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Show me a Change Maker C#1383

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Firstplanit Questions

GBC Answers

1 Tell us about your work. What is your focus these days?

  • Green Building Calculator (GBC) Version 3 and Green Building Retrofit Calculator (GBRC) Versions 1 have kept me busy during COVID lockdowns and since. (Retrofit Launch in November 2022)
  • Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) and Ministry of Justice project designing a Brown Long Eared (BLE) Adaptable Bat House (BLEABH)
  • Interreg funded CobBauge Project with Plymouth University developing a ‘Page Turner’ brochure about 21st century Cob (Earth and straw) construction

2 What sparked your passion for this?

  • Green Building Calculator: 5th year Architecture students who had never detailed a building, do not understand different insulation materials properties and did not know what a U Value is, a year before being released into the real world. (RIBA you are responsible for this). QS’s ‘Value Engineering’ & Contractor’s Specification Substitution (RICS You are responsible for this)
  • To promote the 21st Century version of cob developed by CobBauge project to a profession in need of low carbon, future-proof construction methods
  • I have been working with BCT since 2007, we have a chance to test historic BCT advice about the needs of BLE bats, enable developers to add BLEABH to their sites, cut carbon in their construction and support prisoner retaining in carpentry and joinery.

3 Why are Sustainable Solutions Critical?

  • Can I reset the question?
  • Environmental in place of Sustainable?
  • Sustainable takes Economics into accounts and that means compromise our future for the sake of a profit.
  • It’s a bit like the latest fad Net Zero Carbon in place of Zero carbon, so compromise, do some financial alchemy or plant more trees that will be burned down in a few decades.
  • Anyway nobody really understands Sustainable, we use HERACEY™ Healthy Environmental Resourceful Appropriate Competent Effective Yardstick as our definition for Sustainability

4 What is your proudest project?

  • Violet Building: Specifications for New British Library Euston
  • Green Building: Specification for Aberystwyth Arts Centre Extension
  • Green Building Calculator V2 (Retrofit and 35 versions to follow)
  • Book: Designing for Biodiversity 2nd edition with 3D cutaway construction details
  • Event: The Green Register Whole day event on waste minimization & recycling in building, landscape, refurbishment, demolition (attendees from Jersey to Scottish Islands)
  • Event: Israel Green Building Council event on Retrofit, spoke to an audience of 800 delegates

5 Who do you look to for Inspiration:

  • Lucy Pedler of The Green Register of construction professionals (TGR), despite resistance from established membership and training groups, TGR set up its own training programme and COVID enabled it to switch delivery methods and join forces with many other experts and organisations to facilitate and deliver a diverse mix of essential learning for 21st century survival
  • Ankita Dwivedi of Firstplanit, for achieving what I wanted to do 20 years ago but did not have the wherewithal to make happen.
  • Firstplanit already has all the bells and whistles I had not imagined because the Tech did not exist yet.

6 Where else do you look for inspiration?

  • Failure of the Quantity Surveying (QS) trade in violet cost planning, driving the industry towards bankruptcy, but for the 90+ day delay in sub-contractor payments, leading to modern slavery, high mental stress and suicide epidemic.
  • “Transforming an adversarial self-serving Construction Industry into a low cost, low carbon Built Environment industry that sustainably serves society” after Paul Fletcher
  • Clients that want to and are able to make a difference
  • Specialists with a passion for their contribution to the solution

7 How has your industry developed since awareness of impacts came into play?

  • CAT, AECB, TGR, SEDA, FSC, Greenpeace, FoE and many others have been working out how to make changes for 1-5 decades, but very few were and are listening.
  • Bath, Plymouth and Brighton Universities doing great research
  • Roughly 2000: Friends of the Earth’s Good Wood Guide identified endangered species of timber; British Library Exhibition hall used Afromosia stained it black and added 4 coats of acid catalyst lacquer ‘Like plastic’ “Who was I a lowly specification writer to question Cambridge educated Architects?” “British Library is more important than that” (RIBA you have a lot to answer for)
  • 2018 Extinction Rebellion and Greta Thunberg
  • 2018 David Attenborough Blue planet awakens the sleeping giant
  • 2019 Greta Thunberg invited adults to join the school strike, behaviour change campaign,
    • Architects Climate Action Network (ACAN) and Architects Declare arise
  • 2020 ACAN, LETI and Scott McAulay’s Anthropocene Architecture School
    • Actively radically changing the industry from within

8 Where can you see real potential for positive change?

  • It will not come from:
    • Government
    • RIBA Education Committee or Universities (unless ACAN can kick some ass)
    • OneClickLCA (one-click is not the reality, but Architects love it)
    • BRE, BREEAM, Green Guide to Specification, Green Book Live (BRE Green = Violet)
  • It will come from:
    • The new young brown-skinned RIBA President
    • AECB, TGR, STBA, ASBP, CMB, BPE, CAT, SEDA, ACAN, LETI, etc. and their influence
  • We need more R&DIY, DIY Kyoto, DIY Paris, DIY save the planet for comfortable human occupation

9 How do you inspire change within your team?

  • I do not have a team
  • My team are the students and delegates that I inspire into action (there have been quite a few)
  • Speak with enthusiasm, authority, with widest experience possible and lots of joined up thinking
  • Worry about the details so they can engage robustly
  • My track record and CV of past projects and activities can be inspiring

10 What is your overall opinion on the role of digital solutions.

  • Government Support and delivery of big open data is encouraging (except if its my NHS data)
  • Impressed with how introduction of Oyster Card to London Transport enabled 2012 London Olympics
  • BIM priorities support the largest practice doing government funded projects
    • More support is needed for the other 30% of the sector, self-builders and Clients
  • LCA and EPD will enable change, stymied by bad QS violet cost planning
  • Firstplanit joining forces with Green Building Calculator to analyse proposals (wider than just LCA and carbon)
    • Increase awareness of material’s and property’s characteristics and their applications
    • Choosing characteristics to meet the demand of the site and client
    • Using products only where the manufacturer intended them for
    • Doing your own Form Factor, U-Value, Overheating and many other calculations
    • Know as you design the in-use and embodied, energy, carbon and costs
    • Managing budgeting, cost planning, collating sub-contract tenders, tendering, cost controlling
    • Seeing all the consequences, good and bad of every substitution decision, instantly.

© GBE NGS ASWS GBC Brian Murphy aka BrianSpecMan
9th August 2022 – 25th August 2022

Show me a Change Maker C#1383

© GBE GBC GBL NGS ASWS Brian Murphy aka BrianSpecMan **
Satellite Websites: GBE GBL
25th August 2022

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