News

New STBA report released


EPCs and the Whole House Approach

May 2018

 

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are increasingly being used in UK policy as a means of driving the energy efficiency of the existing building stock. However, there are significant problems with this approach. The report provides an overview of the key issues, constraints and opportunities surrounding EPCs, identifying ways in which they could be better aligned with the ‘whole-house’ approach to retrofit developed by the STBA and recommended in the Each Home Counts report.

 

This study reveals that there are significant opportunities in the short term to improve clarity and understanding about the nature and limitations of EPCs. There needs to be a clear recognition that the EPC is not a substitute for an energy audit. Changes to presentation and the inclusion of key caveats concerning moisture, ventilation and heritage would also help to reduce the risks of misunderstanding and misuse.

 

In the longer term, it is becoming increasingly recognised that we need to deliver a sustainable built environment and not just a low carbon one, so a broader assessment is needed which has a wider set of goals - in other words, a Whole House approach, and an EPC can form an important part of the required assessment.

 

This scoping study has been prepared by the Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance (STBA) on behalf of Historic England and the National Trust. 


The scoping study can be downloaded here.




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BBP's Guidance on MEES & Heritage Properties: 
Saving energy and protecting cultural value - May 2018

 
The BBP has today launched its latest Industry Insight, Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards and Heritage Properties: Mitigating risks through the procurement and interpretation of Energy Performance Certificates.

The report has been developed in collaboration with Sturgis Carbon Profiling, to support owners of heritage properties in meeting compliance requirements of Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES), whilst simultaneously recognising the special requirements of heritage properties.

The introduction of MEES has brought EPC ratings sharply into focus as an important indicator for investment and leasing decisions. However, with EPCs predominately designed to rate modern buildings, they do not always account for the traditional characteristics of heritage properties or propose the most appropriate energy efficiency recommendations.
    
Heritage properties often have many opportunities to improve their energy efficiency performance. However, without careful consideration of how improvement works will interact with their traditional characteristics, there is a risk of works having unintended consequences that compromise their historic value and cause physical damage.

Fortunately, many of these risks can be avoided by ensuring that property owners have a sound understanding of their buildings and that high-quality EPC assessments are undertaken. Guidance to support owners in this process is set out in the publication.

See the report here.


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CIOB Academy celebrate History Month

May 2018


May is Local and Community History Month and the CIOB recognises the importance of historical buildings to local communities. To help their member understand how to manage these important parts of the built environment the CIOB Academy is holding a 1-day course - Project Management and Supervision: Historic and Traditional Buildings run by John Edwards - in Stirling and London during #HistoryMonth


More on the CIOB Academy website . . . .


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Each Home Counts Quality Mark

April 2018


The latest Each Home Counts newsletter includes a link to the consultation on the new quality mark. The consulation feedback cut-off date is 13th April 2018.




More on the EHC website . . . 





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ECO3, 2018-2022 Consultation

March 2018


Energy Company Obligation ECO3 Consultation is open. The consultation document can be downloaded here. The section on treating solid wall homes can be seen from page 32.


The STBA will be responding. If you would like to communicate with us about this, please contact Nigel Griffiths at nigel@stbauk.org.


The closing date for this consultation is 29th April 2018.


More . . . 



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Retrofitting Traditional Buildings - 

1-day training events in 2018 led by Nick Heath


These one-day technical training events are run by STBA Supporting Organisation, The Green Register, and led by STBA Technical Director, Nicholas Heath. Nick covers current issues, solutions and emerging best practice in how to achieve ‘responsible retrofit’ – sustainable, low-energy traditional buildings with retained character, minimal risk to buildings and occupants and real benefits for all.

 

Principles including moisture movement, thermal bridging, building and insulation materials, energy assessments, planning and finance are complemented by practical solutions for domestic buildings, with a focus on solid walls, windows and ventilation as part of a whole-building approach.

 

Dates & Venues: 6 June (Sheffield), 27 June (Bristol), 12 September (Glasgow) 19 September (London), 10 October (Manchester), 5 December (Exeter)

 

More . . . 

 

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UK Centre for Moisture in Buildings, March 2018


The UK Centre for Moisture in Buildings has six ongoing working groups.

 

  1. Monitoring and modelling of moisture in buildings
  2. Ventilation, airtightness and moisture in buildings
  3. Moisture in new build
  4. Moisture in existing buildings and retrofit
  5. Flooding and escape of water
  6. Insurance and consequences of moisture in buildings

 

The STBA has several staff, Supporting Organisations and STBA Experts represented on each of these. In addition, Peter Draper (STBA Sustainability Chair), Nigel Griffiths (STBA Director) and Nick Heath (STBA Associate Technical Director) are part of the Moisture in Existing Buildings and Retrofit group – which is co-chaired by Harry Paticas and Bob Prewett (from our Panel of Experts).



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ECO Innovation Stakeholder Workshop 

4 April 2018, London


In co-ordination with the BEIS ECO team, the Sustainable Energy Association and the Energy Saving Trust are hosting a free workshop focused on how the Energy Company Obligation could be designed to encourage and support innovation.

 

The output from the event will feed directly into the consultation process and as such this event offers an excellent opportunity to help shape the future of the scheme. 

 

We hope that several of our members and Supporting Organisations will be able to attend. It is important that, in the enthusiasm to 'rush to retrofit' to impossibly high notional levels, we bring some reality to the debate. 

 

Spaces are limited so to register your interest, please click here.

 

More on the Sustainable Energy Association website  . . . .

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PAS2035 - March 2018


A publicly available standard for retrofit is under development at BSI. PAS2035 will cover the critical survey and design elements which had previously been included in PAS2030 - which is itself being revised and will focus purely on installation. We are delighted that PAS2035 has clear objectives including the avoidance of unintended consequences, the protection and enhancement of cultural and architectural heritage, and improving comfort, health and wellbeing.
 
A wider stakeholder consultation will be held in the coming months. We will share this with our network as it is critical that these objectives are maintained and followed through in the development of the standard, which needs to be in place for the next round of ECO - commencing in October of this year.


