ASBP Reusable Buildings Network – Planning and Resource efficiency

A selection of our Network met on the 24th May to explore the potential for planning guidance to increase resource efficiency and enable the circular economy. We were joined by Eloise Lobsey, Sustainability Officer in Planning at Islington Council, who gave an overview of the council’s current processes, with particular focus on their Green Procurement Plan currently used in major developments.

Islington Council is in the preparation stage of refreshing its local planning policy and gathering evidence, ensuring any changes are justified, effective and consistent. This process is ongoing, with a draft plan expected mid- 2017, for adoption late 2018/early 2019. Eloise explained that many Local Authorities are underway with this process.

Simon introduced the Network, which is being piloted as part of an Innovate UK project: Circular Economy Business Models – Reuse of structural steel within Construction. The project has identified many barriers to steel reuse and so a Network approach to overcome these barriers is clearly required.  This workshop looked at demand side barriers.

The Network suggested that Islington’s policy might use the waste hierarchy as a framework, encouraging retention and reuse above recycling. Simon confirmed that RICS is in the process of adopting the WRAP whole building carbon database. It was noted that the Camden’s draft local plan encourages developers of over 5 houses and 500m2 GFA to assess the embodied carbon emissions of the development and enter into this database.

Leo Cheung, Sturgis introduced their Innovate UK project Implementing Whole Life Carbon in collaboration with RICS and others to create Guidance for enhanced standardisation of the approach to measurement in Spring 2017.  Stephen Richardson, Sainsbury’s suggested that the error bars in existing calculations have dissuaded Sainsbury’s from setting benchmark targets. He informed the group how every Sainsbury’s store is audited before a refit and all working equipment sent to their equipment recycling centre, each new and refurbished store is obliged to assess the availability of equipment from this centre and a league table prepared.

It was noted that the NFDC are currently refreshing their guidance on pre-demolition audits. It was suggested that these should be prepared as early as possible in any redevelopment to enhance the likelihood of materials being reused. It was also noted that LWARB are preparing a route map for the Circular Economy in London.

Whilst the focus for this workshop was resource efficiency, it was noted that there are many references to material selection and the BRE Green Guide, which the ASBP critiqued back in 2011.

The Network is hosting a seminar at Vision, 12.05 – 13.20, 7th June, with Jonathan Cullen and Roy Fishwick, Cleveland Steel and Tubes, with drinks in the ASBP pavilion from 17.30.

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