|Bruce Manning & Iain Fairnington, A Proctor Group
|Luke Pinder, Virgin Media O2
|Alistair Decent, Cracking Energy
|Chris Dore, TriConnex
|Andrew Villis, Quad Consult Engineers
|Neil Hope-Collins, HSE
|Brian Stevenson & Dan Hicks, NHBC
|Adam Graveley, Future Homes Hub
HBF Technical Conference – 19th September
Ofwat wants to “have more of a relationship” with developers, according to its principal Phillip Dixon.
Speaking at the Home Builders Federation’s Technical Conference in Birmingham today (September 19), Dixon of Ofwat, the water services regulation authority for England and Wales, encouraged delegates to get involved in the organisation’s work on environmental incentives.
This was “a key part” of Ofwat’s endeavour to encourage water companies to “do more”, increasing the scope and scale of incentives to allow developers to build sustainable properties and communities, Dixon explained. A consultation on this closed on August 1 with conclusions to be published “before the end of the year”.
The industry’s engagement with the direction of environmental incentives would allow water companies to “help you more”, Dixon told the housebuilding audience, with Ofwat assisting this.
“We’re keen to hear your voice. If you want to be part of what we do, get involved. This won’t be a talking shop.” He said that “key takeaways” from the consultation included support for a flexible and simple common framework.
“We value the new build sector,” Dixon insisted. “We want to have more of a relationship with you – more than we do.”
Also speaking at the conference, Adam Graveley, head of technical and innovation at the Future Homes Hub, talked about the Hub’s work on whole life carbon – “the embodied carbon built up in the materials and transportation and through the whole life of the building”.
Larger housebuilders were “starting to think about embodied and whole life carbon”, which, he indicated, would aid smaller housebuilders.
Graveley said the Hub, established to promote sustainability across new homes, was developing a simple tool to measure embodied carbon. The Hub is aiming to have the beta version of the tool ready by December, to launch to Hub members in March.
Graveley noted the current lack of information on when the Future Homes Standard consultation (Part L) would launch. But he added: “We don’t know when the consultation will land, but we do know some of the things required such as heat pumps, which will stand us in good stead.”
Chris Doré, TriConnex’s business development director, told developers that “you need to get on top of your Future Homes Standard strategy”, and “per project”.
The sector needed to closely watch what was developing with the FHS, he stressed. “When the consultation comes out, do comment on it. That’s how we’re going to influence the transitional arrangements to give us more space.”
In one comment on grid capacity as the industry moves to all-electric, Doré said SME housebuilders were being “excluded from interactivity in the grid”, with larger housebuilders better resourced to secure capacity for their schemes.
On building safety, “the industry was not as good as we thought it was”, stated Neil Hope-Collins, operational policy lead – HRB Building Control Authority of the new Building Safety Regulator – HSE.
He presented on the significant, looming changes to the regime for tall buildings and the built environment in general. But he added: “What we’re asking is for you to design buildings that are legal and that you build them to that design.”
Also speaking at the conference were the A Proctor Group’s Bruce Manning and Iain Fairnington, covering radon on sites, Virgin Media O2’s Luke Pinder on Part R and the company’s expansion plans, Cracking Energy’s Alistair Decent discussing Part S and electric car charging, Quad Consult Engineers’ Andrew Villis on the Flood and Water Management Act and SuDS, and NHBC’s Brian Stevenson and Dan Hicks, who looked at new regulations and NHBC Standards.