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WILLMOTT DIXON TO DELIVER LATEST GT3-DESIGNED PASSIVHAUS LEISURE PROJECT FOR SPELTHORNE BOROUGH COUNCIL

ONE of the UK’s leading contractors has been appointed to deliver a pioneering Passivhaus leisure centre, designed by the sports and leisure experts at GT3 Architects. Willmott Dixon has been named by Spelthorne Borough Council as main contractor on the £43.5m project in Staines-upon-Thames, Surrey, which is targeting a Passivhaus certification for low

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REGULATE OR FAIL: TOO PASSIVE ON PASSIVHAUS

Anyone interested in building design and energy conservation will have come across the Passivhaus standard. This internationally recognised benchmark has for some years been the top grade for sustainable buildings and the principles have been adopted by many UK construction professionals. Neil Foster, director at international M&E consultancy CPW, explores

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Winners of the Southside Hereford University Design Challenge Announced

The winners of the TDUK Southside Hereford University Design Challenge (#TDchallenge22) have been announced following an incredibly competitive nine-month process.  The challenge was based on a live project to design a net zero community center, showcasing timber construction and meeting Passivhaus Standard. After 150 students registered from 57 Universities and nine months

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COLLIDA CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIPS THIS WORLD ENGINEERING DAY… 

TO CELEBRATE UNESCO’s World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development, digital construction company Collida highlights strategic alliances with three major international companies, SWAPP, Epic Games and Target 3D, that are driving the company’s UK growth.  Founded by construction giant Willmott Dixon, Collida aims to harness the very latest digital technology to

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New Shropshire hub to train 400 construction workers

A training hub aimed at providing opportunities for the unemployed, addressing Shropshire’s housing shortage, and boosting the county’s construction industry, has been given the go-ahead after a £650,000 Government grant was secured by a strong consortium of local businesses. Known as the Marches Construction Ready Partnership the group which includes

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Latest Issue

BDC 317 : Jun 2024

passivhaus

WILLMOTT DIXON TO DELIVER LATEST GT3-DESIGNED PASSIVHAUS LEISURE PROJECT FOR SPELTHORNE BOROUGH COUNCIL

ONE of the UK’s leading contractors has been appointed to deliver a pioneering Passivhaus leisure centre, designed by the sports and leisure experts at GT3 Architects. Willmott Dixon has been named by Spelthorne Borough Council as main contractor on the £43.5m project in Staines-upon-Thames, Surrey, which is targeting a Passivhaus certification for low carbon buildings.  The firm has been appointed alongside Passivhaus expert Gale & Snowden and will work collaboratively with GT3 to ensure sustainability is prioritised in line with the UK’s targets for reaching net zero. Spelthorne Borough Council have decided to adopt the Passivhaus approach, due to our net zero commitment, which will be the first wet and dry Passivhaus leisure centre in the UK. The centre will feature modern facilities such as a rooftop 3G pitch, sports hall, gym and competitive, learner and splash swimming pools. Alongside the core features, the design also includes a mini spa, flexible studio space, soft play, Clip n Climb and a community café, ensuring community-wide benefit for the project. Mark Gowdridge, director at GT3 Architects, said: “It’s great to see the progression of this fantastic project, and especially to have the team at Willmott Dixon now joining us with their wealth of knowledge in sustainable construction. “We are working ever closer to the Passivhaus certification for our design, which will save up to 60% in energy costs and ensure the building is futureproofed. We’re very happy with how the project is moving and having the input of Willmott Dixon will only enhance this. We are very much looking forward to bringing a fundamental space for health and wellbeing to the surrounding community.” Willmott Dixon is currently the only carbon neutral construction company and has set several further challenging targets to meet by 2030. Its ‘Now or Never’ strategy, launched in 2020, focuses on achieving operational net zero across all new build and refurbishment projects, being a zero-carbon company without any offsetting, and improving more than 100,000 lives through its social value commitments. Willmott Dixon has also shown its commitment to the environment by establishing the only dedicated in-house sustainability consultancy. Roger Forsdyke, managing director of London and the South, said: “We are hugely excited to be working alongside Spelthorne Borough Council, GT3 and Gale and Snowden on what will be a landmark project. Spelthorne Borough Council’s choice to adopt the Passivhaus approach is a testament to their commitment to carbon reduction. Within Willmott Dixon, we are putting maximum efforts in to supporting our customers to address the climate emergency, with projects like this ensuring we can continue in adopting our expertise to suit the ambitions of our partners.  We are looking forward to working alongside both GT3 and Gale and Snowden again ensuring the project’s success will be realised.” Passivhaus methodology was established in the early 1990s and has since become the world-leading standard in energy-efficient design and construction. Passivhaus buildings provide users with a high level of comfort, while also using very little energy by optimising the design of the building and all its systems. Daniel Mouawad, Chief Executive of Spelthorne Borough Council, said: “We are delighted to be a pioneering authority, demonstrating our commitment to net zero by building an ultra-low Passivhaus leisure centre. Having declared a climate emergency, we recognise the need to lead by example to achieve cleaner and greener lifestyles and a sustainable borough for all to enjoy. This centre is a great example of partnership working and will provide the right infrastructure to meet our communities’ changing needs and will enable residents to stay active in a healthy environment, with low chemical pools and a dementia friendly design.” For further information visit www.gt3architects.com or join the conversation over on Twitter @_GT3Architects