 


Building the Future: Qualifications Review

 - February 2018

 

Qualifications Wales has published its report, Building the Future: Sector Review of Qualifications and the Qualification System in Construction and the Built Environment. The report recommends some robust reforms that are intended to deliver clearly articulated, coherent progression routes from 14 to 19 for learners in Wales. 

 

The report also recognises that the knowledge and skills to work on traditional and heritage buildings needs to be embedded in mainstream qualifications throughout all stages of learning. This a major step forward for the historic environment of Wales and something that Cadw is actively promoting through its Strategic Skills Partnership Agreement with CITB, Historic England and Historic Environment Scotland.  

 

Qualifications Wales is inviting views on the options that they are proposing. Closing date 13 April 2018.

 

The full report, consultation document and international comparison report are available on their website. 

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Retro-fitting of heritage buildings

Ecobuild - 8th March 2018 at 14:45

 

One of the STBA Panel of Experts,  John Edwards, will be chairing the only session at Ecobuild 2018 that focuses on older buildings and retrofit.

 

This session will explore the challenges in improving building performance in heritage buildings - energy efficiency, embodied carbon, resilience against climate change and flexibility in functionality. It will also explore innovations in design, construction processes and specification of materials that are being incorporated in heritage buildings in England and Italy through a panel discussion with leading experts. What are the new approaches being pioneered on Venetian and London heritage buildings? What is working, what do we still need to do better?

 

The speakers include our previous Heritage Chair, Roger Curtis, Technical Research Manager, at Historic Environment Scotland.

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STBA Members' Meeting, London -

20 February 2018

 

We welcomed our Members and guests to the 2018 Advisory Group Meeting on 20th February.

 

In addition to discussions on our work programmes for the coming months - and hot topics of concern to our members - we were very pleased to have speakers from BEIS on the topics of PRS and ECO. These were Senior Policy Advisors, Tamara Dimova & Rita Varsani, respectively.

 

The STBA and it's Supporting Organisations are continuing to have dialogue with BEIS on the concerns we have regarding the assessment and retrofit of older buildings.


The BEIS presentation can be downloaded here.

 

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Retrofit is at risk if not “whole house” approach

January 2018


Problems revealed in the article “Disastrous Preston retrofit” by Kate de Selincourt (in Passive House Plus magazine) flag up the consequences of retrofit without the ‘Whole Building” approach. Individual measures – such as efficient boilers – are, of course, beneficial across the board but unless the functioning of the building as a whole is taken into account, the result of more major retrofit will at best will be ineffectual and at worst damage the health of the building and occupants.

 

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The STBA was established in response to concern over the “rush to retrofit” without consideration of the ‘unintended consequences’. The alliance of heritage, sustainability and industry practitioners was made possible by the joint desire for more research, enlightenment and influence (see the Origins & Development of the STBA), particularly in terms of defining and demonstrating practical whole building solutions

 

Our work on retrofit continues so that the failures, such as in Preston, can be avoided. The STBA has produced guidance and information including “Planning Responsible Retrofit” and “Whole House” . In addition, we were commissioned to produce the Moisture in Buildings paper published by bsi and we have worked with Bristol City Council to deliver their guidance on “Solid Wall Insulation”  and training programme for Bristol’s professionals and installers.

 

We are optimistic that, as the Whole Building approach is starting to be recognised in government policy and guidance, retrofit will improve and the need for different types of expertise for different building types will be acknowledged. Initiatives such as Each Home Counts should ensure that the one-size-fits-all mentality does not prevail.. However, there is still much work to be done and we shall continue to apply pressure for more change. Areas of ongoing concern are the assessment of buildings, EPCs and the SAP system for measuring energy rating.




Beautiful Buildings - the argument for beauty in a sustainable future - February 2018

 

It is not all about energy efficiency. Preserving beautiful old buildings that are functional and use high quality materials is a form of sustainability, say researchers. (See the full article on Science Nordic)


The research project, sustainable built heritage, by the Cultural Heritage, Transformation and Restoration research unit of The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation (KADK) recognises the value of beauty in a sustainable built environment.


Professor Christoffer Harlang states: “The understanding of what sustainable building is has become very restricted. There is a tendency to place a biased focus on the energy requirements of buildings. It is a huge problem because it often means that you either tear down buildings and build new energy-efficient buildings or rebuild beyond recognition. This means we lose the cultural heritage that is staring us in the face.”

 

Explaining ‘beauty’ Architect, Nicolai Bo Andersen says. “Beauty is not a matter of ugly or pretty. It is more a sense of meaningful cohesion, experienced through our senses and bodies. When a building speaks to us, it becomes sustainable, simply because we make a greater effort to look after it – because it is valuable to us,”


More . . . 



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STBA comments on surveys as part of the buying and selling process - December 2017


The government consultation from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government - Improving the home buying and selling process in England - sought views on how to make the English process of home buying and selling cheaper, faster and less stressful.

 

As part of our response, the STBA questions whether building surveys should be part of the conveyancing period. The time restraints when securing the sale or purchase of a property often cause a rush into the almost tick-box exercise of procuring surveys and guarantees. These are usually for the comfort of mortgage providers. Even when a purchaser is keen for a full survey, they often end up with a less than satisfactory report.

 

“The issue arises in part because surveyors are often not specifically qualified to assess traditional buildings. The RICS Guidance for Surveys of Residential Property (2014) specifies that the surveyor needs to be familiar with the nature and complexity of the property type and the region in which it is situated, including: “Common and uncommon vernacular housing styles, materials and construction techniques; particularly important for older and historic buildings where the surveyor must understand the interaction of different building materials and techniques.” Many surveyors do not meet such a competence requirement. The need for a buyer to use an appropriately qualified surveyor (minimally BS7913) therefore needs to be made clear both to buyers and to mortgage providers when looking at traditional buildings.”

 

Our full response can be downloaded here.

