UKGBC Parliamentary Briefing: Wellbeing in the built environment.
On Tuesday 18 June 2019 Ashley Bateson (Partner) and Tunde Agoro (Senior Associate, Sustainability group) spoke at the Parliamentary Briefing in the House of Commons, arranged by the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC). The aim was to promote debate amongst building professionals and parliamentarians about the importance of health and occupant wellbeing in the property sector.
The event was co-sponsored by Hoare Lea and reinforces our commitment to raise awareness of design quality and sustainable planning. Our participation in the breakfast event builds on the healthy housebuilding briefing we supported last year and our research in the residential sector.
Attendees included MPs and representatives from property development (Berkeley, Argent and Hermes Investment Management), social housing (Clarion Housing Group), architects (PRP, Scott Brownrigg, Levitt Bernstein), manufacturing (Rockwool) and the Town and Country Planning Association.
At the briefing we acknowledged that the UK Government has a target to deliver 300,000 homes a year, which is significantly more than double the house building rate of recent years. However, we also stressed that we need to make sure that the quality of new development should take into account the health and wellbeing needs of occupants and environmental sustainability. The recent government announcement that the UK will be net zero carbon by 2050 should help focus the industry on alternatives to fossil fuels and should lead to a more integrated approach to design and construction.
Hoare Lea was a signatory, alongside many other business leaders, that supported the UKGBC letter to government at the end of May urging the government to make a commitment to drastically limit climate change.
Future development needs to deliver sufficient quantities of accommodation to meet our growing needs, but the quality to achieve carbon reduction and wellbeing outcomes must also be a priority.
Items on the agenda included discussing the gaps in the planning and regulatory process that are preventing us achieving these aims and why we aren’t yet delivering good health and wellbeing outcomes across the board. Overheating risk, air quality, skills shortages, and good quality external spaces were also discussed. One of the recommendations to come out of the briefing was that the industry needs to do more post occupancy evaluation after construction, to check that performance objectives are being met and that the intended outcomes are being delivered.
There was general agreement that the development of policies and regulations should aim to consider occupant wellbeing, alongside safety and environmental performance.
Note on UKGBC
The UKGBC is an industry network with a mission to radically improve the sustainability of the built environment, by transforming the way it is planned, designed, constructed, maintained and operated. As a charity with over 400 member organisations spanning the entire sector, the group is the voice of the industry’s current and future leaders who are striving for transformational change. Hoare Lea is an active member and regularly involved in its working groups that seek to share knowledge and best practice.