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REGULATE OR FAIL: TOO PASSIVE ON PASSIVHAUS

Anyone interested in building design and energy conservation will have come across the Passivhaus standard. This internationally recognised benchmark has for some years been the top grade for sustainable buildings and the principles have been adopted by many UK construction professionals. Neil Foster, director at international M&E consultancy CPW, explores why projects aiming for full certification are surprisingly rare – meaning its transformative potential for futureproofing the country’s building stock has yet to be realised. After some delay and much consultation, the updated building regulations on conservation of fuel and power (Part L) have come into force, with stipulations for improved energy performance that some consider to be unambitious. Although certain aspects of the Part L regulations are now closer to the Passivhaus standard – such as those around fabric insulation levels – should legislation be going further, faster? It takes very little time to see the benefits of Passivhaus. When a simple change to triple glazing reduces heat loss by 40%, why would anyone ignore the opportunity to reduce energy consumption through passive means and avoid the need to generate energy, however sustainably, in the first place. When this approach is rigorously applied to every aspect of the building design, it is possible to reduce heating demand to near zero – even in a cold climate. Furthermore, the benefits remain despite changing views on the best energy production methods, shifting landscapes on energy security and fuel price escalation. The initial cost of Passivhaus compliance can be unpalatable and may fall victim to value engineering – a popular term among clients and contractors. Ultimately, this comes down to what is considered to be valuable. In my opinion, true value engineering should go beyond simple cost cutting and also include measuring the sustainability benefit in the long term. Homeowners would surely value a house that costs extremely little to heat all year round – an entirely possible scenario if the Passivhaus standard is achieved. The iterative nature of the value engineering process itself may play a part, gradually eroding the original design aspiration. Once one sustainability goal is discarded, others become vulnerable. Passivhaus is an established, unambiguous standard that is not easily diluted – ideally suited to being used as the required standard for new construction. It may be that this is not just a target, but a necessity in the future. The clock is ticking As the name implies, the Passivhaus standard stems from research on domestic houses. However, the passive approach to heating internal spaces is universally applicable. It remains to be seen whether key decision makers are willing to see it used on as many buildings as possible. Progress is being made. Legislation in the form of Part L of the Building Regulations, governing the conservation of fuel and power, continues to set more stringent standards with each new update. However, progress is slower than many hoped and comes at a cost to the environment. It’s important that we also remain realistic and not look to the future through rose tinted glasses. In many cases, the impact of political rumblings and consequential high prices mean that meeting a design brief is simply not possible for clients without breaking the bank. Therefore, having this conversation during a time of vastly increased construction costs is difficult, but the clock is ticking. What to expect next The Building Regulations will continue to improve the standards for buildings, with the goal of introducing a zero carbon ‘Future Home Standard’ and ‘Future Building Standard’ in 2025. It is likely that there will be a greater emphasis on refurbishment projects. This can be significantly cheaper, and the embodied carbon associated with materials and construction is much reduced. However, the suitability of repurposed buildings as safe and healthy environments will be increasingly scrutinised, especially in the wake of the recent pandemic. EnerPhit, the Passivhaus accreditation tailored to renovation projects, details a lower threshold of energy efficiency in recognition of the limitations imposed by the existing fabric. Nevertheless, whilst it is typically three to four per cent more expensive to make a new build meet Passivhaus standards, meeting the EnerPHit criteria can mean a cost increase closer to 20 to 25%. We are also seeing rising demand for support on decarbonisation projects, often across several sites operated by the client. There are, of course, lots of stakeholders to consider during this debate, so it’s inevitable that there will be some acting with more urgency than others. Shaping our future The need for decarbonisation is nothing new and many consultants offer good advice. Recent changes to legislative standards will initially increase demand for MEP support but these will quickly become the norm. Our ethos is to consider the long-term view and work towards the greater good, maintaining momentum in the right direction and supporting a consistently higher standard. We always advise and aim for certified projects in hope of influencing a high-quality construction build which demonstrates very little difference between design simulation and in use energy consumption. Training all our engineers in Passivhaus principles has helped them understand building physics and means they are becoming more sustainability-focussed MEP designers. A Passivhaus certified building results in ultra-low demand for heating and lighting and is an essential step towards true zero carbon buildings. It allows efficient use of low temperature heating systems such as heat pumps, which in turn removes dependence on gas. Zero carbon also means using electricity that is not generated using gas or other fossil fuels. The next innovation will be to use smart technologies to manage the usage and minimise the local PV generation needed to achieve the ultimate goal of zero carbon emissions, low running cost and a comfortable environment for the end user. For more information about CPW, visit www.cpwp.com

