What are the traditional skills in danger of dying out? #dyingskills

mb-m-and-c-1-blueThe Ordnance Survey recently carried out a survey on traditional skills. Out of 2,000 Brits surveyed, they found that map reading is the traditional skill that people think is in most danger of dying out, as people rely on sat-nav to get them from A to B instead. Perhaps not a surprising response to a survey from the UK map maker. (Is map reading a forgotten skill?)

This did get me thinking though – what traditional skills have we forgotten, or are in danger of dying out within the world of the built environment?

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Share your dying skills in comments here, or on twitter using the hashtag #dyingskills

One of my first tasks as a junior QS way back was to take off dims from drawings in feet and inches, or setting out 3/4/5 right angles as a site engineer, or reading levelling staffs upside down (the image not me) – are all things I may well struggle with now. As I would with handwriting – I just could not contemplate repeating my handwritten (and then type writer final copy) tome of a thesis on construction industry industrial relations.

The OS Top 20 traditional skills in danger of dying out are
1. Reading a map
2. Using a compass
3. Tie a specific knot
4. Darn socks
5. Looking something up in a book using an index rather than ‘Googling it’
6. Correct letter writing technique
7. Understanding pounds and ounces
8. Knowing your spelling and grammar
9. Converting pounds and ounces to grams and kilograms
10. Starting a fire from nothing
11. Handwriting
12. Understanding feet and inches
13. Knitting
14. Recall a friend or relative’s phone number from memory
15. Recall a partner’s phone number from memory
16. Identifying trees, insects, flowers etc
17. Touch typing
18. Baking bread from scratch
19. Taking up trousers
20. Wiring a plug

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Modern Slavery Bill: transforming construction CSR and supply chain management.

No responsible organisation in construction would want any association with modern day construction slavery, forced employment, child or migrant exploitation as we read increasingly often in the mainstream news, for example Qatar construction or closer to home with construction gangmaster organisations. Hence the Modern Slavery Bill should be welcomed by the built environment sector.

Included within the Modern Slavery Bill introduced on 31 August 2015 (coming into affect on 31 October 2015) is a clause that has significance for most construction organisations – the Transparency in Supply Chains (TISC) clause.

We have introduced a transparency in supply chains clause to the Modern Slavery Bill. This will require businesses above a certain size threshold to disclose each year what they have done to ensure that there is no modern slavery in their supply chains and own business. This will be a truly world-leading measure. There are similar transparency requirements in California, but they only apply to businesses producing goods for sale, whereas this disclosure will apply regardless of what it supplies, whether goods or services.
Minister for Modern Slavery and Organised Crime, Karen Bradley

What does the Bill and Transparency Clause mean for construction:

Chris Blythe, CE CIOB in Foreword to the CIOB Dark Side of Construction publication: The dark side – the systematic exploitation of millions of vulnerable migrants – is rarely acknowledged, even by the clients and multinationals that commission and create our shiny new cities. Our sector is rife with human rights abuses. Bonded labour, delayed wages, abysmal working and living conditions, withholding of passports and limitations of movement are all forms of modern slavery.

The scope of the TISC clause will cover construction products companies importing goods or components to the UK, as well as contractors and consultancies operating in the home markets and/or overseas.

The Modern Slavery Bill (with its Transparency in Supply Chains clause) will transform and elevate construction CSR and Supply Chain Management as important legislative responsibility processes.

Organisations with a turnover of £36 million will have to:

  • publish a “slavery and human trafficking statement” setting out the steps it has taken to ensure that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in its supply chains and within its own business.
  • From October 2016, to publicly share their policies and strategies to tackle modern slavery in their supply chains.

Guidance on what might be included in such a statement:

  • Companies’ due diligence processes relating to slavery and human trafficking in their supply chains;
  • Reporting on the parts of companies’ supply chains where there is a risk of slavery and trafficking taking place, and how to assess and manage such a risk;
  • Reporting on staff training on slavery and human trafficking;
  • Reporting on companies’ effectiveness in ensuring that slavery and trafficking are not taking place in their businesses or supply chains.

