Loughborough University joins the Smart Construction Network

Loughborough’s School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering has become the latest member of the Smart Construction Network (SCN).

The SCN is formed of academic institutions, R& D organisations, industry centres and trade bodies, and aspires to be the conduit through which expert knowledge, innovative ideas and best practice can be shared.

Its mission is to encourage the uptake of Smart Construction across the whole sector, including housing, and in doing so support the journey of transformation towards a more modern, productive, and sustainable construction sector. The SCN signposts innovative construction businesses towards the expertise and support they need to begin their transformative journey.

Shelagh Grant, chair of the SCN welcomed the announcement. She said: “Loughborough University is well regarded as a leading institution, offering a unique service to the construction industry, with a reputation for innovation in sustainability, high performance buildings, and digital construction. It is one of the largest integrated centres for built environment education in the UK, spanning architecture, building, quantity surveying, urban planning, and civil and architectural engineering.”

Chris Goodier, Professor of Construction Engineering and Materials, who led the submission added: “Loughborough has a great tradition of working closely with industry and government to address the great national and global challenges of today and tomorrow. We look forward to collaborating closely with the SCN and its partners across the spectrum of smart construction activities, including offsite manufacture and modern methods of construction, digital, and high-performance building.”

Source: Loughborough University

From wind turbine covers to work bags – tackling the textile mountain

Whilst wind energy undoubtedly plays an important part in our fight against climate change – much controversy still surrounds air turbines & their parts being non-recyclable at end of life.

Yorkshire based innovative recyclers MyGroup (www.mygroupltd.com) have developed a solution to upcycle the hardwearing poly-blend bags used to protect and transport Siemens Gamesa wind turbines during the installation process.

The company’s textile team has deconstructed the material and created work & tool bags for staff members at the wind turbine manufacturing plant. The design creates a circular solution for the material. Otherwise, it would take up large amounts of space in landfills or go to incineration (some poly blend materials can take up to 200 years to degrade in a landfill).

The challenge we face with any kind of textile recycling is enormous. But hardwearing textiles designed for industrial projects are increasingly hard-to-repurpose. It’s reported that 95% of textiles have the potential to be recycled, yet currently less than 15% is being recycled effectively.

MyGroup is known mainly for their innovative solutions for plastic recycling, notably for facemask recycling in Wilko stores and cosmetic recycling in Boots stores. But the company is now expanding focus on creating viable upcycling routes for textiles too.

Katie Robinson, Textile Technician at MyGroup, said, “The Siemens Turbine bag is a great example of our solutions – a complex, poly based material built to last, yet when it’s retired from its original purpose, what’s next? We decided this material would be perfect as a tool bag because of its durability. Using in-house processes and craftmanship, we came up with a solution to divert this material away from incineration or landfill. There really is no such thing as non-recyclable for us. Everything has another purpose. It’s our job to find and realise that purpose.”

Plans are in place to continue experimenting with the tricky poly-blend textiles to create more items, such as duffel bags, tipis and shelters. The long-term aim is to create more viable streams to divert complex poly based textiles from landfills.

Stelling Properties believes Modular construction for Meanwhile Housing schemes could be the answer to reducing hospital readmissions for the homeless


Following the Government’s announcement that it will provide extra funding for pilot schemes to provide temporary housing and extra care for the homeless that have recently been released from hospital, Stelling Properties is calling on those responsible for delivering the pilot programs, to look at modular construction as a way of accelerating the delivery of the homes needed.

A recent study of 3,000 homeless patients found that 2,000 were readmitted to hospital within a year, with the onset of winter approaching, there is a need to move quickly to provide high quality, safe, secure accommodation, Stelling Properties believes that modular constructed Meanwhile Housing is a solution which will allow the most vulnerable to benefit quicker thus contributing to breaking the cycle of hospital readmissions.

Meanwhile housing affords the opportunity to accelerate the delivery of new homes on sites awaiting permanent redevelopment as these homes can be occupied several years before a final development is completed allowing redundant land to be utilised. With the potential to deliver modular construction projects up to 50% quicker than traditional projects, Stelling Properties believes modular construction provides an immediate solution to homelessness crisis.


