Published On: Tue, Sep 16th, 2014

CAB talks technical at latest conference

CAB Technical Director, Dr Justin Furness reviews the successful 2014 CAB Annual technical conference held recently at Loughborough University

CAB Technical Director, Dr Justin Furness, chaired the 9th CAB Annual Technical ConferenceThe annual CAB Technical Conference in mid-May boasted our biggest ever line up of speakers, with streamed presentations allowing delegates to attend the sessions of their choice. All of the nearly 100 delegates started the day in the main lecture theatre to hear the opening keynote address, delivered by John Eynon of Open Water Consulting and a member of the ‘BIM4SME’ Executive. John outlined the potential benefits to manufacturers and specialist contractors from adopting BIM but warned against deciding on a course of action without first researching the market thoroughly.

The BIM session continued with three presentations looking at BIM from the perspective of a main contractor, an architect and a provider of BIM objects respectively. Peter Trebilcock, BIM Programme and Design Director at Balfour Beatty Construction Services UK demonstrated how BIM is helping to improve the construction of a wide variety of buildings and how increasingly their suppliers are providing BIM objects and demonstrating BIM capability. This theme was continued by Paul Broadfoot, BIM Coordinator at Spacegroup Architects, who showed how the provision of manufacturer-specific BIM objects means he can design buildings faster with reduced risk. Ben Councell, Director of Sales at RIBA Enterprises gave the final presentation of the morning session and highlighted how digital technology had transformed the music and photography businesses, drawing a parallel with the transformative power of BIM in the construction world. The session concluded with a panel debate which considered the main issues facing manufacturers and specialist contractors with respect to BIM, not least the apparently conflicting advice and guidance available on the topic and the relative importance of product data compared to 3D representations.

Adam Ward, Technology Director of BIM.Technologies ran the BIM workshop in the afternoon, which started with a demonstration of how BIM content is used in a real project environment. Adam then provided his perspective on several key issues for manufacturers, including the pros and cons of building BIM content in house, software and training options, how to compile product families and the relevant standards that product manufacturers need to be aware of.

Dr Kristian Steele, Sustainability Consultant at Arup kicked off the afternoon sessions with a keynote address looking at the design of sustainable façades. Kristian outlined the challenge facing the construction sector in reducing emissions and pointed to opportunities for our sector including: the roll out of a large scale retrofit programme, the recycling, reuse and remanufacture of metals and a closing of the gap between the performance of buildings as-designed and as-built.

The carbon reduction theme was picked up in the ‘Journey to Zero Carbon’ session, with Dave Worthington, Managing Director of Verco presenting on the zero carbon roadmap for industry. Dave highlighted that while Building Regulations have helped in the ambition towards zero carbon buildings, big improvements on the current standards will be needed, which means manufacturers need to invest in new product development, with potentially higher build costs for contractors. Ant Wilson, Director of AECOM, then detailed the impact on both the domestic and non-domestic sectors of Part L 2013, which came into effect on 6 April 2014. Ant pointed out that to satisfy the Target Emission Rate with the ‘recipe’ approach looking at the whole building, it is likely that the U-value requirements for windows, doors and curtain walling will be significantly higher than the backstop figures given. The final presentation of the session was delivered by Gary Jackson, Director of LightUp Analytics, who examined the role of master-planning for natural light. Gary underlined SAPs current lack of sensitivity to solar gain and the fact that current Window Energy Ratings can’t be used for site specific analysis, while demonstrating the impact that building orientation and the surrounding buildings have on solar gain, natural light and the energy balance. A lively panel debate ensued, where it was agreed that an opportunity was missed to include daylighting and sunlighting in Building Regulations following the recent Housing Standards Review.