The knives are out this week for ineffectual green policymakers and boardroom cavemen who refuse to embrace BIM but, strangely, construction lawyers come out of it all unscathed
I guarantee this will work
Regarding your story, “Housebuilding must double to over 200,000 units”, here’s an idea for a mechanism. Is it time for the government to seriously consider providing mortgage guarantee insurance, as in Canada? Housebuilding rates will only increase if there is buyer demand, which is currently curtailed by the need for a deposit of 25% or more. The government could provide mortgage guarantee insurance to fund this deposit gap so that more buyers can afford to buy, which will drive builders to build more to fulfil the demand.
A shortage of homes is a drag on economic growth as employers with job vacancies cannot fill them because would-be employees cannot afford to move to where the jobs are. The cost and risk of the government providing mortgage insurance is low since - as it effectively controls house prices via a monopoly supply of permissioned land - it can hedge its exposure. Furthermore, many economists would argue that the collapse in housebuilding over the past three years has sealed our fate for rapid house price inflation in the next decade, meaning the likelihood of mortgage guarantee insurance needing to pay out is very low. Seems simple to me …
Mark S Oliver, via www.building.co.uk
Lawyers 1, architects 0
Having completed numerous award-winning buildings using design and build with novation, I know it works well as it ensures both continuity in the design process and far better integration. As Ann Minogue now recognises, the novated designer has to report on compliance to the contractor and it is a simple matter to make this sufficiently transparent for the client to benefit too, thereby avoiding the unnecessary expense of a large shadow team. What it requires, though, is professionalism and trust, rather than the adversarial position assumed by Brian Waters representing the Association of Consultant Architects.
Rab Bennetts, director, Bennetts Associates Architects
A load of greenwash
The Green Deal is a con. It is all hot air and hollow promises and there will be no real financial incentive provided to home owners to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. Why? Because lobbying from the energy companies and the construction industry will scupper the radical upgrading of the Building Regulations to Passivhaus standards, which is urgently required to force contractors to build to different standards. If the government were serious about green building there would be no VAT on insulation materials and mortgage/stamp duty discounts on eco-homes. Renewables are expensive and have a limited life. Insulation is cheap and lasts for ever.
Philip Newbold, via ww.building.co.uk
This is no sci-fi movie
We are already there with BIM. It is not Star Trek, or any other form of rocket science, it is available off the shelf now. We are simply managed by cavemen.
Ian Hamilton, via ww.building.co.uk
BIM is too advanced for us lot
We are only just coming out of the VHS/Betamax argument on BIM, and the standardisation of technology suppliers, elemental codes and their libraries will take time. If I was a cladding company, would I be happy developing a set of elements for on system only to find that the next architect was using another?
I am currently using BuildOnline/Fusion Live, many of our second-tier specialist contractors and suppliers struggle with 2D CAD, so 5D modelling may be a step too far at the moment for them. The cavemen are every where, they walk among us.
Michael Tarling, via ww.building.co.uk
BIM benefits all
With BIM, the benefits for our industry are far superior to the costs. In respect to competitive advantage, if a project or team can deliver evidence-backed 20-30% cost reduction (as well as schedule and quality enhancement) in construction spend with the leverage that can then be applied across the operational and end-business cost of facilities, then we can maintain and grow these markets.
Erland Rendall, via www.building.co.uk