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11 Oct 2023 < Back

Basements and Underground Structures Conference 2023

Last week, I attended the Ground Engineering Basements and Underground Conference, described as the only event which explores the design and delivery of underground spaces. What makes this event different from our Structural Waterproofing Conference, is it provides a different and wider perspective into the world of construction of underground structures.

The impact of the Building Safety Act

However, much like our own conference back in July of this year, a lot of the conversation was around the impact of the Building Safety Act (BSA). There was discussion around the new Building Safety Regulator (BSR) and what level of enforcement we are likely to see. A few weeks ago I shared that there seems to be an acknowledgment that the BSR will have a huge impact on the construction sector, and that the first signs would likely be enforcement and stop notices...but there is still a lot of uncertainty.

Getting the right people in at the right time

There was also optimism that British Safety Act and British Safety Regulator will introduce ‘collaboration’, detailing this actually meant getting the right people in at the right time. PCA members are all too aware that this is something the world of waterproofing has been shouting about for some time now.

There was discussion concerning the need to be able to demonstrate competence throughout the supply chain, which is something we would be keen to embrace although, again, the actual detail was scant.

Key takeaways

One of the other key takeaways from this event seems to be a distinct move away from ‘value engineering’, almost considering this a dirty term and suggesting we need to move away from this mindset.

Perhaps the most pleasing thing to hear however, was during the debate when the panelists explained the advantage of going out to SME’s, who bring focused knowledge in the represented sectors. They also identified that the biggest failure for underground structures is water ingress. To me, this signals they realise the need to engage with specialists...such as you...our PCA members!



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