“Implications of non-compliance with this reporting obligation in such a morally compelling context could leave a large dent in an otherwise sterling company reputation” Victoria Ball, projects & construction associate at law firm Trowers & Hamlins

“It will involve a deep dive into the supply chain to understand what’s really going on many tiers down – getting visibility of the many layers to truly see the conditions of workers at the bottom of the chain. The message to companies is clear – it is no longer an option to stay below the radar, refuse to take responsibility for problems in your supply chain and hope you won’t get exposed.”Cindy Berman, head of knowledge & learning ETI

What is not so clear is where the responsibility under the Bill rests for SME’s below the threshold that have organisations above the threshold within their supply chains. Most construction organisations procuring goods and services from large product distributors or manufacturers.

Actions construction and built environment organisations should take?

  • Embed Modern Slavery into CSR policies and statements, where, arguably there should be a statement anyway if base on a recognised CSR structures(eg ISO 26001, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), JUST, Global Compact or the Human Rights Charter)
  • Understand the concept of Transparency in Supply Chains (TISC)
  • Include questions statements in supplier procurement processes. (And probably best to do so for all suppliers who are close to or over the threshold)
  • Develop a PQQ and Project Bid standard text.
  • Understand what an annual“slavery and human trafficking statement” for your organisation could look like

And of course, these good practices should be adopted even if below the £36million turnover threshold as a matter of social responsible construction.

Sources:

Related iSite blogs:

JUST: a social justice label for construction …

Constructing CSR iTransparency 

Understanding CSR in Construction

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It is time to move on from theTriple Bottom Line …

It is time to move on from theTriple Bottom Line …

We have become very familiar with the Triple Bottom Line approach for Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility, ie Environment, Society and Economic. It forms the basis of many environmental and sustainability visions, policy statements, and development initiatives.

In the business arena, this is the acknowledged responsible ‘bottom line’ of meeting economic goals (usually profit) whilst also meeting environmental (impact) and social (community) goals in carrying out business activities. The triple bottom line approach provides a practical framework for the development of policies and strategies to drive institutional change.

roots coyo triple bottom line

Triple Bottom Line as drawn by COYO students

And of course we are now familiar with the well used triple bottom line venn diagram. If like me you loved Venn Diagrams at school, then its a real pleasure to see such vital and complex issues such s sustainability expressed as three interwoven circles. The Triple Bottom Line has also been represented as a three legged stool or as three columns.

As mentioned previously on this blog, this triple bottom line thinking can be traced back to Patrick Geddes who, now recognised as the Grandfather of Town and Country Planning coined the triptych Place, Folk and Work. Its current concept however is credited to John Elkington in his 1998 book Cannibals with Forks:Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business.

Whilst we can easily identify Geddes’ Place as being the Environment circle, (note, interestingly the Living Building Challenge renamed its Site Petal as Place for version 3), the Work aspect is readily identified as the Economy circle, there is an uneasy fit with people or folk within the Society circle. Are staff part of society, and where do the governance arrangements of a business (including vital for sustainability ISO 9001 related quality and organisational arrangements / controls) fit into the sustainability three circles?

Quad Bottom Line

Quadruple Bottom Line introduces Governance as the fourth ‘Petal’

The Quadruple Bottom Line introduces Governance as the fourth bottom line, or perhaps better, as Culture

Governance, or Culture is defined here as including both the formal business, administrative and ‘control’ processes of an organisation, as well as the informal networks, traditions and cultural and behavioural norms which act as enablers or disablers of sustainable development.

Sustainability governance therefore could include those organisational items that are increasingly seen as the vital enablers for sustainable development – many of which are embedded within the modern sustainability building programmes such as the Living Building Challenge, JUST, or Well Building Standard, including:
Diversity
Equity
Fairpay
Education
Collaborative Working
Working Places
Biophilia
Health and Wellbeing
Happiness
Communications and social media

This new, fourth leaf on the sustainability venn diagram, raises both important questions and huge opportunities for advancing sustainability development, and could usher in a new generation of sustainability thinking.

