Joining up the dots on conservation and climate change
Sir Robert McAlpine is restoring the Elizabeth Tower, a high-profile conservation project
Let’s join up the dots by ensuring refurbishing and conserving existing buildings results in less energy use and lower carbon production, writes Caroline Gumble.
Since I joined the CIOB, I have had the pleasure of visiting many historic buildings where our members work, and this brings home the fact that our members work in many different roles, on a wide variety of sites and structures.
A few weeks ago, I met representatives of the CIOB Conservation Special Interest Group (SIG) where Rory Cullen, SIG chair, updated me on plans for the CIOB’s annual heritage conference in London – this year it’s on the theme of ‘Future Skills for Traditional Buildings’.
SIG member Professor John Edwards was also at the meeting – he is very much involved with climate change and energy efficiency. He gave an overview on ‘Joining up the Dots’, the presentation he’s planning to deliver at this year’s conference. It’s timely and important, focusing on the aspects of our industry that impact on climate change.
“If we carry out construction work well so that it lasts and doesn’t require much attention, it will mean that the building should perform well, including its energy performance.”
When we look at the different CIOB priorities, we can see what that means. If we carry out construction work well so that it lasts and doesn’t require much attention, it will mean that the building should perform well, including its energy performance, and will not require activities that need energy and produce carbon to rectify problems.
It’s simple really, we need good design and good quality practices in construction. We can ensure that we build quality buildings or that we refurbish, conserve or retrofit existing buildings to the required quality standards. When you think about this, it clearly links to climate change.
The CIOB Conservation SIG has its eye on this ball. It instigated the development of the CIOB Building Conservation Certification competency scheme which aims to ensure that those working with traditional buildings (about 25% of UK building stock), are competent to do so, thus reducing risk of inappropriate treatment and poor quality.
The CIOB considers certification to drive up quality vitally important. Additionally, we are developing a certification scheme in construction quality management which has the same goals but across the whole industry.
Let’s join up the dots and work to achieve more sustainable construction and better-performing buildings, ultimately leading to less use of energy and lower carbon production. It may be just one of the things we need to do to tackle climate change, but it’s a very important one.
Caroline Gumble is chief executive of the CIOB
Update: Due to the Covid-19 virus, we have taken the decision to postpone the Conservation Conference. We are working to confirm a date for the autumn and will let members know the new arrangements as soon as we can. In the meantime, you can also check http://bit.ly/conservation2020 for updates