Monthly Archives: March 2008

10 Downing St on Twitter

It took a colleague over in Chicago to point out that Gordon is now twittering – is this for real?  One of my predictions for 2008 was an increase in such technology – I was thinking of the built environment – not main stream politics though.

And his call sign …. 10 Downing Street

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WWF joins FMB for VAT cut on refurbs

Press release received from the FMB

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) today welcomed the publication of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report, How Low, which looks at how we can achieve optimal carbon savings from the UK’s existing housing stock. The FMB is particularly pleased to see the report calling for a cut in VAT on the refurbishment of existing properties.

Homes are the low haging fruit for carbon reduction

Simon McWhirter, One Planet Future Campaign Manager at WWF-UK, said: “Our homes are the low hanging fruit in terms of achieving the deep cuts we need in carbon emissions but the Government is currently investing inadequate resources in inappropriate places. Its short term vision as to what energy efficiency measures should be applied to our existing stock is leading to significant missed opportunities.”

responsible sourcing accreditation to BS6001?

Will 6001 join the lexicon of standards for our sector, along with 9001, 14001, 18001 (with apologies to others missed!)

Understanding the ripple effect of a facility in use or in construction is increasingly important within both client and supply organisations reputation, ethical standing and overall CSR, (Corporate Social Responsibility). Industry investors are watching such organisational behaviours with increased interested as demonstrated on CSR Wire web pages and discussions.

BRE Global have recently launched a draft ‘framework’ standard BS6001 for responsible sourcing management (RSM) of construction products that intends to address the sustainability, ie social, economic and environmental aspects of materials, from raw source, through use and maintenance to recycling and disposal.

It will be a standard against which organisations or products would be certified.

Its purpose is to support the responsible sourcing management credits within BREEAM, as a stand alone standard or one would assume to assess any RSM requirements within Code for Sustainable Homes, I guess the Code for Non Domestic Buildings (when that emerges) and other sustainability codes and standards.

I would hope the final standard will get the nomenclature addressed and see this as a ‘built environment‘ standard and not just a ‘construction‘ one (even facilities management has an equal duty and obligation to source responsibly !)  I also hope that joined up thinking brings this into the new EU Facilities Management standards in development.

The draft standard contains a scoring system for assessment against the maturity of a number of sustainability themes. It could for example be used now, even in draft form, as a self assessment or supplier assessment to gauge an organisations position, as a snap shot,  on responsible sourcing. (Although some facilitated guidance or support to help understand and fully understand some of the concepts would probably be required)

A welcome addition to the standards family?  BS6001 is based as you would expect on ISO 14001, ISO 9001 and other existing standards.  I do question whether 9001 is still strong enough as the basis for such standards – given the cosmetic changes planned for this year.

On the social responsibility side – will the standard start to address the soil, soul and society elements of sustainability, and the wider ecological footprint?  Making reference to the UN Global Compact will certainly help address social justice.

The standard is open to public consultation until May 2nd.  I cannot see any dates for introduction of the standard.

An introduction and copy of the standard is available for download.

Responsible sourcing is an ethos of supply chain management and product stewardship and encompasses the social, economic and environmental impacts of construction products over their whole life. It is a holistic approach to managing the activities associated with the point at which a material is mined or harvested in its raw state, through manufacture and processing, through use, reuse and recycling, until its final disposal as waste with no further value.

sustainable connectivity

A new look for isite with a new image on the top banner(*). I like this design as it includes a RSS button – to get isite delivered to your desktop, and a search facility to search back through isite items.

But a little more too. After reflection on this blogs contents and direction, I have slightly amended the purpose of isite.

Yes it will continue to be a news views and comments blog for the built environment, poking here and there when things dont seem quite right or dubious, or indeed covered with greenwash. It will continue to be a voice to the online world for the Lancashire Best Practice Construction Club and to a lesser degree the CKE, and will continue to focus on collaborative working, integrated working, facilities management, futures and improvement towards excellence. The emerging web2.0 or even 3.0, and I include second life here, is an important theme that links and enables allot of what we, what I do, so will remain a key element of the posts and comments.

isite is also of course the outlet to the world for my business – fairsnape.  (the name was taken from the local hill in the Forest of Bowland visible from my base here)

However, more importantly I see isite starting to look at connectivity with the natural environment. A number of activities I have been involved with lately has made me realise we may be where we are today because we have lost, and struggling to regain connectivity with our impact on ecology in its widest sense.

What does this mean? – Ecological footprints more than carbon footprints – as John Muir said when we tug on a single thing in nature we find it attached to everything else . – natural materials rather than harmful – renewable energy rather than fossil fuels, community based FM rather than endless target driven fm, about responsible sourcing rather than supply chain bullying, all putting a new direction to CSR.

I have long used the triptych of fit for people purpose and planet (before it became enshrined into the triple bottom line concept I like to think) . It is what Patrick Geddes would call folk, work and place, nearly a century ago, and reading Satish Kumar over the weekend – he described our modern trinity as needing soil, soul and society. Soil for the environment. soul for a spiritual dimension and society for justice.

Kumar a great walker – now based at the Schumacher college in Dartmoor, that incidentally run courses on Zen and Construction, talks about never trusting ideas that you never worked through whilst walking. “when you walk you are connected with nature, when in a car or a building your are disconnected, you walk to connect yourself”.

A while ago I started a benchmark walking programme to do just this – getting workshops and learning sharing events out of a training room or hotel into the countryside. With a loose agenda that emerges to deal with peoples real improvement needs, benchmarkwalks allows real learning and sharing, I likened it to doing business on a golf course – but this is business improving on a walk.

So all this as a preamble to a new thread for isite – connectivity – one I hope that will give it more scope, depth and importance as we address the sustainability issues, the soil, soul and society issues facing the built environment.

(* taken at Beacon Fell, Forest of Bowland, Lancashire recently – a location for many benchmarkwalks)

… on Heathrow T5 and fm

Are the current problems and issues at Heathrow T5 a facilities management issue – one of usability, people and end user experience.

A glitch perhaps, but a costly one, in a very complex operation, one of the most complex airport moves ever, yet facilities are increasingly measured in the sense of users ‘experience’.

But with reportedly 6 months of dry runs of a terminal “built around the worlds most sophisticated baggage handling system”, the wonderful success of the design and construction will be marred, for a while at least, by operational, usability and fm issues.

The experience should have been, and probably will be one of a natural, logical journey that’s so calm, you’ll flow through.

All shine on the outside of a 4billion edifice, but nothing works, as one disgruntled passenger but it on BBC News.

Low impact eco village

From the eco cities of the world to plans for a low impact eco-village in Wales.

Lammas, in its bid to get planning permission has put together a comprehensive and absorbing website. Well worth checking out.

from the Lammas website: 

The Houses

Low-impact architecture uses a combination of recycled and natural materials. The project is essentially a self-build affair. The first phase will see the construction of five detached dwellings and one terrace of four dwellings. There will be a combination of building styles including straw bale, earth sheltered, timber frame and cob. The houses will feature the latest environmental technologies and design techniques. The dwellings will blend into the landscape. Indeed they will be largely made from elements of the landscape (for example turf roofs, cob walls, timber cladding).

 

Urban revolution

Continuing the theme of Eco Cities

Jaime Lerner‘s ‘urban revolution’ successfully transformed a congested, grimy, crime-ridden city into a world-renowned model of green living and social innovation. London can do it too, reports  Tom Phillips in an excellent and inspiring article.

Jaime Lerner will be speaking in London next Monday, one of a series of Exemplar Talks at Somerset House. For details email exemplartalks@somersethouse.org.uk