 

The STBA's programme for 2018 includes a focus on the appropriate assessment of buildings. This would not be at the point of purchase but would form an ongoing homeowner's record to assist with understanding of the building type, significance, geographical context, condition and maintenance schedule. This would be important information essential when considering the essential 'whole house' approach for energy efficiency upgrades.

 

 


STBA Members' Workshop - Heritage, Environment & Industry: Common Ground and Conflicts‬ 

November 2017


Thank you to all those who joined us for our Heritage and Sustainability event at the end of November. The event got the ball rolling for this important programme by engaging with people from heritage, the environment and industry – but this is just the start of an ongoing discussion.

 

With the government encouraging industry to take the lead - in particular for retrofit - is it essential that we can find a common voice and alternatives to purely industry-led solutions. Only in this way can we create a truly sustainable traditional built environment.

 

Further Heritage and Sustainability events are planned for the future - and we hope this will give many more the opportunity to join us for these discussions. 


A summary of the workshop outcomes is available here.



 

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Building a market for energy efficiency: call for evidence - January 2018


The government is seeking evidence and views on additional measures and incentives that could encourage home-owners to invest in energy efficiency improvements.


This consultation closes on 9th January 2018 and we urge our members and Supporting Organisations to respond. The STBA will be submitting a response so to have an input here please contact Nigel Griffiths (nigel@stbauk.org).


More . . . 

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BS EN 16883: 2017 - Conservation of Cultural Heritage: Guidelines for improving the energy performance of historic buildings - November 2017

 

This new BS and EN standard is designed for use by building owners, authorities and professionals involved in conservation and refurbishment. It provides a logical and step by step guide to the topic, based on conservation principles.  Input from ICOMOS (STBA Supporting Organisation) was led by Peter Cox.


This guidance is available from bsi - click here.

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Making Retrofit Standards more accessible - November 2017

 

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Moisture and Breathability – 

ASBP and The Green Register event

November, Bristol - November 2017

 

On 9th November 2017, we took part in a well attended event on Moisture and Breathability This was organised by our Supporting Organisations, the Alliance for Sustainable Building Products and The Green Register.

 

In addition to our presentation on moisture in traditional buildings, Caroline Rye spoke about the SPAB Building performance survey, and the Bristol City Council talked about their Responsible Retrofit programme.

 

The event focused on buildings as part of a system in constant and dynamic interaction with people and the environment - not as standalone discrete entities. This interconnectedness means benefits, problems, solutions and consequences cannot be effectively addressed in isolation.

 

With energy efficiency as the main driver for retrofit, this event highlighted the importance of delivering effective moisture control, alongside good detailing, quality installation, consideration of product impacts and an effective ventilation strategy.


Moisture and breathability is part of the ASBP Healthy Buildings programme.

 

 

 

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National Maintenance Week with SPAB 

17th to 24th November 2017


Efforts to keep our homes healthy and optimise thermal performance is often thwarted by inadequate building maintenance. SPAB are again celebrating National Maintenance Week with help and ideas for homeowners to preserve the fabric and character of their old buildings. The week runs from 17th November, culminating with National Gutters Day on Friday 24th November.



The Fighting Damp advice is available to download and this year they have produced a free, very handy, pocket-sized maintenance calendar. The SPAB Maintenance Calendar will help anyone who cares for a building to schedule simple, but helpful maintenance tasks throughout the year. Featuring fun cartoons and top tips, the calendar would be especially helpful as a give-away for local authorities and organisations working to promote good property care. More information - and how to order your calendar - on their website.



SPAB also runs an all year round Technical Advice Line where members of the public are able to discuss their technical queries over the phone with a member of their technical staff. The line is open Monday to Friday between 9.30am and 12.30pm on 020 7456 0916.



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Heritage & Sustainability - What's next?

November 2017

 

Building Design and Construction recently asked our Director, Nigel Griffiths, about heritage and sustainability, with the question 'What's next?'. His reply, which will appear in the magazine's Heritage and Conservation issue and can be downloaded here.

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The full article can be downloaded here.


 

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STBA & Heritage groups warn government over flawed approach to retrofitting older homes - November 2018

 

The STBA joined together with multiple heritage organisations, - including STBA members the National Trust, IHBC and SPAB - to write to the Government to emphasise that the one-size-fits-all approach to energy efficiency fails to recognise the unique nature of heritage properties.

The letter explains that policy to address the energy efficiency of the nation’s building stock is overly simplistic and designed from the perspective of modern construction and materials, ignoring fundamental building physics, resulting in inappropriate and potentially damaging measures.

 

According to the group, older homes built from traditional materials are being failed by the policy which gives homeowners inaccurate information on the energy efficiency of their properties and signposts them to potentially damaging retrofits. In the letter the organisations jointly ask to meet with Ministers to discuss the right solutions for safeguarding older buildings for future generations and to avoid further mistakes.

 

The conservation coalition writes that current policy to address the energy efficiency of the nation’s building stock is “overly simplistic” and “designed from the perspective of modern construction and materials, ignoring fundamental building physics, such as how traditional materials and structures ‘breathe’, resulting in inappropriate and potentially damaging measures.”

 

Click here for the full letter. 

 

 

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Private Rented Sector Legislation & SAP Updates - November 2017

 


The Domestic Private Rented Property Minimum Standard - Guidance for landlords and Local Authorities has now been published.


From April 2018 it will become illegal to let out a property with an EPC rating worse than “E”.

EPCs are based on RdSAP, itself derived from SAP - the Standard Assessment Procedure.


Following pressure from the STBA and other organisations, the recent updates to SAP included a much needed change in the default u-value for solid walls from 2.10W/m2K to 1.70W/m2K. Although this remains higher than the evidence suggests, this change is significant because EPC rating of some traditional buildings may improve as a result.


This change is also important because savings from solid wall insulation have been overestimated in the past due to the incorrect default value. Assessment of retrofit measures and packages of measures can  now be carried out on a more realistic basis.