For example, what are the ‘governance’ issues of construction site facilities, welfare and administration that enable sustainable construction … more

Extract from forthcoming FutuREstotative

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Inventing the Eco-Industrial Age … with ‘Bio’ the new Data.

unnamedThat ‘Bio’ is set to be the new data, and a further development for BIM (Building Information Management) to align with biomimicry and the circular economy was reinforced in a Wired interview with Janice Beynus inspirational insights into the near future manufacturing at Interface.

What excites you about where technology is taking humankind?

I’m excited by the fact that we are probably the first generation to actually be able to gather biological intelligence and distribute it to the people because of the Internet. Our understanding of how nature works is just increasing exponentially. Now we have a way to gather it and to actually make it available to people.

Our experiment is AskNature.org to try to get that biological intelligence out. That’s exciting to me—understanding how nature works, and then possibly being able to emulate it.

You’ve said that “heat, beat, and treat”—heating up materials, beating them with high pressure, and treating them with chemicals—is the de facto slogan for our current industrial age. What should be the slogan for the next era in manufacturing?

I think manufacturing will be local, safe, and cyclical. (… but at the moment) We’re talking about an industrial process, where you wear hard hats and eye guards. We’re a long way to go before it’s local raw material, safely produced, (with non toxic products) and then recycled at the end of its life—put back into the printer, if you will, as the raw materials for the next product.

We’ve got a long way to go.

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Changes to ISO 14001: 2015 identified.

calgary treesThe latest milestone in the ISO 14001 revision process was reached on 2 July 2015 with the issue of ISO/FDIS 14001. This document is the final draft before the publication of the standard (scheduled for September 2015).

The convention at ISO is that only editorial changes to the text are permitted between the issue of the FDIS and final publication of the standard, therefore we can be reasonably sure that FDIS 14001 contains the requirements of the revised version of ISO 14001.

NEW IN ISO 14001

The FDIS 14001 adopts the High Level Structure specified in ISO Annex SL, which is now the required framework for all new and revised management system standards.The ISO team responsible for the revision process (subcommittee ISO/TC 207/SC1) has identified the following emerging changes as a result of their revision. (Comments in italics are mine)

Strategic environmental management

There is a new requirement to comprehend the context of the organisation determining external and internal issues pertinent to the organisation and the environment, with actions to address them within the Environmental Management System (EMS).

14001 now embeds environmental and sustainability thinking into the high level strategy, vision and policy planning aspects of an organisation and project

Leadership

A new clause has been added with particular responsibilities for top management to express their leadership and commitment to environmental management. Top management may assign this responsibility to others but retain accountability.

14001 calls for increased accountability for the leadership (CSE, MD) of an organisation or project to ensure ongoing commitment and engagement  with environment and sustainability activities in the organisation.

Protecting the environment

Environmental policy shall incorporate a commitment to the ‘protection of the environment’. There is no definition about ‘protection’ that includes ‘prevention of pollution’ and ‘other’ commitments, such as sustainable resource use, climate change mitigation and adaptation, protection of biodiversity and ecosystems, etc.

The 14001 change from protection to prevention is significant, requiring a proactive approach and can be seen to move closer to a restorative thinking towards the environment

Environmental performance

The key focus is on improving performance related to the management of environmental aspects. The organisation shall decide on criteria to evaluate its environmental performance, using correct indicators.

Again a significant and proactive change: from monitoring to improving performance

Lifecycle thinking

Organisations will need to extend its control and influence to the environmental impacts from raw material acquisition/generation to end-of-life treatment. This does not imply a requirement to do a life cycle assessment (LCA), just thinking carefully about the stages of product/service that can be controlled or influenced.

There will be much debate on this 14001 change, but indicates a proactive approach to design and specification that takes into account material and building(?) environmental impact through to end of life, encouraging more design for re-use, deconstruction plans and circular economy thinking

Communication

Emphasis on internal and external communication, and equal treatment of both has been added. The decision to communicate externally is retained by the organisation whilst taking into account its compliance obligations.

