6 episodes

netMAGmedia, which publishes a range of titles for the construction sector, presents the Building Insights podcast, which speaks to key voices from across the industry. Engaging with thought leaders from the worlds of design, construction, development, self-build and social housing management, Building Insights will provide an array of enlightening and unique viewpoints from a wide range of experts.

Building Insights netMAGmedia

    • Business

netMAGmedia, which publishes a range of titles for the construction sector, presents the Building Insights podcast, which speaks to key voices from across the industry. Engaging with thought leaders from the worlds of design, construction, development, self-build and social housing management, Building Insights will provide an array of enlightening and unique viewpoints from a wide range of experts.

    Are SuDS finally becoming mainstream?

    Are SuDS finally becoming mainstream?

    James Parker, managing editor of Housebuilder & Developer, speaks to Sue Illman of Illman Young, a well-established practice of landscape architects, about how sustainable urban drainage systems can help futureproof developments against rising incidences of flooding.

    Although there have been some major recent shocks to the UK, from Covid to now increasing international security worries, the issue of floods has not gone away. While increased flooding events might be an intermittent problem, they are on the whole, becoming more severe, and more damaging for livelihoods and businesses.
    The climate is changing, the UK is 7% wetter than it was 40 years ago, and at the same time, there's a target to build 300,000 homes a year. They have to go somewhere, and unfortunately in many cases, that means building on flood plains. Building homes, roads and car parking often contributes to the problem, affecting how surface water behaves and overloading drainage systems. 
    There are established ways to help developments mitigate the effects on local drainage of the floods that will inevitably hit them. One of the most well-regarded approaches is a collection of solutions known as SuDS (or Sustainable Urban Drainage). However, should you use it, and how difficult is it to install? 
    Housebuilder and Developer magazine recently surveyed readers on their knowledge of SuDS, and their attitude to it, in the light of the fact that Government guidance advises developers to adopt the approach. We wanted to discuss the results of this Industry Viewfinder white paper with an expert in the field.
    We decided to speak to landscape architect Sue Illman, a passionate SuDS advocate, to give her reactions to our report, give you some practical approaches, and comment on the developer’s role in futureproofing schemes against climate change. A former president of the Landscape Institute, we managed to catch her in a week in which she had been discussing with Defra, and the Department for Levelling up, Communities and Housing, just what the regulatory framework should look like, to drive SuDS forward. One of the many insights she revealed in an excellent conversation was that regulation had been somewhat fudged in the past, but the centre is finally putting SuDS at the top of the agenda.

    • 43 min
    What are the components of a healthy home?

    What are the components of a healthy home?

    In this episode, Jack Wooler, deputy editor of Housing, Management & Maintenance magazine, speaks to Jack Dangerfield of the Town and Country Planning Association, or TCPA, about the omission of legislation around the health of a home, as well as the state of planning in the UK as a whole at present.
    Discussing our recent research on what landlords and housing professionals believe makes up an exemplary healthy home, the most important elements of such a property, and the barriers to the adoption of these elements – in which a shocking lack of respondents would describe even their own housing stock as healthy – Jack Dangerfield discusses how the TCPA’s Healthy Home’s campaign is one route forwards. 
    Thanks to Glidevale, Mitsubishi, Envirovent, Cornerstone, Aico and FireAngel for sponsoring this episode.

    • 43 min
    Sustainability and wellness in commercial buildings

    Sustainability and wellness in commercial buildings

    In the  fourth instalment of Building Insights, architect Alina White of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios speaks to the managing editor of ADF, James Parker, about sustainability and wellness in commercial buildings. Thanks to Hambleside Danelaw, Methven, Reynaers, Kestrel Aluminium Systems, and James Latham, for sponsoring this episode. 
    Alina is an architect who joined Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios in 2002, and was made an associate in 2017. She has worked in both Bath and London for the practice, and has focused on commercial projects, as well as some high-profile residential and schools.
    She recently led on a major office scheme now underway in the centre of Birmingham which really illustrates some of the key themes of recent research we’ve undertaken into sustainability and wellness in commercial projects. As well as aspiring to be a low carbon building (both in terms of emissions and embodied carbon), the architects believe Three Chamberlain Square delivers a new level of wellbeing for staff – in a post-Covid world where employees need to be encouraged back to workplaces.
    Architects Datafile conducted an Industry Viewfinder audience survey of architects on Sustainability and Wellness in Commercial Buildings, on this very hot topic currently. Alongside wellness, staff are increasingly aware of the contribution of buildings to climate change, and want to work in premises and for organisations that are explicitly reducing their footprint.
    And with staff costs representing around 80%-90% of many organisations’ expenditure, any solution that limits extra recruitment costs, and increase retention, is a core business benefit that is making clients keen to invest in design. Attracting the best staff now means creating environments, in retail and industrial settings as well as offices, that offer health benefits to staff, as well as lower emissions. 
    Clients are increasingly seeking to measure and coordinate those design efforts, for example using established international standards like WELL
    They are also seeking out firms like FCBStudios, and architects like Alina, for these often demanding projects, so it’s great to have her insights for the podcast.

