Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to the newest version of your browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of Construction News, please enable cookies in your browser.

Welcome to the Construction News site. As we have relaunched, you will have to sign in once now and agree for us to use cookies, so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Sustainable code for every sector, says expert

A sustainable code should be developed for every sector of construction, according to Willmott Dixon’s head of sustainability George Martin.

Speaking at the Modern Methods of Construction conference, organised by Construction News, Mr Martin called for the Code for Sustainable Homes model to be used to produce separate benchmarks for all sectors, such as education and health.

The code, which was introduced by the Government in December 2006, sets a national standard and measures the sustainability of a new home against various categories of sustainable design, rating the whole home as a complete package. It will become mandatory for all new homes from May.

Mr Martin said: "We have a code for sustainable homes, which is great, and now we are moving toward a general code for sustainable non-dwellings. We need to break that up into sectors, though.

"I want to see the Government develop a sustainable code, say, simply for schools."

In an attempt to address the need for sustainable innovation, Willmott Dixon has created an in-house sustainability consultancy – known as Re-thinking – which now advises on all its projects.

Mr Martin said: "I decided if we were going to be a more sustainable company we needed to fundamentally re-think our approach."

Part of that "re-thinking" included investigating the need for more intense post occupancy evaluation, an element of the development process he says is severely lacking.

Post occupancy evaluation involves the systematic evaluation of results and opinions regarding buildings in use, from the perspective of the people who use them.

Mr Martin said: "To me there are definitely positive and negative reasons for looking at post occupancy evaluation.

"But development is also about the people. Are the people in these buildings happy and healthy?"

He added: "How are we going to achieve Gordon Brown’s (zero carbon) targets without post occupancy evaluation?"

But Taylor Woodrow’s technical director Rennie Chadwick said that type of evaluation was generally extremely challenging for the construction sector to undertake. Dr Chadwick said: "It is notoriously difficult to do.

"One of the problems is getting the users to be able to tell us. Some can - the big retailers know the value of every new supermarket they get - but the challenge for us is to try and winkle that information out of our users."

And he admitted: "Within our organisation, I will be frank about it, it is difficult to get that learning built back into the design."

Related Jobs