Welcomed 14001 improvement for the digital and social media age of communications and transparency

Documentation

The term ‘documented information’, is used instead of ‘documents’ and ‘records’. The organisation has the flexibility to conclude when ‘procedures’ are required. Any format (paper, cloud, etc.) would be valid.

Again a welcomed improvement in the digital and social media age of documentation and data management

ISO 14001:2004 TRANSITION

Organisations that are already certified to ISO 14001:2004 will have three years from formal publication of ISO 14001:2015 in which to transfer to the new version of this standard. Based on the current publication schedule, this transition period would end in September 2018.

Source: http://www.industrytoday.co.uk/energy_and_environment/iso-140012015-update-fdis-14001-issued/36699

Related previous iSite blog posts:

14001 Support

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Why did I seek to put GreenBIM into Room 101?

Why did I seek to put Green BIM into Room 101 ? Did I not tweet only this week that Green BIM is one of the more important developments in the built environment?

greenBIM 101

The label, or hashtag for GreenBIM is so riddled with issues, I was only able to skim during the 2 mins allowed in the ThinkBIM / Green Vision Room 101 session, and in fact is pre-occupying a lot of thought and space in my forthcoming RIBA book.

However, in 5 bullet points … here goes.

  • BIM (and digital construction) is the most powerful of improvement and collaborative programmes for decades, if not in the history of construction – all BIM should be green – all BIM should be pushing the boundaries doing more good, not happy just to maintain a business as usual, a sustainability status quo or be incrementally less bad.
  • Every BIM is a core enabler in achieving Construction Vision 2025 tough sustainability and carbon targets – requiring net positive approaches. Construction 2025 is not just for GreenBIM’s.
  • One of the fast emerging sectors within the world of sustainability, with a predicted market value in the billions, is the circular economy – every BIM, not just GreenBIM’s should be addressing this concept. In particular, where one building becomes the food, the material farm, for the next building. Am I in danger of creating a new hashtag and meme here: #CEBIM _ Circular Economy BIM anyone?
  • Looking through (BIM) product data sheets we see products and chemicals that are scientifically proven carcinogenic – the formaldehydes, the PVC’s the styrenes – all BIM’s should address these issues on health and wellbeing grounds, not just green BIM. It is estimated to take 8 hours per material on RedList transparency to determine exact ingredients – and ensure no realist profited materials, at present this doesn’t make the material or product specification through BIM a viable option for LBC, well building standard or indeed LEED4 where the RedList thinking is applied
  • Green Vision has embraced Living Building Challenge – where for accredited projects like the Bullit Centre there are no energy performance gaps – this is what a BIM should achieve on every building, green or not, and fast. Lets seek a net-positive performance gap. This is Construction Vision 2025!

Conclusion: My reason for putting GreenBIM into 101 is out of frustration than annoyance. We would all agree that all BIM’s should be green BIMs, so do we need another label, perhaps, perhaps not, but what we do need to do is to take the agenda from ‘GreenBIM’ sessions to all other BIM events, initiates, software, projects, and make every BIM Green.

I also blogged on this very issue back in 2013 – Do we really need ‘Green BIM’?

It was encouraging to see the Circular Economy feature in a number of presentations at the Green BIM event. For more on circular economy and BIM see my take here: RegenerativeBIM … moving the GreenBIM debate

And, by coincidence or serendipity, I had presented to and participated within a panel debate at Runshaw College on Circular Economy the day before:

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The Papal Encyclical relevance to the Built Environment sector

Todays launch of the Papal Encyclical has much relevance for Built Environment sector on sustainability, the relationship of buildings with nature, on waste, energy, health, biophilia and even touching on BIM, (TechnoScience).

There is also a nice resonance with language from standards such as the Living Building Challenge, and other ecological restorative approaches to new perspectives on sustainability.

In particular Paragraph 150 (see below) should become a touchstone for modern, restorative, sustainable design.