    • 44 min
    The future of tall building design

    The future of tall building design

    In the third episode of Building Insights, Antony Wood, executive director of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), speaks to the managing editor of Architects' Datafile, James Parker, about the future of tall building design.

     9/11 was supposed to be a watershed – when our global fascination for building tall towers came to a halt. However the opposite was true, globally the pace of tall buildings construction has increased exponentially in the 21st century. While China has made some interventions in the past few months to limit its race to build tall, the pandemic has only made a slight impact on development, and climate change less still. However, building owners now need to bring workers and residents back to city centres, post-pandemic. As Architects Datafile’s recent survey of architects showed, the emphasis is shifting to more attractive, more sustainable mixed use buildings – which offer spatial qualities not seen before in dense city clusters.
    Antony Wood is an architect with a fascinating career, trained in the UK and having designed tall buildings in the far east before returning to the west to head up the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat in Chicago. From being enamoured by science fiction and future visions of cities from an early age, he remains a devotee of high-rise density in urban settings. However he has some strong views about the free-for-all planning that has held sway over recent decades in many cities, which has given urban centres a homogenous feel that’s damaged the reputation of tall buildings.
    Speaking to Antony gave some great insights into the need to make such designs more context specific, how high-level, horizontally-connected structures might be part of the answer, and whether timber is going to be a key structural material. He also explained how the Council on Tall Buildings is taking this agenda forward globally. With the urbanisation of the global population on an inexorably upward trajectory, architects and planners have to quickly grasp the potential to create the healthy cities of the future we need.]

    Thanks to OnLevel, Siderise, Construction Specialities, and Ash & Lacy for sponsoring this episode. 

    • 51 min
    Delivering the Future Homes Standard

    Delivering the Future Homes Standard

    In the second instalment of Building Insights, Dr Gavin Dunn of the Chartered Association of Building Engineers speaks to the managing editor of Housebuilder & Developer, James Parker, about how the Future Homes Standard can be delivered.

    The Future Homes Standard is probably the most far-reaching and onerous set of quality requirements which housebuilders have had to confront, certainly this century. 

    The aims are laudable, to shake up Building Regulations to improve the efficiency performance of all new homes, and help drive the UK towards our 2050 net zero carbon targets. The standard includes big efficiency improvements to meet an updated Part L (covering thermal performance), but also Part F (ventilation). But it’s not all about the 2025 deadline. With 20 per cent of our carbon emissions coming from new and existing homes, there’s an interim step too, which is now looming.
    Currently CEO of the Chartered Association of Building Engineers, Dr Gavin Dunn trained as an architect, and after working as a director at the BRE for several years, including overseeing the BREEAM standard, he joined the Building Regulations Advisory Committee (BRAC) at what was then the DCLG. In 2018 he moved to chair BRAC’s Future Homes Standard Working Group, and so was instrumental in developing the standard, and the consultation process with the industry. He is the ideal person to speak to on what housebuilders need to do to achieve compliance, and he duly provided some clear insights during our revealing chat.
    Thanks to our sponsors WMS, Recticel, Epic Insulation, LG, Schock and Mitsubishi Electric.

    • 1 hr 13 min
    What does it take to go Passivhaus?

    What does it take to go Passivhaus?

    In the first episode of Building Insights, James Parker, editor of Architects' Datafile Magazine, interviews Sarah Lewis, architect and research and policy director at the Passivhaus Trust. 

    Passivhaus is being hailed as the UK construction industry's best hope for achieving zero carbon in 2050. Sarah Lewis is a key advocate of the low-energy building design approach, having spread the word far and wide via her work at the UK's main body promoting the method – the Passivhaus Trust. Takeup is still relatively low in the UK, however, as ADF magazine's recent reader survey and White Paper confirmed. 

    In a revealing and in-depth conversation, Sarah gave some candid insights into the likely reasons, but also put the positive case for Passivhaus going forward.

    Thanks to our sponsors, Lamilux and Schock. 

    • 1 hr 24 min

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