Making a difference

Last week we had our final webinar of the year and the spotlight this time, was cast onto Buildings & Wildlife. Senior Ecologist Julie Riley did a great job covering what is a very important and complex topic, regarding an area where there is an awful lot of legislation. This was a great webinar and if you didn’t see it, you can watch it in full via the button below:

Watch the webinar >>

A responsible industry

The strapline to the webinar was, “What are your responsibilities?” and whilst the focus was on legislation, this is about much more than just staying on the right side of the law. It is about doing the right thing and looking after the environment and wildlife around us and being a responsible industry!

The PCA has already established itself as the market leader in our respective sectors, but we have an opportunity to raise the bar for expected standards when it comes to looking after our environment too.

We have been aware of the impact we can have on our environment for a long time. Let’s not forget the Association was founded by trying to prolong the service life of in-situ timber – extending the life of wooden elements in your building from decay and preventing difficult and costly repair and ultimately, reducing the need to chop down another tree!

But our awareness of our own responsibility obviously goes much further than that. Hence the Legal, Health and Safety exam within many of the PCA qualifications, which covers the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Changing climatic conditions

This topic has also been at the forefront of the structural waterproofing industry too. At the 2019 waterproofing conference, we opened the event with a presentation from Professor Peter Guthrie who looked at the topic of sustainability, and particularly, the need to adapt to changing climatic conditions.

This has not been left as just a conference topic with no further consideration. On the same day as the Buildings & Wildlife webinar, we also had the final structural waterproofing group meeting for this year. The implication of our changing climate probably sparked the liveliest debate we have seen in some time at this meeting. Over the last few months we have also seen no end of headlines about unprecedented levels of flooding in our capital, with similar headlines coming from America and Germany too!

Off the back of that discussion, a small task group has been set up to give wider and deeper consideration to the topic and we will look to proudly share the output from that group with the rest of the PCA membership.

This year, COP26 came to our shores and on numerous occasions, parts of England were brought to a grinding halt as a result of the actions of ‘Insulate Britain’. Whilst the productivity and output of both might be questionable, what is clear is that there is a change in expectations, and sustainability is becoming increasingly high on people’s agenda.

Retrofit insulation

Many might be quick to point out that we have highlighted a fair few times now, the perils of inappropriate retrofit insulation. We do this not because we are ‘anti’ retrofit insulation, in fact it’s the opposite! We understand the significant role that improving our existing housing stock plays in reaching our carbon neutral goals, and we are passionate about seeing this carried out properly and not at the detriment of those that occupy the building.

As a Trade Association we often have the luxury of being able to step back and “look at the bigger picture”. Sustainability and protection of the natural environment around us is a subject that we proudly champion. Are we perfect, no, and in reality is there an industry out there, or a sector of construction that can say they are?

But are we as an Association, and with our members, perhaps, starting to consider the damage we have on our environment and what we can do to minimise it? Yes, absolutely.

 

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