 

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UKCMB Video on avoiding Moisture Problems in Buildings - November 2017


The UK Centre for Moisture in Buildings has launched a video that aims to provide guidance to on how to avoid moisture problems in existing homes. Although aimed at homeowners, this video is valuable to everyone involved in working on existing buildings, stressing the need for good building maintenance and having a whole-house strategy.

 

It provides an introduction to moisture in buildings, explaining in simple terms and images what damp means, where moisture in buildings comes from, as well as, introduce the notion of balance and how this can be achieved.


The video can be seen via the UKCMB website.



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Heritage Lottery Fund project wins RIBA Stirling Prize - November 2017

 

Hastings Pier, by dRMM architects, won the Stirling Prize and was chosen as the People's Choice.

 

We were delighted that this heritage project was also top project for sustainability. Simon Sturgis, Sustainability Advisor for the RIBA Stirling Prize judges, commented "most sustainability 'Whole-Life-Carbon' finalist.

 

Three HLF-supported buildings were featured in this year's shortlist - that included British Museum’s new World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre and a bold redevelopment at Chatham Historic Dockyard.

 

More information - on the Heritage Lottery Fund website.



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pic courtesy of Francesco Montaguti 

via Heritage Lottery Fund website

UKCMB report on health and moisture in buildings

- October 2017


The UK Centre for Moisture in Buildings report on the health impact of building which are too dry and too damp


Download the report here

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BEIS publishes reports as part of its Household Energy programme - 9th November 2017

 

As part of their buildings energy efficiency technical research, BEIS have issued two reports by University College London and Cambridge Architectural Research Ltd. on solid wall insulation:

  • Internal Wall Insulation: Best Practice and Innovation - download here.
  • Understanding Best Practice in Deploying External Solid-Wall Insulation - download here

Also published by BEIS this month:

  • Thin internal wall insulation, modelling study on energy saving potential– by AECOM– download here
  • Reports by BRE on solid-wall heat losses and the potential for energy saving – available here.
  • Dartford Housing Retrofit Project Evaluation Report by PRP - download here

  • Core cities Green Deal monitoring project, Leeds – Leeds Beckett University - download here.

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Re-launch of the UK Centre for Moisture in Buildings - October 2017

 

The STBA team, as well as our Sustainability Chair, Peter Draper, recently attended the re-launch of the UKCMB, headed up by Neil May.


This was preceded by meeting up with others involved in the UKCMB working groups.


The re-launch presentations are available on the UKCMB website.


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Merton retrofit funding trial - RetrofitWorks

October 2017

 

STBA members, RetrofitWorks, are working with Merton Council to trial a combination of grant funds that will help homeowners to get control of their home, greatly improve comfort, reduce bills and carbon dioxide emissions. They are seeking 10 homes – across a range of house types - to test funding applicability.

 

More . . . .




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UK Centre for Moisture in Buildings IWI publication

October 2017


Ahead of the UK Centre for Moisture in Buildings relaunch, the UKCMB has published a paper by Matt Smith of NBT entitled "Avoidance and diagnosis of problems associated with internal wall insulation". Written for the Journal of Building Survey, Appraisal & Valuation, this paper explains why problems occur and the importance of correct analysis of buildings pre-retrofit.


More on the UKCMB website and the paper can be downloaded here.





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The SPAB Approach

October 2017


This autumn SPAB released the SPAB Approach to the Conservation and Care of Old Buildings, written by Matthew Slocombe. The document is based on understanding, care and conservative repair. It is a simple message of sustainability. This approach is a unique combination of the theoretical and the practical. 


More . . . . 



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New publications from Historic England 

September 2017

 

The Sustainable Use of Energy in Traditional Dwellings: Using legislation and policy to guide decision-making by the Centre for Sustainable Energy

Local authorities are responsible for implementing a diverse range of legislation, policies and guidance relating to sustainable development, fuel poverty, housing standards and carbon reduction. These all have impacts on the historic environment. But if there is not adequate inter-departmental understanding and coordination of the many overlapping (and sometimes conflicting) requirements, there is a risk that one agenda will be undermined by another. The consequences of this include harm to heritage assets and failure to meet legislative and policy objectives in full. This report presents the findings of a research project carried out to understand better the areas of convergence and conflict between current legislation, policy and guidance. A further aim of the project has been to suggest ways in which Local Authorities might increase understanding between departments and stakeholders, and develop more integrated and better-informed approaches to policy and decision-making. The suggestions set out in this report have been developed in consultation with Oxford City Council, and other Local Authorities in four regional, cross sector workshops.

 

Reducing Energy Use in Traditional Dwellings by Chris Newman, Parity Projects

This report describes an in-depth ‘whole building’ analysis of energy use carried out in four traditionally built houses in Reading, Berks. The results were used to devise strategies to reduce energy use and carbon emissions for each household. These were then assessed in terms of their effectiveness and cost-efficiency. An important aim of the project was to understand better the costs and benefits of solid wall insulation in relation to other energy and carbon saving measures. The project demonstrates the benefits of a ‘whole building’ approach, and shows how the economics of specific energy and carbon-saving improvements vary from one household to another.



 

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2017-09 TheSustainableUseofEnergyinTraditionalDwellings-Usinglegislationandpolicytoguidedecision-making (1).pdf
Sustainable Use of Energy
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2017-09 ReducingEnergyUseinTraditionalDwellings_AnalysisofFourSolidWallHousesinReading.pdf
Reducing Energy Use

Private Rented Sector Legislation 

September 2017

 

From April 2018 it will become illegal to let out a property with an EPC rating worse than “E”. The PRS guidance for non-domestic properties has already been published and is available here. The Domestic guidance has been drafted but not yet published.

 

There is a particular issue relating to whether or not listed buildings are legally exempt from the requirement to have an EPC at the point of sale or let.

 

Resolution of this issue rests with DCLG but we understand that their efforts are currently focused on dealing with the aftermath of the Grenfell disaster and it may yet be some time before they produce a further guidance note on listed buildings. 



