‘We seem to have been intent on reinventing the same wheel’

A selection of readers’ comments about news and issues in the industry from across the CIOB community and social media.

Why thatched roofs have carbon concerns

Andy Dodson MCIOB from Solent University told CM about his research on the supply chain issues concerning reed used for thatched roofs.

This sounds very interesting and I hope the final research will be shared widely. Are you also looking at the lifecycle carbon cost of reed thatch and comparing it with slate or tile?

An interesting comparison is the Stone Carbon Calculator which has been developed by Historic Environment Scotland and is available free via The Engine Shed website (www.engineshed.scot).

Sara Carruthers MCIOB

It would be wonderful to see what the research brings up. Many reed beds in the UK are now unmanaged but the distance imported materials travel should surely be a part of the case for bringing them back into production.

Ecology is another issue for discussion. Labour cost is often a factor and the machinery which makes it easy to harvest is expensive – without it, it’s hard work but not unachievable.

Are you part of the thatching material research which is currently being undertaken, or is it just coincidence? Please stay in touch.

Karen Crouch

Older talent could be the new talent you’re looking for

What a great article. Throughout my career, I have watched highly experienced and capable people disappear with their incredible skills into retirement. Many of these taught me heaps along my journey.

I’m happy for those who want to retire and take a complete break but I can’t help but feel many would have loved a role change where they could continue to pass on their knowledge.

In my nearly 40-year career, we seem to have been intent on reinventing the same wheel. Why not learn the lessons from earlier generations and make a better wheel? Win–win.

Darren Wisbey MCIOB

Building Safety Act: stepping up on competency

CM looked at how the industry is preparing to meet the new Building Safety Act competency requirements for the dutyholder roles of principal contractor and principal designer.

The title ‘principal designer’, especially now there is both a CDM principal designer and a building regulations principal designer, is going to be just too confusing, especially to clients, who mostly would regard – if asked – that of course their architect is the principal designer, employed to design the building.

This is particularly likely (I would suggest inevitably) to be the case for all the private, domestic clients and small and single practice architects. The regulations apply to such, as we are constantly reminded – not just to the high-rise build category.

However, the advice received via your webpages and journals, and the decisions out of the consultations to use the term principal designer, have clearly ignored the actuality of the smaller build, smaller client, smaller clients and the smaller architectural practices… who, by the by, still produce the best architecture.

The design will in principle be designed by the architect, appointed by the client to be the principal designer of the building. Anyone else in a team of consultants can’t also call themselves the principal designer without causing confusion. I know I am right about this, but it is probably too late.

Peter Bernamont, architect

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