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Winners of the Southside Hereford University Design Challenge Announced

The winners of the TDUK Southside Hereford University Design Challenge (#TDchallenge22) have been announced following an incredibly competitive nine-month process.  The challenge was based on a live project to design a net zero community center, showcasing timber construction and meeting Passivhaus Standard. After 150 students registered from 57 Universities and nine months of webinars, workshops, & interdisciplinary teamwork – the winning team was select at a live two-day event at the New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering (NMITE). Students presented (both in-person & online) their designs to a diverse judging panel representing both local clients and leading figures in UK sustainable construction. Proposals were judged for longevity, desirability, adaptability, circularity, and producing more renewable energy than required. The winning team brought together an interdisciplinary group of students from universities the length and breadth of the UK – from Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen to the University of Portsmouth – to produce a design the judging panel declared “A strong response and a great integration of uses, with simple elements including a good use of structural timber used effectively and meeting the Passivhaus standard”. The challenge was led by Timber Development UK and ran in partnership with NMITE, Edinburgh Napier University, and the Passivhaus Trust. Built environment students and 2021 graduates from UK universities were invited to take part in the challenge to design Southside Hereford, a detached single storey building to accommodate three diverse partners with net zero aspirations. Providing a vibrant, inspiring, and inclusive sports, food, and skills community focal point for the people of South Wye. Southside is a collaboration between two highly energised established community organisations Growing Local CIC and Belmont Wanderers CIC, and NMITE, all of whom share a common goal to improve the future health, wellbeing, life chances and employment skillset of the people of South Wye and Hereford. Each of the detailed designs for Southside is ‘net zero’, creatively employing energy and resource efficient building materials and construction methods, focusing on the health and wellbeing of people, the community, and the planet. The designs were judged for longevity, desirability, adaptability, circularity, and a warming climate, as well as producing more energy from renewable sources than required. With the main material focus and specification for Southside to be timber and timber hybrid systems, each team’s detailed design was to meet the Passivhaus Standard and exceed both the RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge targets and the LETI Climate Emergency Design Guide metrics. Congratulations to the winners Alice Senior (University of Portsmouth), Malwina Bartoszewicz (Edinburgh Napier University), Johanna Schwarting (Swansea University), Kyle Henderson (Robert Gordon University), Daniela Lopez (University of Gloucestershire), Ali Uddin (University of Edinburgh), and Deepak Sadhwani (Cardiff University). “The students tackled a tricky mult-client brief whilst tracking the golden thread of environmental excellence through their design iterations – I have no doubt that the rigour needed to familiarise themselves with the Passivhaus design outcome will stand them in good stead in their career progression, and the judges particularly appreciated the enthusiasm and energy they brought to this through inter-disciplinary collaboration.”Lynne Sullivan, Passivhaus Trust  Board “The #TDChallenge22 brought together interdisciplinary students, companies, sponsors, judges, and educators from across the UK, resulting in a phenomenal display of competence, energy and commitment to sustainability and learning. I was proud to have been a judge and that NMITE was a partner organisation, and a host to the competition. Well done everyone!”Professor Elena Rodriguez-Falcon, President & Chief Executive, New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering (NMITE) “We need a highly trained construction workforce with a better understanding of wood and timber to achieve net zero and hit the ever more demanding carbon targets for construction. Fortunately, it’s evident from every student who has taken part in the Hereford Southside: University Design Challenge that there is incredible built environment talent emerging from UK universities. I know the skills and knowledge you have gained and demonstrated in low-carbon construction will be greatly in demand. We all look forward to seeing what you do next.”David Hopkins, Chief Executive, Timber Development UK To find out more about the winning design visit: https://bit.ly/TDchallenge22winners

