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Existing stock could save planet says top developer

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Development Securities director Julian Barwick today turned the tables on the sustainability debate by highlighting the potential role of the existing building stock

Delivering a speech yesterday morning (8 December) to the AJ100 Breakfast Club at London’s Claridge’s, Barwick questioned the emphasis on sustainability in new builds and asked why politicians were not prepared to ‘have a go’ at improving the energy efficiency of the country’s housing.

‘Is the point to market new product? Or is the point to save the planet?’ asked Barwick. ‘If the latter – and this is obviously the case – then why aren’t we looking for some big wins on the standing stock, [for example] double glaze everything, including listed buildings – after all [standing stock] comprises 99 per cent of the market.

‘Why turn the spotlight on 1 per cent of the stock – the new stuff – and demand the addition of bells and whistles, which won’t make much of a difference anyway?’ said Barwick.

Barwick was upbeat about the recession, reminding his audience that ‘we have not oversupplied this time round,’ and that it was a good time to brush up on refurbishment skills.

‘[T]his whole idea of less doing more is right at the heart of any building project today,’ he said, commenting on the state of play across the profession.

‘And very exciting it is too to be working under a new set of rules and conditions, constrained by reduced budgets but with an unchanged mandate still to deliver design of the highest quality,’ he added.

The breakfast speech at Claridge’s this morning was attended by members of the AJ’s AJ100 survey of the UK’s largest practices.

Also attending were representatives from SIV Architectural Careers; business management software provider BST Global; multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy Hilson Moran; aluminium, steel, and solar product leader Schüco; and flooring specialist InterfaceFLOR.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • he is right, amongst other things planning departments and their conservation officers need sacking.

    The RIBA ought to think about how they might take on these roles, which will require a courageous stance against local and national government and changes in our education system.

    Embarrassingly, architects ran like lemmings to Dubai, without a real thought for energy conservation and more borrowed money 'from' central government is lapped up on job creation schemes like BSF etc.

    BTW (the money doesn't actually exist)

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