“We have an innovative solution that is readily available. The extra funding is great news that will make a real difference, we now need to make sure that all parties including planners act fast to reduce the seasonal impact of winter and provide the safe secure temporary homes that are needed” said !ntonio

Lopez, Head of Property Operations & New Opportunities at Stelling Properties.


Contact: tim.page@stellingproperties.com 


Grand Designs: House of the Year, Channel 4, review: Another year, another shortlist of outlandish houses that don’t represent true British architecture

By Barbara Speed Opinion Editor at iNews

The House of the Year competition has rolled around again, and the homes on display are as outlandish as ever. A water tower turned into the Thunderbirds’ HQ! A house inside a 14th century stone keep! A house built on top of another, less attractive house!

The competition, run by the Royal Institute of British Architects and with its shortlist and winner revealed via Grand Designs, does at least nod in the direction of sustainability and functionality.

The Thunderbirds-style “Water Tower” in King’s Lynn preserved a disused structure, and alma-nac studio’s “House-within-a-House” in London is much better insulated than the 1950s home it swallowed up. But the competition rings oddly in its designation of “House of the Year” when the shortlist couldn’t be further from what most of us live in.

House within a House, one of the buildings shortlisted for RIBA’s House of the Year competition (Photo: Channel 4)




Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud seemed painfully aware of this fact as he ran through the longlist of properties in the “surprise” category. He proclaimed rather unconvincingly that the gargantuan, expensive “House-within-a-House” is the “template of a modern family home” after learning that its fancy oak floors withstood regular skateboarding.





Pele Tower House (Photo: Channel 4)



Pele Tower House’s architect was praised for letting light in despite the original windows being designed purely for shooting arrows, and for managing to surround its swimming pool with a mortar-free stone wall at huge expense. Not issues faced by your average homeowner.






The word “house” has complicated associations, and on the basis of this competition, is not to be confused with “home”. It is not clear whether the winning project here will be commended for its architectural wizardry, or for its ability to improve its owners’ lives and inspire future, better iterations of the sorts of houses the rest of us occupy. I fear it will be the former.

UK housing is in short supply, and is too often badly constructed, a health risk or made from deadly materials. There are scores of problems worth architects’ time; I’m not sure House of the Year tackled any of them.

Green Life Buildings (GLB) has agreed a strategic partnership with DTM Global Holdings to provide its Advanced Building System (ABS) to Canada, India and South East Asia. The partnership will focus on building greener homes in line with the need for immediate climate action. JV companies will be formed in Canada and India and the initial order book from Canada and India is anticipated to exceed £3m by mid 2022. As part of the partnership, the JV companies intend to create production facilities in key overseas markets.

Chris Williams, CEO of GLB said “our JV with DTM provides us with the ideal opportunity to offer our greener building system to new markets, enabling them to benefit from the carbon savings of the system”.

Sanjeev Kumar, director and CEO of DTM added “we are intimately familiar with the markets of Canada, India and South East Asia. We are convinced that there is huge untapped demand for new construction methods that are both cost effective and environmentally friendly”.


About GLB


GLB’s Advanced Building System, is recognised by the UK government as a Modern Method of Construction, and utilises low carbon materials to provide benefits at every stage of manufacture and installation. The system provides structural, acoustic, thermal and carbon benefits compared to traditional techniques. The M2 technology behind the ABS is proven as are the products that provide innovative, sustainable and cost effective building solutions to developers, housing associations and public authorities. The ABS can reduce costs by up to 40% compared to traditional methods, and construction times by up to 50%. The processes used minimise waste and all elements of the products are recyclable. When completed the system offers fire resistance (REI120), has high structural strength and can be made into any shape whilst reducing CO2e emissions compared to current practices by over 45% in construction (more than 22 tonnes per home) and 65% in operation.


About Delamore


The Delamore & Owl Group of Companies is a privately owned group and parent of 48 subsidiaries, with an ever increasing global reach and client base. Among its portfolio of clients are governments, non-government, and privately owned entities based in more than 30 countries in the Americas, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Asia Pacific.