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COLLIDA CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIPS THIS WORLD ENGINEERING DAY… 

TO CELEBRATE UNESCO’s World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development, digital construction company Collida highlights strategic alliances with three major international companies, SWAPP, Epic Games and Target 3D, that are driving the company’s UK growth.  Founded by construction giant Willmott Dixon, Collida aims to harness the very latest digital technology to provide access to a portfolio of in-house platforms that deliver construction projects that meet a variety of sustainable benchmarks including, in the case of new homes, Passivhaus.  Tim Carey, chief product director at Collida, said: “World Engineering Day is a celebration of how international cooperation is essential for how we design and engineer spaces that meet the demands of people in the future.  “Collida’s suite of digital platforms that deliver heightened levels of customisable design, procurement and AI-generated technology is only possible by working with the best companies. This network of international industry connections helps us give our customers and contractors access to the very best technologies from all over the world.”  SWAPP – Design and planning you can rely on, delivered fast.  Partnering with Tel Aviv-based SWAPP, which prides itself on ‘designing buildings with data driven speed’, provides the perfect mix of design, sustainability, and technology to offer an experience at efficiency levels unheard of within the industry.   Collida says that together, they can create multiple options, undertake site and building-code analysis, and tailor the outputs – which include feasibility studies, construction documents and 3D renderings – to the customer’s needs. This can all happen with the click of a mouse – no specialist knowledge or additional software necessary.  Eitan Tsfarti, CEO and co-founder of Swapp, said: “Swapp is excited to partner with Collida. We share a belief that technology can be harnessed to revolutionise how architecture is practiced in modern times. Swapp looks forward to helping Collida leverage AI and data to enable the automation and optimisation of processes across the architectural ecosystem.”  Epic Games – Gaming industry levels of immersion coupled with architectural expertise.  Collida wants to provide an experience that changes the way it communicates the complexities of a construction project – and how its customers view, review, customise, and approve choices.  It says that this can only be achieved through industry leading real-time visualisations coupled with both the flexibility of an underlying engine coding and industry expertise. This is why it has collaborated with the US-based founder of popular game ‘Fortnite’, Epic Games, to use their Unreal Engine real-time 3D technology to create this new experience.  Ken Pimentel, architecture industry manager at Epic Games, said: “Pushing the boundaries of what’s possible is something the Collida team has been eager to do. The idea that we can radically simplify the process of stakeholder and client engagement by delivering high-fidelity experiences to any browser or device pays dividends for everyone involved.”  Target 3D – Research and development enabled through collaboration.  Elsewhere, Collida has been exploring the potential of immersive virtual learning environments to support the industry and workplaces of the future.   Working with Target3D at its Virtual Production Test Stage, Collida employees have taken part in a virtual Collida Living home to test design options at 1:1 scale to demonstrate the smart inner workings of its sustainable designs.  Dan Munslow, immersive producer at Target3D, said: “Target3D is delighted to have worked with Willmott Dixon on the Collida project. At our Virtual Production Test Stage, we have tested multiple workflows with filmmakers using Virtual Production in a traditional sense but this project has pushed the boundaries further. Working with the Collida team and a model at a 1:1 scale we were able to composite engineers and trainers into the build in real time using games engine Virtual Production techniques. This research has led to creating a new approach to construction design presentation and training tools.”  To find out more about how Collida is building back wiser, visit www.collida.com 

