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On 18th May 2015 the Edge published the report Collaboration for Change, resulting from its year long Commission of Inquiry on the Future of Professionalism in the UK's design and construction industries. For more details see here

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Reflecting on Futurebuild - What next?

Sunday, March 24th, 2019

Futurebuild 2019 took place between March 5-7, with the Edge sponsoring six conference sessions across the days. Our members asked pertinent questions, challenged industry leaders, and hoped to have inspired those of you who attended to put thoughts into actions. Now, two weeks later, we review what was said and what we thought were highlights of the conference.

There have been several recurring themes that interlaced a range of conversations regarding legislation, Brexit, industry futures, and impending social transformations. One of which was climate change. From the start of the conference, it was clear that the UK are not well prepared to reduce carbon emissions to limit global warming as outlined in the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, let alone adapt to a future with more unpredictable and extreme weather. This issue can be discussed on two levels - within the construction industry, and with the wider society.

Speakers like Simon Lewis (UCL) and Lynne Sullivan (Edge, Green Construction Board) highlighted the range of challenges that we face as an industry to radically change the way we work for climate change mitigation and adaptation. From the heavy reliance on concrete, to the out-dated regulations that have decoupled with current practice, it is becoming clear in recent years that the built environment is ill-prepared for drastic and necessary changes. Amongst industry professionals, there was a clear consensus that an understanding of embodied carbon needs to be strengthened, and there is an imperative of us to all learn and question the norm, not simply accept it. Kirsten Henson (KLH Sustainability) put it aptly - How can Bloomberg be called sustainable with 600 tonnes of Japanese bronze louvres when there is only 40 years of mine-able copper left?

However, responsibility does not simply lie within the industry professionals. Issues surrounding regulations and legislation are being brought to light through the Grenfell tragedy and the collapse of Carillion, and one begs to question: Why has it taken so long? To achieve fundamental radical changes, one needs to look to institutional forces to take the lead. Indy Johar (00) argued that the self-inflicted Brexit ordeal has completely eclipsed the more pressing problem of climate change. We lack the tools, vocabulary, and frameworks to provide sufficient understanding to discuss the implications of climate change. Furthermore, Marvin Rees (Mayor of Bristol) argued that the country is in desperate need of a new model of governance to allow more to be delivered to local communities.

Could the draft Environmental Bill answer some of our questions? As Martin Baxter (IEMA) rightly pointed out, the draft bill could be an opportunity for the UK to address current inadequacies and raise environmental standards above the current EU-imposed ones post-Brexit. The bill itself is not perfect - panelists raised concerns over the lack of clarity in the policies proposed, and a lack of systems thinking, which is so sorely needed in the realm of environmental governance. Questions around the new environmental governing body, its responsibilities, the connection with devolved administrations are all very valid, and should be carefully thought out before the final bill is presented. This bill could be the beginning of a progressive move in the right direction, but we, as industry professionals, need to grasp the opportunities to voice our concerns based on expertise and experience, and steer policy to create a more sustainable and resilient future.

Michelle Wang for the Edge

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Futurebuild 2019 - March 5-7

Friday, March 1st, 2019

The Edge has a longstanding relationship with Futurebuild (previously Ecobuild). This event has always brought together professionals across the built environment to debate, discuss, and most importantly share knowledge and insights into new developments within the construction industry. Continuing from last year, this year’s conference will center around the Sustainability Development Goals, and what the construction industry must do to overcome fundamental issues surrounding sustainable urban development, construction methods, and the processes that govern professional practice.

The Edge is proud to be one of the key sponsors and partners of the event, with a few of our members in the steering group, and will be supporting 5 conference sessions across the three days, as well as a session at the knowledge forum.

March 5th (Tues)

Lynne Sullivan - The Construction Leadership Challenge: Delivering on the Ambitions of the £420M Sector Deal

Chris Jofeh (chair) - The Retrofit Challenge for Housing - What is the Plan?

March 6th (Weds)

Sunand Prasad (chair), Simon Foxell - The Future Practice Challenge - Connecting Education, Research, Practice and Professionalism

Jane Briginshaw (chair) - The Housing Challenge - More Than Houses

Tim Forman (presenter) - Existing Buildings, Future Priorities (Knowledge Forum)

March 7th (Thurs)

Robin Nicholson (chair), Lynne Ceaney - The Quality Challenge - Why can’t we build better buildings?

Over the next few days we will be giving you a taste of what these sessions will cover on our Twitter (@EdgeDebate), so make sure you follow us for more!

We hope to see you there at the Futurebuild Conference!

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Edge at Futurebuild #5 - Rebel Leadership - The challenge to achieve real change - 13.30, 7th March 2019

Thursday, February 21st, 2019

futurebuild_logoAre you ready for a paradigm shift to achieve and future and live in a world we want to live in? › Continue reading

Edge at Futurebuild #4 - The Housing Challenge – More than houses – 15.00, 6th March 2019

Thursday, February 21st, 2019

futurebuild_logoLand valuation, home ownership, family living: such historic and cultural practices are being thrown into question by the housing crisis. › Continue reading

Edge at Futurebuild #3 - The Future Practice Challenge - Connecting education, research, practice and professionalism – 13.30, 6th March 2019

Thursday, February 21st, 2019

futurebuild_logoReinforcing the connections between education, skills, research and professional standards to develop the future workforce we need. › Continue reading

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