As a conglomerate, the group’s complete library of businesses spreads across various sectors of the economy including aviation, agriculture and agri-commodities, commodity trading, consultancy, construction, ICT, infrastructure, environment & energy, healthcare, financial services, mining, among others. DTM Global Holdings is an environmental, tech and media focused entity within the Delamore & Owl Group.



DTM Global – Sanjeev Kumar: sanjeev@dtmglobalholdings.com


GLB – Chris Williams: chris@greenlifebuildings.co.uk, https://www.greenlifebuildings.co.uk






  • Wates Residential and Cardiff Council lowering nine modular homes onsite at Crofts Street, Plasnewydd
  • First time this method of offsite construction used for permanent family homes in city
  • Homes to be made available to residents on Council’s housing waiting list in just five weeks



Wates Residential and Cardiff Council are today installing Cardiff’s first sustainable, modular homes, at a brownfield site on Crofts Street, Plasnewydd, as the Council increases its provision of affordable homes for local residents on housing waiting lists and those most in need.

The nine two-bedroom properties, which have been built offsite using modern methods of construction (MMC), will be lowered onto their final position on-site with all the groundworks and external hard and soft landscaping completed.

This is the first time this method of offsite construction has been used by Cardiff Council to deliver permanent homes for families living in the city. The method not only enables the units to be built and installed in record time, but will also use the latest technology and construction materials to create net-zero carbon buildings that are 90% more energy efficient than standard homes built to current Building Regulations. They will be extremely airtight, meaning they are well insulated and residents will see huge savings on their bills[1].

In recognition of their environmental credentials, the homes have achieved Grade A in Predicted Energy Efficiency and Environmental Impact (CO2) ratings. The houses will have solar panels on their roofs and MEV Heat Recovery with electric heating elements, so that they will not be required to connect to the mains gas service and will emit significantly less CO2 than a standard home.

Offsite construction also creates less disruption to residents, as the overall build programme and onsite activity is greatly reduced, with the units being designed to the same style as the terraced housing in the area.

Once the units are installed, all services will be connected, followed by the installation of electricity and plumbing, with the Council making the homes available to tenants on its existing housing waiting list in just five weeks.


Edward Rees, Wates Residential Regional Director, Cardiff, said:

“It is incredible to see this unused plot of land transformed into affordable homes. We care about the communities in which we operate and aim to design and build homes that put local people first. And, by using innovative modern methods of construction, we’re not only able to deliver these units just five weeks from now, but we are also creating homes that will support Cardiff and its residents in reducing their energy consumption and contributing to a more sustainable future.

 “We are committed to eliminating waste and carbon from our operations by 2025, well ahead of the Government’s own environmental targets, and we’re working collaboratively with customers, supply chain and joint venture partners to find better and more innovative ways to reduce waste, reduce energy consumption and enhance the natural environment.”



Cllr Lynda Thorne, Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities at Cardiff Council, who attended the lowering of the units today, said:

 “The installation of the modular units at Crofts Street is a very exciting day for us as we have eagerly been awaiting their arrival. Increasing the availability of affordable housing for people in Cardiff is a high priority for the Council, but we also want to make sure that the new homes we are delivering are good quality properties that are as ‘green’ as they possibly can be for the benefits of our tenants by reducing fuel poverty and the benefit of our wider population, because it’s the right, sustainable thing to do.

 “Right across our housing development programme, we are working on getting as close to zero carbon as we can with innovative construction methods and technologies that surpass current building regulations, minimise environmental impact and reduce ongoing running costs for tenants.

 “I’m delighted that the first new tenants in the development will be in before Christmas and they can begin enjoying living in their new Cardiff Living homes so soon.”


The homes are part of Wates Residential’s Cardiff Living partnership with Cardiff Council to deliver 1,500 new homes across 40 sites in the city over a 10-year period, including affordable homes for rent and sale, supported accommodation and more accessible and adaptable homes for older people.