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New Shropshire hub to train 400 construction workers

A training hub aimed at providing opportunities for the unemployed, addressing Shropshire’s housing shortage, and boosting the county’s construction industry, has been given the go-ahead after a £650,000 Government grant was secured by a strong consortium of local businesses. Known as the Marches Construction Ready Partnership the group which includes The Wrekin Housing Trust, training provider Landau Ltd, Telford College, Beattie Passive and Hawk Safety & Training, aims to introduce around 400 skilled construction workers to the Marches area by training the long-term unemployed, students and people looking to make a career change into the construction industry. The initiative will see a construction manufacturing hub based in Telford, where learners will be taught key construction and offsite manufacturing skills needed. Learners will also receive the training necessary for the first stage construction processes for passive housing, which are advanced, low energy, draft-free buildings featuring high performance insulation to effectively eliminate heat loss. Most of the heating in these properties comes from sunlight, electrical appliances and even body heat meaning almost no heating systems are required. There will also be two mobile training hubs providing all training activities for learners on building sites across the Marches. Professionals from The Wrekin Housing Trust will oversee the supervision and management of trainees at both the on-site hubs and construction sites. Each learner will be assigned a construction worker ‘buddy’ to build confidence, ensure a supportive learning environment and reduce drop-out rates. Learners on the scheme could gain ongoing employment opportunities with The Wrekin Housing Trust and other local construction sector partners. Wayne Gethings, The Trust’s Managing Director, said: “This is a fantastic project on so many levels. It will provide training and jobs for those who have struggled to find work, which in turn means giving the construction industry access a much-needed workforce. “We are really pleased to have had the support of Telford and Wrekin Council during the bid stage of this project and we look forward to working with them and the other local authorities across the Marches area to deliver on the project by providing training opportunities and much needed affordable homes.” Sonia Roberts, CEO at Landau Ltd, said: “The hubs will provide high-quality on-site environment to engage with those who have previously struggled with traditional learning environments, taking them successfully through the ‘Work Ready’, ‘Site Ready’, ‘Skills Ready’ course modules. “The factory training hub will be equipped to focus upon learning skills used in construction- manufacturing of Passivhaus structural panels. The skill set taught is transferable within the construction industry and enables the learner to quickly master local industry-required manufacturing techniques.” Graham Guest, Principal and CEO at Telford College, said: “We provide opportunities for learning across a whole range of subjects everyday and we are really excited to be part of this project working with local employers to help provide the skills for individuals to enter the construction industry. At Telford College we will be working with learners on their employability skills during the work ready module, which will complement the hands-on skills that they will move on to.” Matt Bourne, General Manager at Safety and Training which is part of the Hawk Group, said: “We relish the opportunity to be working on this project with local partners to provide opportunities to get into such a rewarding industry. At Safety and Training we provide learning and support to many of the construction sector’s biggest players and during this project we will be helping to make the learners site ready.” Martin Rinvolucri at Passivhaus designers Beattie Passive said: “The Passivhaus structures will ensure that the homes built for affordable rent, will be of the highest quality and performance.  The homes will be extremely comfortable and promote healthy living, have low maintenance costs over the long-term and up to 90% fuel reduction, helping to eradicate fuel poverty”. Gill Hamer, Director of the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership which supported the funding bid, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have supported this project throughout its development and worked with industry to bring much-needed on-site construction skills training to the region. “This scheme will help boost our economy, create employment opportunities and offer a new route into the construction industry for anyone wishing to develop their skills.” Funding for this project comes from the Construction Skills Fund which aims to create 20 training hubs around the country. The 18-month scheme is funded by the Department for Education administered by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

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