On March 1, 2022, Futurebuild opened its doors, giving disruptors across the built environment the opportunity to collaborate, see the latest innovations on the show floor and hear from industry experts about how we can turn net-zero ambition into delivery.
Keith Waller, programme director at the Construction Innovation Hub, started the day’s conference programme by reflecting on the industry’s current efforts to meet net zero, three and a half years into the four years of government funding secured by the construction sector deal.
Waller explained that the deal demonstrates what we can achieve when government and industry works together, even when dealing with external events including COVID, COP26 and Brexit. The project also emphasises that technical innovation alone will not deliver transformation, we must empower policy makers, continue to develop solutions and embed them at scale while maintaining a collaborative spirit.
In the first conference session, panellists discussed our action programme beyond COP26, looking at the actions we can take right now. Hannah Vickers, CO2nstructZero member of the Construction Leadership Council, shared that its industry change programme aims to focus on three areas — performance measurement across the sector to measure progress, signposting so that we are not duplicating efforts and looking at areas where we can enable change when the whole industry focuses on one area, such as zero diesel construction sites.
Rachel Skinner, past president of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and executive director of WSP discussed her main takeaways from COP26, stating that we must firstly ask if we understand what net zero is as a concept. Once we recognise what it is and where we are now, we can act quickly by sharing best practice and collaborating, rather than every company working on its own method. Finally, she mentioned that net zero is complicated and we have a lot to do, so we must hold ourselves accountable to call out bad practice and get to grips with how we can transform the built environment.
ACAN takes over
Futurebuild exists to amplify the voice of other pioneers in sustainability, so this year it has let Architects Climate Action Network (ACAN) host a bar takeover. The bar features tables themed on the network’s nine working groups and to showcase that we can build to high standards using non-toxic, compostable materials, all the tables and other structures at the bar will be used in construction projects after the show. The team are also hosting daily live demonstrations on how to use natural materials, such as straw building and lime plastering, in future construction projects.
“We cannot affect climate change without changing how we construct and our attitude to how we construct,” explained Sam Turner of ACAN. “We’re a collective of individuals who are coming together to fill the gap and make change happen. However, we don’t always have the answers, so to get people talking at Futurebuild we’re hosting an open meeting on Wednesday at 5:00pm, giving people the opportunity to discuss where they want to see change in the industry.”
On the Innovation Stage, three of the show’s Innovation Partners, Procore, Worcester Bosch and C-Probe, presented their game-changing solutions to visitors. Procore discussed how we need cultural change to overcome barriers to enable digital transformation in the sector. C-Probe reported that 70 per cent of infrastructure damage is caused by corrosion, so shared how we can use smart low carbon cements to preserve embodied carbon in structures.
Alex Turner, key account director at Worcester Bosch, showcased the benefits of decarbonising heat and low carbon technologies for residential housing. “Futurebuild gives us the opportunity to see other industry innovators face to face and collaborate on how we can achieve net-zero. It also gives us the chance to speak to distributors and gain valuable feedback about how end users, landlords and homeowners feel about the latest sustainable technologies, so that we can adapt to meet their needs.”
Futurebuild continues on March 2 and 3, showcasing more game-changing innovations and inspiring conference sessions. Highlights include the Big Innovation Pitch final at the end of day two, Concrete Futures seminars and the ACO Habitat Matters café. To register for Futurebuild, visit the website.