Timber frame specialist, Blue Sky Property Services, of Norfolk, is always mindful of the environmental impact of its building and renovating projects.  This is certainly true of the conversion of an old engineering unit into a luxury two double bedroom eco holiday rental being built in the Norfolk countryside.

“We always specify West Fraser products as they are easy to use and are produced with the environment in mind.  We used CaberShieldPlus on the first floor as we didn’t need to worry about leaving it exposed while we were building.  The non-slip textured finish is not only safe; as the waterproof coating is permanent, it means there’s no plastic to throw away!” said James Carter, Director of Blue Sky Property Services.

All West Fraser panel products produced in the UK are net carbon negative and manufactured in mills that have obtained the coveted environmental ISO 14001 accreditation. Responsibly sourced, the panels are FSC certified and created from locally grown timber, cutting embodied carbon from transportation. Samples of SterlingOSB Zero, and West Fraser’s other construction panels, can be ordered on the website.

For further information, call 01786 812 921 or visit Uk.westfraser.com


Leaders from some of the UK’s most pioneering organisations have joined forces to explore the role of hydrogen in decarbonising the country’s industry, transport, and domestic heating sectors – which amount to 40% of the UK’s emissions, and the equivalent of 180 million tonnes of CO2.

As part of a UK-wide roadshow on the approach to the much-publicised UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, the 10-stop tour visited ground-breaking projects across the country. This included Northern Gas Networks’ Hydrogen House – the UK’s first homes to feature 100% hydrogen gas appliances – Thames Estuary, Equinor’s Hydrogen-to-Humber (H2H) Saltend project, Fuel Cell Systems, Johnson Matthey, DNV, and the Shell Learning Zone at the Aberdeen Science Centre.

As part of the roadshow, Pilkington UK – together with HyNet and HyDeploy – shared the news that its Greengate site in St Helens has recently undertaken two pioneering demonstrations of using hydrogen to replace natural gas in powering the furnace.

Each day during the trial, two tonnes of hydrogen were consumed – which could have provided an equivalent hydrogen blend to approximately 30,000 average-sized homes.

Elsewhere, Welsh Water – which announced its net zero by 2040 target earlier this year – shared details of its feasibility work to produce up to 2,000 kg per day of renewable bio-hydrogen at the site – enough to support a fleet of 100 hydrogen buses.

DGA chair Chris Barron, and director of gas networks at Costain, said: “Hydrogen – like many other decarbonised gases – can help us meet the UK’s ever-pressing need for net zero climate emissions, at low cost, with minimal disruption, and while creating thousands of sustainable jobs across the country.

“It has a particularly valuable role to play in the notoriously hard to decarbonise sectors – heavy transport, industry, and heat. As a nation, we rely heavily on these industries, but they account for over 40% of UK greenhouse gases. They’re therefore the elephant in the room if we don’t work together to create a deliverable pathway to a net zero energy infrastructure.”

Now complete, the tour explored the need for a regional focus, as part of the Government’s roadmap and Ten Point Plan, and the impact that the public could have if they were better informed and engaged with the subject.

Each stop was handpicked to help drive the conversation on hydrogen and the role it plays in the country’s energy transition strategy – with chosen locations showcasing their own perspective on the hydrogen agenda, to not only raise awareness at policy level but among regional communities too.

Matt Buckley, UK managing director of Pilkington UK, part of the NSG Group, explained: “We are proud to sit at the forefront of hydrogen innovation in the glass industry. Our team’s collaborations with HyNet and HyDeploy are enabling huge steps forward to be taken, as we work towards the decarbonisation of our activities.

“Both trials have successfully demonstrated that it is possible to use hydrogen to safely and effectively fire a float glass plant. We now look forward to HyNet being fully up and running from 2025 in order to turn these demonstrations into reality.”

Ben Burggraaf, head of energy at Welsh Water added: “Producing bio-methane or even bio-hydrogen is an important step towards meeting our ambition to reach net zero by 2040 and achieving a 90% reduction in emissions by 2030.