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Each Home Counts, September 2017


Each Home Counts Workstreams - Getting Involved

 

The STBA is engaging with several of the Each Home Counts workstreams. We are working to ensure that the particular needs of traditional buildings are included.

  • Nigel Griffiths serves on the Standards Group

  • Sam Allwinkle on Training

  • Nick Heath on Design & Installation

The other working Groups are:
  • Quality Envelope Functions (Simon Ayers, Trustmark)
  • Code of Conduct/Consumer Protection (Liz Male, Liz Male Consulting / Peter Broad, Citizens Advice)
  • Standards (Clare Price, BSI/ Peter Rickaby, Peter Rickaby Consulting)
  • Compliance & Enforcement (Claire Curtis-Thomas, BBA)
  • Information Hub & Data Warehouse (Philip Sellwood, Laura McGadie, EST)
  • Skills & Training (Richard Bayliss, CITB)
  • Data Ethics, Privacy & Protection (Rich Hampshire, CGI)
  • Finance & Insurance (Stephen Huller, BNP Paribas Personal Finance)
  • Building Fabric & Technology (Peter Caplehorn, CPA)
  • Home Energy Technology & Renewables (Kelly Bulter, BEAMA)
  • Design and Installation (Alan Cochrane, Retrofit Design Services)
  • Measurement, Monitoring and Verification (Kerry Mashford, NEF)
  • Smart Meters (Audrey Gallacher, Energy UK)
  • Social Housing (Bevan Jones, Sustainable Homes)
  • Pilots (BEIS)

We would be interested to hear from our members who are attending other groups - if you are involved, please let Nigel know.


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STBA at the RICS & SPAB Building Conservation Summer School - 10 to 14 Sept 2017, Cirencester


The STBA participated at the RICS-SPAB 2017 Building Conservation Summer School. As exhibitors we demonstrated the STBA Guidance Wheel and our Director, Nigel Griffiths gave a presentation on the STBA guidance available 

This event, by the RICS Building Conservation Forum in conjunction with SPAB, was designed to provide surveyors with an understanding of building conservation and surveying techniques for historic and listed properties.

It also gave insight into the building physics of all solid-wall buildings - useful information for all those involved with vast majority of older buildings that aren't earmarked as 'heritage'.

See Marianne Suhr's article in the RICS Building Conservation Journal (page 30).




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Neil May's MBE celebrated at a surprise party

September 2017


A surprise party was organised to celebrate Neil's recent MBE. STBA members and staff joined with many others whom Neil has worked with to dcelebrate this recognition of his work to promote sustainability in the built environment


As Liz Male tweeted "Fab party last week to celebrate Neil's MBE." 

(photo courtesy of Liz Male)




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IHBC's Context Magazine - with retrofit article by John Preston - July 2017


The IHBC’s Green Panel has been set up to give the institute a voice – and involvement – in what will arguably be the key issues for the historic environment in the coming years. 


John Preston (IHBC Green Panel & STBA Chair for Heritage) comments on “the shambles of little investment, market failure and the responsibility for retrofit delegated to the industry”. Read John’s article in the IHBC magazine, Context.  

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New Research into knowledge of appropriate retrofit of solid-wall buildings, Ireland

 

 

Earlier in 2017, our Director, Nigel Griffiths, attended a seminar by the Heritage Council of Ireland and ICOMOS. Entitled Deep Energy Retro-Fitting of Traditional Buildings, the main outcomes and recommendations are in accord with the STBA’s viewpoints - and even our programmes under the headings of Context, Continuity and Change. 

 

The Heritage Council and ICOMOS in Ireland are now engaged in a research into the state of knowledge of appropriate energy retrofit of solid-wall buildings. We look forward to cooperating with those involved with this valuable project.

 

Click on the icon below for the summary of the February event.

2017_02-28_icomosdeepenergyretro-fittingseminaroutcomes.pdf
2017-02 ICOMOS & Heritage Council of Ireland, seminar on deep retrofit
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PVCu vs Wood Windows – the facts

July 2017

 

The British Woodworking Federation is highlighting some misleading information about the exaggerated (and sometimes untrue) benefits claimed by PVCu window companies. The Wood Window Alliance campaign,“Wood You Believe It”,  is now setting the record straight. Many homeowners and specifiers are being misled about the facts concerning the cost, energy efficiency and environmental impact.

 

Here are links to all the facts:

 

More . . . .   

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APPG for Healthy Homes and Buildings 

Consultation period for Green Paper - till 30 Sept 2017


The second meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Healthy Homes and Buildings was held in July and was attended by several of our members including NBT and the Alliance for Sustainable Building Products.  


The agenda for this meeting was to discuss the role and purpose of the APPG and its objectives for the coming parliament. This includes the preparation for a Healthy Homes and Buildings Green Paper (Building our Future Laying the Foundations for Healthy Homes and Buildings). A draft of this is available to download


Comments are invited, in writing by 30 September 2017 to hhbappg@devoconnect.co.uk.


More . . .

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ASBP Contibutes to Terms of Reference for the Grenfell Tower Inquiry - July 2017

 

The awful events at Grenfell have underlined the importance of doing the right things to the right buildings, and using the right materials for the context. These kinds of issues have been raised before, by us and by others; the statement on Grenfell from our sister organisation the ASBP captures the essence of the problem.

 

The ASBP formulated and submitted a response to the inquiry from the realm of construction products:


"The Grenfell Tower disaster should act as a wake-up call to the whole construction industry. We know that the failings go beyond the specific and beyond the purely technical, to bigger and more complex problems of governance of the built environment, and to the wider industry culture where responsibility and risk is not shared but re-packaged and passed on in ever more complex ways.


The industry needs to undertake a complete re-appraisal that should consider everything from standard setting, building and product warranties and risk management through to building control and the approach to skills and workmanship. This tragedy needs to act as a catalyst for rejecting the culture that prevails and find new and better ways to build.


