dialogue rather than minimum compliance? Local authorities (LAs) are required to have a local plan which contains their development goals and direction of travel for the next decade and a half.  The local plan contains a housing allocation, including numbers of buildings and areas where development is likely to be granted planning permission.  It will also contain guidance which indicates what needs to be considered to make a development broadly acceptable.  This blog considers the current legal situation, in terms of what LAs can ask developers » Read More

Posted in AECB Latest News, Soapbox on April 7th, 2017

The importance of improving indoor air quality in the fight against air pollution.

Carl Fivash argues we should be fixing the problem from the inside out. If we are to protect a generation of young children from serious harm, time is running out to clean-up the toxic air pollution choking many of Britain’s towns and cities. That was the urgent warning issued recently in a letter to the Prime Minister by the campaigning group Doctors Against Diesel, and it’s a concern shared by many scientific and medical experts. It will take years to reduce the number of diesel vehicles on our roads, but we can protect ourselves from air pollution’s harmful effects right » Read More

Posted in AECB Latest News, Soapbox on March 23rd, 2017

We are still taking a disgraceful approach to build quality – and waving goodbye to energy savings.

Paul Buckingham argues that profit driven construction is having detrimental effects on quality and energy efficiency. Seven years of experience with thermographic imaging and air testing on all kinds of buildings have confirmed AECB member Paul Buckingham’s depressing conclusion that almost without exception, buildings in this country are still shoddily assembled and continue failing to meet the standards set. What is worse, the prevailing ethos seems not to be ‘how well can we build?’, but ‘how quickly and cheaply can we get these boxes ticked?’ In this latest Soapbox, Paul shares some more of his horror stories, and calls for » Read More

Posted in AECB Latest News, Soapbox on March 21st, 2017

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