Constructive chaos is the likely result of adapting to zero-carbon targets, delegates told

The building professions are facing a period of unparalleled but necessary errors, the chief executive of Atkins told a plenary session of Think 08 yesterday.

“We have been planning Crossrail for 20 years, but we have to make sustainability decisions about airport and rail developments almost instantly,” Keith Clarke told delegates gathered for the ‘Zero carbon – mapping a future and overcoming road blocks’ session.

“When we look back in two years time we will realise half of the things we thought were going to be useful will turn out to have been mistakes,” Clarke continued.

“We will have to innovate at a rate we have never done before.”

Paul King, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council pointed to Barratt Homes as an example of successful risk taking.

“They have gone out and built a prototype of a home eight years ahead of the Code," he said, referring to the housebuilder's CSH Level 6 experiment on the BRE site, Watford.

He added, “It’s worth remembering that the Chinese symbol for crisis is the symbol for danger next to the symbol for opportunity.”