Our 2023 AGM and Members' Meeting was held on 14 September, and was a great success, with over 150 people in attendance.
The day started with updates from our Chair, Saverio Pasetto, Head of Facades at Skanska UK, our Finance Director, Richard White, and David Metcalfe, Director of CWCT, who provided a review of CWCT activities over the past year.
Saverio welcomed Alan Bunting of British Land who has recently been appointed a Director of CWCT. We look forward to benefiting from the experience and different viewpoint that Alan will bring to the Board. It was also announced that Barry Smith of Atkins would be standing down as a Director after over 20 years in the role. Saverio thanked Barry for his hard work and support during this time.
Following the AGM, our morning session focused on building safety, competence, and fire, all of which are key challenges that the industry must address. Firstly, Dr Hywel Davies of CIBSE gave an overview of the Building Safety Act and what it means for the construction industry. Essential to meeting these new requirements is ensuring that people are competent. Neville Grunwald of Wates spoke about the work of the JCI, the Joint Competence Initiative for the Envelope Sector, and the role it is playing in establishing competence standards across the industry.
We then moved onto the topic of fire. Iain Gray of BB7 spoke about the challenges faced by both façade engineers and fire engineers in designing compliant and safe facades. The final presentation of the morning was given by Alan Keiller of CWCT, who discussed curtain wall fire stopping and upcoming CWCT guidance on the subject.
The topic for the afternoon session was refurbishment, and the challenges and opportunities it presents. Our first speaker was Alan Bunting from British Land who gave a developers view of this increasingly important subject. This was followed by Claire Tribe of McClaren, who discussed applying the principles of circular economy to façade refurbishment, which included a fantastic case study example involving post-consumer glass. Next up was Tony McManus of FMDC. Tony used three completely different facades as case studies to illustrate some of the key considerations involved in a successful refurbishment project. And finally, Hugh McGilveray of Eckersley O’Callaghan, introduced upcoming CWCT guidance on façade refurbishment, being produced as part of our wider sustainability initiative. This will provide much needed guidance on the subject, and hopefully encourage more façade refurbishment in the future.
What stood out, apart from the fantastic presentations, was the level of engagement from the audience. We had lots of interesting questions and discussion, which continued in the pub afterwards!
The key word for the day was ‘collaboration’ which was referred to by all speakers. If we are to meet current challenges, whether they relate to safety, fire performance, sustainability, or anything else, a collaborative approach involving competent people will always give the best result. This isn’t new. This has always been the situation; however commercial pressures often prevent this from happening. We need to look ways and opportunities to do things better if we really want to build safer and more sustainable facades.
Throughout the day, the importance of feedback was highlighted, and we are pleased that we have already received very positive feedback on this event. We really do value your feedback and comments. Please continue to provide your feedback on the work that we are doing.
CWCT Members can download copies of many of the presentations via the Cladding Forum.