Perhaps the comment from "industry professional" is implying that the volume house builders know best and have no need of architects. They certainly have virtually a monopoly on what is on offer.
Well done the Mayor of London. If VAT were equalised across refurb. and new-build housing, establishing a level playing-field, it would be possible to carry out objective cost-benefit analyses comparing the two procurement routes, rather than the present 20% incentive to demolish and rebuild, which externalises the waste of embodied energy and the social disruption costs.
It would be interesting to read the citation seeking to justify the conferring of Honorary RIBA membership on Boris Johnson, a man notably without any sense of honour, integrity or consistency; known to be a mendacious narcissist and serial philanderer, who’s vanity projects when Mayor of London are estimated to have wasted £1bil in public money, pursued in the face of expert advice as to their folly and who’s record as Foreign Secretary was a litany of lazy blunders; he can only bring shame and disrepute on the Institute and the Nation.
Thank you Sadiq. There are still signs of sanity and resposiblity in the political system--- but for how much longer?
It is good to see the profession focusing on the greatest problem facing humanity, man-made climate chaos and mass extinctions. Though some might ask where have the designers of fully-glazed, air-conditioned towers been focussing their gaze over the last 30+ years since the green-house gas phenomenon was discovered and proved at the end of the 19th century, by the Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius. Sue Roth has pointed out that such towers, with their high-speed lifts, consume approx. double the energy required for the same accommodation in the form of 6 storey city blocks, which was traditionally the dominant development form before railways & then cars allowed the spread of suburbia.
It was recognised even at the height of house building in UK, when a peak of over 400,000 a year was reached, that we were only replacing the existing stock at the max rate of 3% per annum. It is further established that housing contributes approx. 30% to our national emissions and that this stock is amongst the most energy inefficient in Europe. This is where the major effort should be expended.
Of course architects like to build but the dominant economic assumptions and pressures towards ever accelerating site clearance and regeneration are not sustainable, either environmentally or socially. The two biggest obstacles to a rethink are firstly the 20%VATpenalty on refurb, as against zero on new-build housing (a level playing field would allow a genuine cost benefit analysis) and secondly the political strength of the construction lobby and their weighty preference for the cleared site.
The RIBA should lobby for the removal of these obstacles, as a pre-condition to genuinely tackling responsible development.