The Grenfell Tower fire represents a catastrophic failure of industry governance and regulatory frameworks. Given such systemic failure, it is essential that the inquiry draws upon evidence from truly independent experts, which may best be found from overseas and from other industries.


However, it is essential to react proportionately when we move from the enquiry to the phase of implementing any recommendations. The ASBP has long argued for a more balanced approach to regulation. There has been an over-emphasis on theoretical performance gains from reduced operational energy to the detriment of other important issues such as embodied energy, build quality and occupant health. We now need to be mindful of an over-emphasis on fire performance."


more . . . .  


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Neil May awarded MBE - June 2017

 

We are delighted and proud to announce that our CEO, Neil May, has been awarded the MBE in the 2017 Birthday Honours List. This is in recognition of his work to promote sustainability in the built environment.


Often referred to as inspirational, Neil has been instrumental in the formation of several organisations and initiatives to promote various aspects of sustainable building. These include the Alliance for Sustainable Building Products, Good Homes Alliance and the UK Centre for Moisture in Buildings (at UCL) and, of course, the STBA.


Neil's recent work has included the Bristolian's Guide to Solid Wall Insulation as part of Bristol City Council's Warm Up Bristol initiative and his Moisture in Buildings guidance paper with Chris Sanders.


Neil's response:
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STBA-SPAB Conference 

Sustainability of Traditional Buildings

June 2017, London

 

We would like to thank all those who came to this event and contributed to a very successful day. We broadened our topics to include all our areas that we are engaging in:

 

Context - Regulations, policy & working practices, as well as challenging the viewpoints that drive our current perception of sustainability. 

 

Continuity - A programme of maintenance, an understanding of building pathology, the use of appropriate materials and a ventilation strategy are key strategy are key to the effective functioning of traditional buildings.

 

Change - Changes to traditional buildings are needed for energy efficiency. Research into retrofit measures provides the knowledge needed for a Responsible Retrofit approach.


More . . . . . 


The presentations are being uploaded to our Resources page when they are available - click here.


The Conference Review by Nick Heath is available - click here.



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Sofie Pelsmakers' Research Paper Published

June 2017

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Sofie Pelsmakers research paper is now available to download


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Carbon Co-op Community Green Deal Case Studies 

June 2017


‘Powering Down Together’, is published to coincide with Community Energy Fortnight 2017. It reports on the retrofit of 12 owner-occupied solid-walled homes typical of Manchester’s housing stock.


more . . . 


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IHBC ‘Conservation Professional Practice Principles’ 

June 2017


The IHBC has launched its joint ‘Conservation Professional Practice Principles’ in conjunction with the Historic Towns and Villages Forum and Civic Voice. It offers a new, accessible statement on practice principles for specialists working in built and historic environment conservation roles.


The Practice Principles states "Good conservation practice is not about viewing heritage and cultural values in isolation, but considering these as an integral part of planning, place-making and helping places and buildings to adapt to modern needs. This integrated approach is at the heart of specialist, professional practice."


This document forms part of the IHBC Toolbox and can be downloaded here.


more . . . 

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The SPAB Building Performance Survey 

June 2017

 

This research looks at questions of risk in the refurbishment of traditional buildings. Since 2011 temperature and relative humidity profiles have been measured through three insulated solid walls - joined, in 2014, by measurements of material moisture content. These different measurement techniques aim to provide a detailed insight into the behaviour of moisture and moisture risks in the fabric of the walls. Over the past six years Archimetrics monitoring has built up a picture of the seasonal behavior of moisture in the walls, as well as longerterm trends, which shows the different and at times competing influences that affect these moisture profiles. 


The latest SPAB Building Performance Survey - produced in conjunction with ArchiMetrics and Historic England can be downloaded. Click here for the Summary and click here for the full report by ArchiMetrics.

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London Festival of Architecture Event: Memory, Heritage and the City - June 2017


The London Festival of Architecture in June included an event hosted by conservation architects, Donald Insall Associates. Entitled Memory, Heritage and the City. the animated discussions demonstrated the difficulty in getting conservation right. The 'value' of certain parts of the built environment and the reasons for preserving them vary from historical, heritage, cultural, social, aesthetic and even personal perspectives. The way we preserve them is also a matter for thought and debate.


As Laura Iloniemi writes in her review of the event "here was a sense that perhaps too much has been lost unnecessarily because buildings, streets and even whole areas of cities have been neither conserved with care nor sensitively restored."

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Each Home Counts Review Team

June 2017


The latest news about Each Home Counts - including a list of the workstreams - can be read in their newsletter.


To contact the Review Team with comments or to find out about any of the workstreams, email eachhomecounts@beis.gov.uk. 

 



The Future of the Past by Neil May

May 2017


The Future of the Past is a ground-breaking essay written by Neil May and supported by key organisations within the STBA  (Church of England, SPAB, National Trust, Historic Scotland). 


It begins by addressing the apparent disconnection between sustainability and heritage but rapidly acknowledges that this is symptomatic of a much deeper division in our society, even within ourselves. The paper explores how this situation arose, examining its roots in neoliberalism and logical positivism and explains how these have shaped not only the world we live in but also how they have distorted the practice of sustainability - which has unwittingly become part of the problem. 


The paper concludes that heritage and cultural values must play a much more active role in discussions about the future. 


A Summary of the paper can be downloaded here or by clicking on the icon to the right.



The full paper can be downloaded here.



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2017-05thefutureofthepastbyneilmaysummarypaper.pdf
The Future of the Past - summary


STBA Ventilation Masterclass - Cancelled

May 2017


The 2017 series of Responsible (Whole House) Retrofit Masterclasses was due to start on 25th May 2017 withVentilation and Indoor Air Quality inTraditional Building Retrofit with Ian Mawditt. Unfortunately, this event has now been cancelled.

 

Retrofitting older buildings to improve their insulation and airtightness can significantly change internal conditions. Without a robust ventilation strategy, this can create moisture and pollutant problems that can be detrimental to the health of both occupants and building fabric.

