Changes in building performance technology is a huge area of opportunity for architects and engineers entering the profession
I’ve been wondering about the education and career opportunities of young engineers and architects, and the part which building performance can play in all of that. It must surely be - at least for engineers but also for architects - a key skill to be able to assess the actual energy and environmental performance of a building. This should necessarily involve an understanding of both fabric and services - because they intermingle in performance terms so closely.
The rise of BIM allied to the internet and super connectivity, together with the decreasing cost of building sensors, surely means that the intelligent building of the near future is going to know exactly how it is performing.
Part of the learning and skills development process for professionals must also be the need to spend time with building managers so that they learn the day to day reality of what it takes to keep a building, its systems and occupants, happy. I’m continually amazed to find the perennial disconnect between the designers of buildings and their managers. This is a huge area of both opportunity and need.
I’m sure that all of this will enter into the collective psyche of architecture and indeed that a new architectural language could emerge from the intelligent building, where it’s self awareness - at least in terms it’s energy and environmental performance and user experience and feedback - will inform, influence and inspire in particular the younger designers.
Another point linked to this is the need for firms to invest more time and money in R+D and to keep abreast of changes in technology and as well as to become much more capable with regard to building performance. This could involve recruitment of young designers specifically with this in mind. With my developer hat on I’m going to be quite nervous about working with professionals who haven’t got a handle on this - as I need to be focussed on the bigger picture of projects and not having to spend time checking that the devil, the detail and the professional have got things in the right place. Again, to reinforce my point earlier, I think that there is an excellent opportunity here is for some of the young professionals to take the lead on this and make a name for themselves whilst moving the industry into the 21st century.
We’ve decided at the Good Homes Alliance that we are going to offer up to five free places at any of our events for students who wish to learn more about the performance of buildings, and we will also be offering places to some academics as well.
Pete Halsall is chief executive of Beattie Passive and chair of the Good Homes Alliance