The Kent Construction Expo has always been an exciting occasion for professionals in the construction industry. This year, I was one of the lucky ones from the team who had the opportunity to attend, experiencing talks that shed light on all avenues of construction, with two pressing issues in the construction sector standing out - Designing out Waste and Carbon Monitoring. The importance of addressing these concerns has never been more apparent, as the UK strives to meet ambitious carbon emissions targets.
Designing Out Waste
The concept of "designing out waste" was a topic that stuck with me. In a world grappling with the consequences of excess waste, the construction industry has a significant role to play. The idea behind this concept is to reduce waste and inefficiencies at the design stage, ensuring that the construction process minimises waste generation and resource consumption.
Duncan Baker Brown from BakerBrown architects, emphasised how crucial it is for architects and designers to think about waste reduction from the very beginning of a project. Their designs should be ‘efficient, incorporating elements like the circular economy, closed-looped systems, modular construction and sustainable materials’.
However, it is worth noting that the concept is only as good as a real life example, but the speaker provided the goods! A range of projects where they had successfully implemented "designing out waste" principles to benefit the environment, economy and society proved the potential of the concept, but will it be enough to change the way architecture practices work in the future?
Carbon Monitoring: The Race to Meet UK Targets
With the UK committed to achieving ambitious carbon emissions targets, the discussions on carbon monitoring caught my attention. As the construction industry is a significant contributor to carbon emissions, it plays a crucial role in helping the UK meet its climate goals.
Baxall Construction emphasised how the adoption of different sensor and data reporting technologies has revolutionised the way buildings are constructed, managed, and evaluated, with a primary focus on emissions, air quality, and energy use management. If objectives are to be met, real-time data will be key to making changes that steer us towards a net-zero carbon future, but how can embracing waste reduction strategies in the design phase and continuously monitoring carbon emissions throughout a project's lifecycle, make substantial progress in reducing its environmental impact? Simply put, thinking of emissions and waste at the very start, or early in a project's lifecycle, means changes can be made to achieve better outputs. Real-time data and updated information during the life of a project are key to knowing what changes need to be made.
The Way Forward
The Kent Construction Expo provided a remarkable platform for professionals in the construction industry to exchange ideas and gain insights on a whole range of topics, with the themes of 'designing out waste' and 'carbon monitoring’ really sticking with me. In a world filled with climate change uncertainties and predictions, it was refreshing to see these principles being actively applied, showing promising signs of progress towards our climate goals.
Leaving the event, I couldn't help but feel optimistic about the industry's commitment to addressing these pressing challenges. The ideas and initiatives shared at the Expo exemplified the construction sector's determination to contribute to a greener and more sustainable future.
The Kent Construction Expo served as a reminder of the vital role the construction industry plays in environmental sustainability. 'Designing out waste' and 'carbon monitoring' are no longer optional; they are fundamental principles that must be integrated into every project. With innovative solutions and a shared commitment to reducing waste and carbon emissions, the construction industry in Kent, and across the UK, is poised to make a significant impact in the fight against climate change. This event reinforced the idea that the future of construction is not just about erecting buildings; it's about constructing a better, more sustainable world.
An Insightful Event
The Kent Construction Expo, held in the heart of Kent, England, brought together experts, innovators, and enthusiasts from all facets of the construction industry. The event was a melting pot of ideas, technologies, and strategies designed to tackle the challenges of sustainability and environmental responsibility head-on. There was even the chance to channel your inner Michael Jordan at DDS Group’s basketball machine stand! It was great to catch up with our fantastic client Jenner Group as well as many other familiar faces, I’m looking forward to next year’s expo already…