 

In this half-day masterclass, expert trainer Ian Mawditt will take delegates through the technical principles and practice of ventilation and airtightness, illustrating key lessons and solutions through case studies, real-world monitoring and practical exercises.

 

This event was in association with Zero Carbon Yorkshire and is kindly sponsored by Green Building Store.

 

 


The CLA EPC Report and PRS Implications

March 2017


The recent CLA Policy Briefing, The Retro Fit-Up, highlights the problems with the current EPC energy assessment method, especially for older buildings. In the lead up to the PRS legislation, due to come into effect in April 2018, many landlords will be 'rushing-to-retrofit', often without enough knowledge and consideration of damage they may be causing their properties.


The CLA report can be downloaded here.


Moisture in Buildings White Paper published 

March 2017

 

The long awaited moisture in buildings paper by STBA's Neil May and Chris Saunders is now available to download via the bsi website.

 

Entitled Moisture in Buildings: an integrated approach to risk assessment and guidance, the white paper is in response to a growing relaisation that traditional moisture risk approaches are inadequate. 

 

The guidance:

  • Describes why the approach to moisture in buildings needs to change
  • Explains the limitations of current moisture risk assessment standards and regulations
  • Proposes a way forward, using a new whole building approach
  • Sets out the principles of the whole building approach
  • Outlines how we should tackle moisture risk assessment and design in future

The content has been endorsed by academic experts and mainstream practitioners and is backed up by a considerable amount of research done in the UK and other parts of Europe. 

 


 

IHBC-STBA update to 'Make Each Home Count’ with ‘Different but Complementary’ approach - March 2017


In a well-received and incisive presentation to an audience that included Peter Bonfield, John Preston, IHBC’s Green Panel Chair and Heritage Chair of the STBA, called for traditional buildings to be given a ‘Different but Complementary’ approach in Bonfield’s ‘Each Home Counts’ plans for domestic energy use and provision.


Read the whole blog here http://ihbconline.co.uk/newsachive/?p=15119


For John Preston’s presentation to the STBA - click here 



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Major New Partnership to Boost Construction Skills 

March 2017

 

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has joined forces with Historic Environment Scotland, Historic England and Cadw, in a landmark partnership.


The ‘Strategic Skills Partnership Agreement’ was signed on Friday (24 March 2017) to launch an action plan to equip the construction industry with the knowledge, understanding and skills for the continued and sustainable use of traditional building stock, benefitting the economy and communities across the nations.


more . . . 


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STBA Advisory Group Meeting
21st February 2017, London

 

Peter Bonfield attended our annual meeting with Members, Affiliates, Supporting Organisations and Panel of Experts. Peter joined the discussions on the Bonfield Reveiw, Each Home Counts, and was accompanied by James Sharples of BEIS.

 

Although what is needed for retrofit can be stated quite simply, the 'how' of its implemented is where industry and experts need to get involved to make it work. 

 

The Alliance - representing Heritage, Industry and Sustainability - is keen to get across the need for a different approach to retrofit for solid-wall buildings. The obvious wealth of expertise amongst its members is well placed to contribute to the Each Home Counts workstreams. 

 

The STBA is also concerned that there be a focus on a whole house (responsible retrofit) approach. Without this there will be adverse effects on health (for the buildings and occupants) and a lost opportunity for greater carbon reduction. 

 

In addition, the implementation of of Each Home Counts needs to flag up existing problems caused by inadequate maintenance and inaapropriate measures and materials. Peter agreed that the construction industry needs to look at wider issues, including flooding.

 

To get involved with the STBA work, see how your organisation can join us as Members (not-for-profits) or Affiliates (for profits).



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Guest Speaker

Peter Bonfield, chair of the Bonfield Review &

CEO of BRE

 

SPAB's response to 'Rush to Insulate 25 Million Homes' Report - February 2017

  

"The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) warns that a report to Parliament today urging the Government to take urgent action to insulate 25 million homes by mid-century would set up a time bomb causing severe building defects in older, pre-1919 solid-walled properties and jeopardising the health of their occupants.


Use of the wrong type of insulation in older buildings constructed using traditional materials can be worse than adding no extra insulation at all. It causes dampness and rot, as well as discomfort for occupants, and increases incidences of respiratory conditions such as asthma. In addition it saves little, if any, energy."


Read SPAB's whole response here.



Falkirk Townscape Heritage Initiative 

Courses and Training 2016-2017

 

Events by the Falkirk THI include Energy Efficiency in Traditional Buildings with Historic Environment Scotland on 1st February 2017.

 

Falkirk THI is jointly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Historic Environment Scotland, Falkirk Council, and the Falkirk BID. Between 2013 and 2018 they plan to invest £5.5 million in the town centre with the aim of helping to regenerate the area through investing in its unique and rich heritage. 

 

More . . . 


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The Bonfield Review is published

December 2016

 

The Bonfield Review, "Each Home Counts" was published before Christmas.  The Review Team invites feedback on the recommendations and related proposals for action - deadline 31st January 2017. We shall be responding following discussions with our three chairs from Heritage, Industry and Sustainability.

 

Peter Bonfield will be speaking about the Review at our inaugural meeting of the STBA Advisory Group on 21st February 2017, when we shall be welcoming the views our Supporting Orgnisations, Affiliate Members and the Expert Panel of Experts.

 

Click here.



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Scottish House Condition Survey

December 2016


The Scottish Government has issued its Scottish House Condition Survey 2015


Amongst its findings is the need for proper maintenance of traditional buildings. In 2015 68% of pre-1919 homes had some ‘critical disrepair’, defined as ‘building disrepair central to weather-tightness, structural stability and preventing deterioration of the property’.


The STBA has long recognised the impact of disrepair on both the thermal performance and heritage value of buildings.  In 2017 we will commence our 'Memory & Maintenance' programme to highlight the issues.



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What is Whole House Retrofit

November 2016


This short paper sets out the background to the development of the whole house approach, then examines the various levels of retrofit which are often described as whole house but in reality most fall far short. 

