Event set to tackle housing quality issues head-on

The quality of the homes we live in has never been more firmly in the spotlight, and a forthcoming event in London aims to help tackle the key issues.

On September 15th, Eco Connect London is set to bring together experts in construction, design, retrofit and social housing. Professionals working across these sectors are being urged to join in a debate that will help shape the industry for years to come.

For the first time, Eco Connect combines two separate events under one roof – the Association for Environment Conscious Building (AECB) National Conference and the International Refurbishment Symposium – and takes place in a venue that’s already setting new standards in terms of design excellence.

Recently refurbished, the headquarters of the Institution of Engineering and Technology in Savoy Place, London is set to prove a fitting location for an event that will spotlight the importance of quality in all aspects of housebuilding and retrofit.

In a stunning environment, the event itself will examine the government’s proposals for tackling the UK’s housing crisis and showcase examples of solutions that have already produced positive results for developers, housing associations and their end customers. At the same time, delegates will have the opportunity to meet with like-minded professionals as well as potential customers and suppliers.

Andrew Simmonds, CEO of the AECB, explained: “For too long the emphasis has been on building more homes, but this is only a part of the challenge. We also need to look at the quality and suitability of homes that are proposed or currently being built and whether they really meet the needs of current buyers and future generations.

“We certainly don’t want new homes to be adding to the stock of buildings that will require retrofitting to lower GHG emissions. From the start we need to ensure adequate occupant health and comfort in a changing climate!”

Many of the challenges facing the new-build sector also apply to those involved in retrofit. Looking to transform Europe’s existing housing stock, the International Refurbishment Symposium will also attempt to tackle the issues head-on.

Speaking on behalf of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, a key supporter of the International Refurbishment Symposium, Head of Built Environment Rick Hartwig said: “There is an elephant in the room: there are more than 20 million homes in the UK in need of retrofitting, and we lack the finance, skills and knowledge to tackle them. This event is a crucial opportunity to address the challenge head on by drawing upon knowledge from across Europe to find out what’s worked, and what hasn’t worked so far.”

A packed programme of speakers has been lined up for both the conference and symposium, including Toby Lloyd, Head of Policy at Shelter, who will address the current reliance on speculative house building and spotlight the new Civic Housing Campaign. Other contributors include Luke Murphy, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research, and Richard Twinn, Policy Advisor at the UK Green Building Council.

A full list of speakers, together with topics up for discussion, can be found at www.ecoconnect.co.uk, together with booking details. Eco Connect tickets cost £199 and include admission to the conference, symposium and an exhibition featuring more than 25 partner organisations.