By Duncan Reed, Tekla & Green Vision Ambassador
I missed the Green Vision December conference as I was attending a Constructing Excellence meeting.
Firstly I have to admit that I wasn’t really aware of Constructing Excellence until about a year or so ago – is that just another example of how many organisations there are that exist to ‘support’ construction so that it can be hard to see the wood for the trees? But that is another blog all of its own I suspect.
From the ‘About Us’ Constructing Excellence webpage:
Constructing Excellence http://www.constructingexcellence.org.uk/ is the single organisation charged with driving the change agenda in construction. We exist to improve industry performance in order to produce a better built environment. We are a cross-sector, cross-supply chain, member led organisation operating for the good of industry and its stakeholders.
In the mid-nineties a wide spread recognition arose of the need for the construction industry to improve the service it provided to its clients while also ensuring future viability for the wide range of organisations that operated in the industry.
In response to Sir Michael Latham’s 1994 report ‘Constructing the Team’ and Sir John Egan’s 1998 report ‘Rethinking Construction’ a number of cross industry bodies were formed to drive change. These included:
- Reading Construction Forum
- Design Build Foundation
- Construction Best Practice Programme
- Movement for Innovation
- Local Government Task Force
- Rethinking Construction
- Constructing Excellence
- Construction Clients’ Group
Significant progress has been made in driving these initiatives into the practicing industry with many examples of projects that have been run in accordance with the fundamental principles.
In order to streamline the effort involved, all the above cross industry bodies were united as Constructing Excellence in 2003 to form a powerful, influential voice for improvement in the built environment sector.
Anyway, the meeting I attended – the CE Sustainability Group – was my second and another really interesting event with a very wide range of construction professionals present – the Highways Agency, an architect from Faulkner Brown, contractors Balfour Beatty and Skanska, manufacturers Knauf and Polypipe, myself representing Tekla, WRAP and the BRE and this is the key reason why CE events are so successful. Each person brought their own sustainability experiences and shared these in an open and wide ranging day’s discussion. Amongst other subjects we discussed were
- Feedback from the CE National Convention held on 15th November 2013 including how CE is responding the Government Industrial Strategy Construction 2025
- How the G4C – Generation for Collaboration group can realise change in businesses – and, yes, another new construction group for me
- Strategies for linking this CE group to the regional CE Best Practice clubs – now these I had heard of thanks to Green Vision
- The debate currently underway as to whether the UK housing market has the appetite to actually deliver housing that can achieve Code 5 or 6 certification.
- The future of WRAP
- The ICR – Infrastructure Carbon Review – and how the HA are responding to this
- BS 8895-1:2013 Designing for material efficiency in building projects. Code of practice for Strategic Definition and Preparation and Brief. An invitation from WRAP for CE members to join the committee developing this standard
- PAS 2070:2012 Specification for the assessment of greenhouse gas emissions of a city by direct plus supply chain, and consumption-based approaches. A document, developed by the Greater London Authority, to assess scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions
- An embodied carbon database, produced by Arup and being developed as a tool by WRAP
As you can see, a huge amount of information was shared and discussed, from specific details to national strategies and lots of internet searches and further reading for me.
The meeting was rounded off with a lively Pecha Kucha session with myself, Lorna Stork of Knauf, Sandy Mackay from the BRE and Geri Smith of Balfour Beatty all talking ‘against the clock’ on the subject “What does sustainability mean to me/my organisation”.
So why this blog? Well quite simply as a sales pitch for everyone involved in construction to find out more about Constructing Excellence and to get involved. There are numerous specialist groups within CE looking at Construction Clients Group, G4C (Generation for Change), International, Asset Management, BIM, Collaborative Working Champions, Funding & Finance , Housing, Infrastructure, Nuclear, Social Media, Sustainability, Water Sector benchmarking and Clients’ Health & Safety so something for everyone to get involved with.
The next CE Sustainability Group meeting, on 20th March, will be all around the subject of Green BIM. See you there!!