“Using the biogas to produce renewable fuels could have up to 10 times larger decarbonisation impact than using it to produce renewable electricity, in particular when combined with Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage technology – for example, producing food grade CO2.”

Andy Cornell, CEO at ABSL added: “The UK produces 30 million tonnes of waste a year which could generate up to 20 % of our energy needs. Sustainable production of biomethane and biohydrogen is critical for energy security.”

Iain Morley, hydrogen transformation manager at Wales and West Utilities, commented: “Bio substitute natural gas which Wales and West Utilities inject into the network can play a big role in reducing carbon emissions going forward. The HSE exemption of up to 1% hydrogen into the natural gas system delivers up to 5,000 tonnes of CO2 reduction which is the equivalent of 2.5k homes in the local area from the ABSL facility.”

Dr Phil Ingram, senior business development manager, low carbon hydrogen at Johnson Matthey, said: “Johnson Matthey was delighted to welcome the Decarbonised Gas Alliance roadshow to our sites in Teesside.

This is where our scientists and engineers created and continue to develop our award-winning low carbon hydrogen technology, which reduces CO2 emissions by over 95%. Manufacturing blue hydrogen at scale is a critical early step in decarbonisation, enabling us all to achieve net zero emissions targets and limit global temperature rises.”

Through innovation, collaboration, and greater public awareness throughout the regions, hydrogen can play a role in safely, quickly, and cost-effectively decarbonising UK infrastructure – providing the country with a stable pathway to net zero emissions.

Nanosensor and Digital Twin technologies come together at COP26 to help deliver a circular economy as part of the race to zero


Deploying billions of highly accurate and secure nanosensors interconnected to a global Digital Twin network can enable real-time monitorisation of emissions within urban and agricultural environments.

Nanosensors and Digital Twins are forecast to be pivotal to discussions between international nations and bodies at COP26 in Glasgow, the UK, from October 31st until November 12th and predicted to have a significant impact on the future of carbon tracking.

This technology collaboration will enable global organisations to reward organisations and people globally for tracking and managing emissions to reverse Climate Change while holding to account countries and industries that don’t.

Sensors can be positioned in every urban and rural space, including major rainforests and polluting cities, allowing global carbon emission tracking with unprecedented real-time accuracy.

Digital Twin technology will calculate the carbon emission data gathered by nanosensors, providing a globally sharable, highly accurate representation of how countries, companies, households, and individuals manage emissions in a way that supports the creation of a circular economy – a key sustainability strategy for the world as well as industry leaders to fight climate change.

This particular model for a circular economy is still evolving in terms of data and metrics, but indicators suggest this approach and enabling technologies such as Nanotechnology, and Digital Twins are vital to holding people to account while rewarding industry, governments, and the public for their work in driving down carbon emissions to net-zero.

Former Brazilian ambassador and diplomat and a Harvard scholar, Arnildo Schildt, has been developing a project based on this new model and will be presenting this at the COP26 summit in Glasgow, UK (October 31st to November 12th) – an event being billed as a catalyst for action and tech adoption in the Climate Change battle.

This project will use nanosensors to track deforestation and pollution to help accurately manage carbon credits and offsets, enabling the reduction of emissions and highly accurate tracking of data on deforestation.

Schildt said: “We have been working tirelessly now for two years developing a model with governments, the UN, international banks, academics and industry partners as well as investors to harness the power of Digital Twin and nanosensor technology to solve two massive challenges for our environment simultaneously.

“We have a delegation going to COP26 and will follow this with other partnership meetings in the UK, Canada and the US straight after the Glasgow event to make this a reality.”

Schildt’s initiative in vital rural areas mirrors the urban and agricultural work conducted by US-based Cityzenith, which uses Digital Twin technology to decarbonise the built environment, tracking, managing, and reducing emissions in buildings across metropolitan areas and major international cities as well as linking this to carbon rewards, credits, and other global incentive programs for sustainability.

Cityzenith was referenced by an independent global research group report from ABI research on the 28th of October, naming the company one of three, including The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Vodafone, that can deliver the infrastructure required for a functional circular economy.