It’s a hefty document, but here below are the salient sections relating to the built environment:

26. Investments have also been made … in methods of construction and renovating buildings which improve their energy efficiency. But these good practices are still far from widespread

44. Nowadays, for example, we are conscious of the disproportionate and unruly growth of many cities, which have become unhealthy to live in, not only because of pollution caused by toxic emissions but also as a result of urban chaos, poor transportation, and visual pollution and noise. Many cities are huge, inefficient structures, excessively wasteful of energy and water. Neighbourhoods, even those recently built, are congested, chaotic and lacking in sufficient green space. We were not meant to be inundated by cement, asphalt, glass and metal, and deprived of physical contact with nature.

58. In some countries, there are positive examples of environmental improvement: rivers, polluted for decades, have been cleaned up; native woodlands have been restored; landscapes have been beautified thanks to environmental renewal projects; beautiful buildings have been erected; advances have been made in the production of non-polluting energy and in the improvement of public transportation. These achievements do not solve global problems, but they do show that men and women are still capable of intervening positively.

103. Technoscience, when well directed, can produce important means of improving the quality of human life, from useful domestic appliances to great transportation systems, bridges, buildings and public spaces. It can also produce art and enable men and women immersed in the material world to “leap” into the world of beauty. Who can deny the beauty of an aircraft or a skyscraper?

143. Together with the patrimony of nature, there is also an historic, artistic and cultural patrimony which is likewise under threat. This patrimony is a part of the shared identity of each place and a foundation upon which to build a habitable city. It is not a matter of tearing down and building new cities, supposedly more respectful of the environment yet not always more attractive to live in. Rather, there is a need to incorporate the history, culture and architecture of each place, thus preserving its original identity. Ecology, then, also involves protecting the cultural treasures of humanity in the broadest sense. More specifically, it calls for greater attention to local cultures when studying environmental problems, favouring a dialogue between scientific-technical language and the language of the people. Culture is more than what we have inherited from the past; it is also, and above all, a living, dynamic and participatory present reality, which cannot be excluded as we rethink the relationship between human beings and the environment.

149. The extreme poverty experienced in areas lacking harmony, open spaces or potential for integration, can lead to incidents of brutality and to exploitation by criminal organizations. In the unstable neighbourhoods of mega-cities, the daily experience of overcrowding and social anonymity can create a sense of uprootedness which spawns antisocial behaviour and violence. Nonetheless, I wish to insist that love always proves more powerful. Many people in these conditions are able to weave bonds of belonging and togetherness which convert overcrowding into an experience of community in which the walls of the ego are torn down and the barriers of selfishness overcome. This experience of a communitarian salvation often generates creative ideas for the improvement of a building or a neighbourhood

150. Given the interrelationship between living space and human behaviour, those who design buildings, neighbourhoods, public spaces and cities, ought to draw on the various disciplines which help us to understand people’s thought processes, symbolic language and ways of acting. It is not enough to seek the beauty of design. More precious still is the service we offer to another kind of beauty: people’s quality of life, their adaptation to the environment, encounter and mutual assistance. Here too, we see how important it is that urban planning always take into consideration the views of those who will live in these areas.

180. There are no uniform recipes, because each country or region has its own problems and limitations. It is also true that political realism may call for transitional measures and technologies, so long as these are accompanied by the gradual framing and acceptance of binding commitments. At the same time, on the national and local levels, much still needs to be done, such as promoting ways of conserving energy. These would include favouring forms of industrial production with maximum energy efficiency and diminished use of raw materials, removing from the market products which are less energy efficient or more polluting, improving transport systems, and encouraging the construction and repair of buildings aimed at reducing their energy consumption and levels of pollution.

232. Not everyone is called to engage directly in political life. Society is also enriched by a countless array of organizations which work to promote the common good and to defend the environment, whether natural or urban. Some, for example, show concern for a public place (a building, a fountain, an abandoned monument, a landscape, a square), and strive to protect, restore, improve or beautify it as something belonging to everyone.

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