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The inaugural Building the Future Commission conference last month sought to gather the industry’s findings.

The interim findings from the commission - Building’s project to improve the built environment - were presented to the Westminster conference by Building editor Chloe McCulloch.

Panel debates and keynote speakers on topics ranging from net zero, buildign safety, productivity and digital technology took place through the day, with the audience asking questions, submitting feedback and voting in a series of interactive polls.

>>See also: What did we learn from the inaugural Building the Future Commission conference

>>See also: The Building the Future Commission: the interim findings revealed

Delegates were also invited to share there views for improving the built environment in the conference’s very own TV booth. We have highligted a selection of their quotes below and above you can click and play our highlights video from the event for more views:

Patricia Moore, UK managing director, Turner & Townsend

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Patricia Moore, UK managing director, Turner & Townsend

“I think we just saw from the audience in the room that there’s very low confidence actually that we have the skills within our industry to solve the challenges of the future. What we’re also seeing is a real decline in uptake in terms of a traditional graduate routes. And so, as an industry, we’ve really got to shake ourselves up.”

“We’ve got to make the future generations really see us as a passageway to decarbonisation and saving the planet. For me I think its about us thinking in outcomes and telling stories about the impact we are having.”



Simon Tolson, senior partner, Fenwick Elliott:  

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Simon Tolson, senior partner, Fenwick Elliott

“Education and addressing existing buildings, in addition to obviously new build, are the most significant issues. 

“Grenfell, unfortunately, and the inquiry has demonstrated that but we don’t seem to be able to build tall buildings particularly well or we didn’t seem to be able to modernise them in terms of fire safety.

“It [building safety reform] is a massive shake up, which I think for the future is something that I think we’ll all be looking at, hopefully with a slightly better purview.”

Rumbi Nambureti, operations manager, BPIC Network:

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Rumbi Nambureti, operations manager, BPIC

“The one thing I think we need in the industry is more young people to increase innovation. We are quitean industry that is very old and male-focused. The more younger people we get in, the more females we get in the better ideas we will have as an industry.

“[We should be] going to school some more, engage with networks, go into communities, talking to younger people and reaching more diverse communities to ensure that we have a bigger pipeline of people joining the industry.”

Jack Pringle, managing director, Studio Pringle:  

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Jack Pringle, managing director, Studio Pringle

 “We need to find a way that we can finance the retrofitting of the domestic building stock that doesn’t hurt people’s pockets.

 “In the end they are going to spend a lot less money on the lower energy they are going to consume, so there must be a way forward to finance that.”

Josh Rose-Nokes, director, innovation & insight, Avison Young:

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Josh Rose-Nokes, director, innovation & insight, Avison Young

“I’m going to go with..deep autonomy in building control systems, and what this really about is enabling buildings to make intelligent and optimal decisions, understanding the implications of future actions and really elevating what is currently going on in that space.

“We have smart buildings at the moment but they are not actually that smart, there’s often a loss of value.”

Chris Bowie-Hill, director of innovation delivery, Hydrock:

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“The National Planning Policy Framework has become a little bit dehumanised, it has become very bureaucratic.

How do we design places for people? I think for a long time we’ve forgotten what people need. When you design places around people, they thrive and that’s what we need.”

Tony Wells, chief executive, Merit:

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Tony Wells, chief executive, Merit

“Product-based manufacturing [is my big idea for the future of the built environment]. That’s where we are going and where we think it’s going to be. It’s a journey and it’s difficult to implement and it’s difficult to get people to be an early adopter, but eventually people like it.”


Lynne Sullivan, architect LSA Studio and chair, National Retrofit Hub:

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“We really need to motor on retrofit, because a national retrofit programme hopefully delivered at local level can deliver social benefit, skills and training, jobs and also, health and wellbeing for occupants as well as low running costs and resilience against rising energy prices.”

 Ian McDermott, chief executive of Peabody:

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“Getting it right [on net zero] is going to be really difficult. If you think about the dispersed ownership of our built environment, then actually coordinating all of those people to come to a common conclusion is going to be really challenging.

“The start would be leadership. So actually showing leadership from government, supporting and investing in the solutions that will come as quite a lot of the solutions don’t exist at the moment.

“So we have to invest in the technology, we have to invest in training,and we have to invest in public awareness really so that people actually understand that this requires us to behave in a very different way.”



About the commission

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The Building the Future Commission is a 12-month project looking at radical and challenging ideas that could help transform the built environment.

The campaign aims to tap into innovative ideas, amplify them and be an agent for change.

The major project’s work will be guided by a panel of major figures who have signed up to help shape the commission’s work culminating in a report published at the end of the year.

The commissioners include figures from the world of contracting, housing development, architecture, policy-making, skills, design, place-making, infrastructure, consultancy and legal. See the full list here.

The project is looking at proposals for change in eight areas:

>> Editor’s view: And now for something completely positive - our Building the Future Commission

>> Click here for more about the project and the commissioners

Building the Future is also undertaking a countrywide tour of roundtable discussions with experts around the regions as part of a consultation programme in partnership with the regional arms of industry body Constructing Excellence. There is also a young person’s advisory panel


The Building the Future Commission’s Report into the English Planning System

Planning system cover