Currently, cities generate 70% of world emissions. Cityzenith’s international Clean Cities – Clean Future initiative has major world cities joining the program, using its Digital Twin platform SmartWorldOS to reduce carbon emissions in buildings by 50-100%, operating costs by 35% and increase productivity by 20%, another independent report by Ernst and Young report on Digital Twins aligns with this.

Las Vegas and New York were the first two cities to sign up, with projects in Phoenix and others expected to follow over the next few months.

Cityzenith CEO Michael Jansen said: “We are confident that the Clean Cities – Clean Future initiative will demonstrate the combined power of Digital Twin and IoT technology to transform mobility, walkability, and emissions/air pollution, while linking all of this to carbon rewards and other carbon related incentives via one interconnected Digital Twin platform.

“And COP26 can play a huge role in bringing the climate crisis into the public spotlight, by acknowledging and backing technologies such as Digital Twins and nanotechnology to make a difference in the fight to protect the planet.”

The UK will also bring a national Digital Twin program to the summit through Anglian Water, BT, and UK Power Networks, which have partnered to foster better outcomes for the built environment.

The project aims to deliver an Information Management Framework which can ensure secure, resilient data sharing and effective information management. At the same time, the program identifies a range of benefits to society, business, the environment, and the broader economy.

Co-Founder of the World Nano Foundation, Paul Sheedy, said:

“Nanotechnologies such as nanosensors and quantum dots can track and monitor anything, holding and transmitting infinite amounts of secure data around the world.

“Combining nanotechnology with advanced Digital Twin platforms is game-changing for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and ESG investors that support such impact investing.”

Nanotechnology and Digital Twins were both named in 2021 as the top 5 tech growth sectors forecast to quadruple over the next five years; each sector is predicted to enjoy a combined growth of more than 400% in that time.

 XYZ Reality, the transformational construction technology company behind Holosite,

has announced it will unveil the most powerful Engineering-Grade Augmented Reality tool,

The Atom at Digital Construction Week (DCW), London 2021.

Watch the video

The Atom has been developed specifically to meet the needs of construction professionals; a game-changer set to transform the way the industry works, making construction smarter, more accurate and more efficient than ever before. The release of this flagship AR product is part of XYZ Reality’s Commercial Launch.

The augmented reality company is a Gold Sponsor at the must attend ConTech event and will have a major presence at the show taking stands E66 and F80 with its hospitality and Construction Playground areas. XYZ Reality’s team will also feature along with construction partners on the main stage and ancillary stages highlighting the tangible benefits that Engineering-Grade Augmented Reality has been delivering for construction teams.

For the first time ever, XYZ Reality will welcome visitors of Digital Construction Week to experience The Atom’s pioneering, innovative technology for themselves and see its state-of-the-art capabilities. Attendees will view and position holograms of BIM to discover the power, precision, and transformation that The Atom is bringing to construction sites.

Commenting on the launch and the event, XYZ Reality Founder and CEO, David Mitchell says, “DCW is one of the biggest and most prestigious events in the global ConTech calendar, so it was a natural choice as the setting for our commercial launch. The release of The Atom demonstrates our exponential growth over the last four years, and since securing our Series A funding in June 2021, our teams have been hard at work preparing for our commercial launch. We cannot wait to engage with delegates, showcasing The Atom’s powerful capabilities and showing how everything we do as a business is always driven by the specific needs of the construction industry.”

Ollie Hughes, Co-Founder of Digital Construction Week adds, “We’re delighted to have XYZ Reality as a Gold Sponsor partner, and that they’re choosing DCW 2021 to announce their commercial launch. David and the team are incredible ambassadors for the ConTech industry and are actively demonstrating through incredible innovation how digital technology is improving every single process within the construction journey, leading to a safer, smarter and a higher quality built environment.”

Recognising the significance of DCW 2021, and the importance of its delegates and key decision makers, XYZ Reality will be running an introductory offer for The Atom. Find out more at XYZ Reality’s stand at DCW. Book a live experience of the new technology at DCW 2021 here:  www.xyzreality.com/dcw