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New housing forum to set efficiency targets

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The government is to set efficiency targets for the building industry by establishing a new team of experts, together with sustainable housing test sites.

The detr has set up a housing steering group, including construction minister Nick Raynsford, the Treasury's Geoffrey Robinson, John Egan and the cib's Tony Jackson, to form part of a housing forum which will also include the Housing Corporation. The forum will agree targets, produce demonstration projects for sustainable housing and explore the scope for standardisation, prefabrication and modular building.

The detr's John Hobson said that sustainable housing had three prongs: social justice, economic development, and environmental protection. 'The immediate need is demonstration projects,' he told the National House Building Council's September annual conference. 'People should test sustainable housing and communities to see what works and what does not, with mechanisms to pull out the relevant lessons and develop policy.'

He added that the proposals tied in with the Egan Report because efficiency and sustainability were two sides of the same coin.

Nice, in the South of France, has a new museum of Asian Art, designed by Japanese architect Kenzo Tange. Francoise Cachin, director of French museums, said that the building reflected Asian symbolism and hoped it would inspire the public to profound reflection with its pure and minimalist style. The key materials of the building, which covers 2500m2 over three floors, are marble, metal and glass.

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