 

The STBA’s optimal approach (Responsible Retrofit) is explained, together with a final section which looks forward to a vision of transformative retrofit and the role that it could play in delivering a truly sustainable society for the 21st century. 


Download here.




CIOB Building Conservation Course and 

Certification Scheme - November 2016

 

The first CIOB Academy building conservation course, ‘Understanding Building Conservation’ took place in London in November 2016.  The course, led by John Edwards of Edwards Hart consultancy, is based around the ICOMOS training and education guidelines and is delivered in the context of the latest British Standard BS 7913: 2013: Guide to the Conservation of Historic Buildings and include sustainability and energy efficiency.

 

The course enables delegates to apply for recognition of your skills and experience in the forthcoming CIOB Building Conservation Certification Scheme in 2017.

 

Further information and course dates on the CIOB Academy website


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French version of STBA Guidance Wheel

November 2016

 

Following meetings with STBA back in 2014, the French Government realised the need to set up a similar body to the STBA in France. The CREBA platform for the responsible retrofit of traditional buildings has now been established – the official announcement was made on 4 November at the European Biennale of Urban Heritage, during the symposium on Historic Town Centres in Cahors.


 As an early project, CREBA plans to translate the STBA’s Guidance Wheel into French – with our support and collaboration.

 

Members of the project consortium are CEREMA in Strasbourg, the School of Architecture in Toulouse, Arts et Metiers in Paris, Maisons Paysannes, and the heritage organisation Sites & Cités remarquables de France ANVPAH.

 

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Sustainability & Adaptation Seminar, Birmingham City University - November 2016


Our Director Nigel Griffiths presented the work of the STBA to a group of mid-career professionals (conservation officers, surveyors, archaeologists) studying for an MA in Conservation of the Historic Environment at Birmingham City University. 


The organiser (Harriet Devlin, MBE) not only had all STBA’s publications on display, but also all the relevant technical reports and guidance  from Historic Environment Scotland, SPAB and Historic England.

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STBA Future Plans 

January 2017

 

The work we have planned falls into three programmes - Change, Continuity and Context. These coincide with many similar initiatives by organisations within the Alliance. The event for members on February 21st February will explore how the STBA and its member organisations can help each other progress our aims.


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Change: We shall build upon our existing work in Responsible Retrofit and form collaborations to extend knowledge, influence and resources towards energy efficiency for heritage buildings. Our focus is on the use of the whole-house approach.

Continuity: Our new Memory and Maintenance programme will provide research and guidance on how to use maintenance and repair to improve not only the performance of a building, but also the understanding of the occupants and those who work on the buildings. Moreover, this understanding and practical action can help to give people a sense of belonging and care for their homes and buildings, something which is often missing in policies about building performance and which can be undermined by modern trends to treat buildings simply as machines or financial assets.  There will be a research programme as well as the development of business models to take this work stream forward.

Context:  Are there sustainability benefits to the conservation of heritage, beyond ‘nice to have’? Our Context programme, prompted by Neil May’s ‘The Future of the Past’ paper, will explore why heritage is currently excluded from sustainability charters and policies.  It will open discussion on possible consequences of this as well as what heritage has to bring to sustainability in the 21st century.

 



STBA Joins Leading Retrofit Organisations for Response to Bonfield Review
January 2017 

 

The STBA also joined forces with leading retrofit organisation for an AECB led letter offering expertise to the workstreams set up to progress the recommendations of Each Home Counts.

 

Click here.




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STBA Response to Bonfield Review, Each Home Counts

January 2017

 

The STBA welcomes the Review’s acceptance of a whole-building approach to retrofit and the need for training/education and capacity building. We are also pleased to note that the Review recommends a bespoke and thorough assessment of each property prior to retrofit as well as recognising the need for some robust monitoring of retrofitted buildings. There is a commitment to make this information widely available and proposes an information hub - something that the STBA has long been championing.

 

However, the STBA is concerned that there is no focus on the required differences between treatment of older (solid-wall) buildings and modern (cavity-wall) buildings. To avoid repeating the mistakes and unintended consequences of the past, knowledge gathering is essential – both from existing research and new, real-life pilots of a full range of property types, retrofit measures and materials.

 

More on the Policy page and our full response can be downloaded by clicking on the icon below.

2017-01-31stbaresponsetoeachhomecountsbonfieldreview.pdf
STBA Response to Each Home Counts


In addition to contributing to the STBA Response, the IHBC responded independently and their response can be downloaded here.


Also of interest, the CIOB response which can be downloaded here.




IHBC offers ‘5-point plan’ for the survival of Conservation Areas - January 2017

 

The IHBC supports the Parliamentary Debate on the 50th anniversary of Conservation Areas, on 26 January, inspired by Civic Voice’s ‘Big Conservation Conversation’. IHBC submitted data on the 35%+ decline in England’s conservation services over the last 10 years and has come up with its own ‘5-point plan’ for their survival.

 

IHBC Vice Chair Kathy Davies said: ‘With more than 6% of Conservation Areas at risk, and a decade-long collapse of more than 35% in the local authority specialists that are responsible for managing them, we hope our politicians can appreciate the scale of the problems faced by this conservation legacy in its anniversary year!’


Their  ‘5-Point Plan’ for cost-effective care of Conservation Areas, calls for:

  1. Consolidated management of residential alterations so that they are universal, comprehensible to owners, and administratively simple
  2. All Conservation Areas to have Appraisals and Management Plans in place, in line with the ‘good practice’ standard supported by Historic England
  3. Credible requirements for all Local Authorities to have access to – and be obliged to weigh carefully – expert heritage advice
  4. Realistic resourcing for conservation services in Local Authorities so they can carry out both their statutory functions and meet the demands made on them by local communities
  5. Arrangements and protocols that will reduce the damage that non-conservation organisations can do to Conservation Areas through poorly specified works and materials

More on the IHBC website blog. Click here. 


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