Readers discuss what’s needed to make the industry more eco-friendly, and have a name to add to the credits list for Colchester’s Arts Centre

Gear up for the Green Deal

I read with interest your article “Green Deal is not properly incentivised, say top bosses” (16 September, page 13). I agree that it is not clear what the incentives will be and that without them, there will be no uptake.

However, while we wait to understand the finer details of the Green Deal we should start educating residents on the concept and how it could work. Affordable housing landlords will be key to driving this as they have the relationships with their tenants.

A co-ordinated “awareness programme” promoting the Green Deal needs to kick in now or there will be no appetite when the scheme becomes available. We need residents to drive the “want” for energy efficiency improvements before the scheme is released.

Raising awareness is essential to ensuring householders make educated decisions about their homes. Otherwise, with or without incentives, the Green Deal will be worthless.

David Barrett, head of retrofit, John Rowan & Partners

Eco failings

Regarding your story “Row escalates over ‘climate change failings”’ (23 September, page 9), it is a fact that the mainstream housebuilders have a compliance culture - they just do enough to get them through legal hurdles and avoid the latest building regulations by making a technical start on site before new regulations kick in.

My own house was finished by a well-known national housebuilder in 2005 to regulations applicable in 2000. It is as cold in winter as an old house I lived in with no cavity walls. I complained bitterly about the energy performance, including through the NHBC, and no significant improvement has been made. I quoted the builder’s publicly made commitments to sustainable development but the customer care people didn’t even acknowledge what I was talking about.

I work in the construction industry and have seen little evidence that builders have yet gained the right mindset or workforce to build airtight and highly insulated envelopes. Furthermore, I don’t believe that the leopard has changed many spots since the hash made of my house in 2005.

Glen Adcock, via www.building.co.uk

A matter of great importance

Building’s article about the new Firstsite gallery in Colchester (23 September, page 32) details the story behind the construction at Firstsite but omits the important role played by Jackson Coles.

When the project’s difficulties came to a head in 2009, it was Jackson Coles who was brought in by the Arts Council to look at how the difficulties could be overcome. We quickly did that, and were then appointed by Colchester council as project director to get it back on track. Shortly afterwards we appointed Mace to work alongside us as construction, project and cost managers. From that point it was our role to work on behalf of Colchester council to get the project to completion and oversee the work of the construction team. Thanks to great teamwork with Mace and our clients, we’re extremely proud of our achievement.

Jeremy McNulty, associate, Jackson Coles

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