Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Let's Protect and Survive ( before We're Forced To

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Let's Protect and Survive ( before We're Forced To

Article excerpt

Byline: By Simon Murray

The relationship between the construction industry, the built environment (in its wider sense), society and the planet as a whole is extremely complex.

Traditionally, it has not been a major business and decision-making driver when development has been undertaken. Present awareness and environmental responsibility, much of it led by government policy, strategy and legislation, has meant current (and future) building activity must be sustainable and far more environmentally friendly.

Many designers and contractors may consider what they are producing is fit for purpose and meeting the client's brief and needs.

But the question must be raised as to whether such development meets environmental energy-efficient targets and locational design need for current and future use.

The issue of what fit for purpose actually means has at times been decided by judicial process but all we need to do is consider recent events such as the tsunami disaster or flooding in Carlisle, Hexham and Corbridge, to see how Nature can devastate the built creations of mankind.

Global warming, likely rises in sea levels, more frequent flooding and storm damage mean the location, design and specification, and processes and products used in construction in future must take such possible events into account to minimise the devastation of such "acts of God".

Energy conservation is a vital issue. When examining construction and property, one can see that the phenomenal amount of fuel consumed in the production and use stages means the potential for savings is immense. Decisions taken by clients and designers at inception and design stages will affect how efficient the property is during its working life.

Closer examination of the lifecycle of development illustrates the amount of energy used at each stage and it is apparent our industry must invest in more eco-friendly and environmentally aware processes on construction sites and, most important, the fuel used to heat, light, power and ventilate our buildings with the consequent carbon emissions that fuel global warming. …

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