Environmental issues finally impacting Planning and Construction?

19 November 2021

The Tulip Rejected in part due to environmental concerns.

The Tulip was proposed as a large tower, it would have been the second highest building in London, which was going to be located near to the Gherkin in the City of London.  The tower was proposed as a visitor attraction and viewpoint.

It is a scheme which has caused a lot of controversy.  It passed through through several cycles of planning discussion and appeals.

The scheme was rejected in part due to the embodied carbon inherent in its concrete core, This is one of the first buildings to be rejected, at least in part, on these grounds.  It will be interesting to see if this high profile case sets a precedent for other applications.

Timber Buildings

The World Building Council calculate 39% of global CO2 emissions can be attributed to the built environment, of which roughly 10% come from the embodied carbon in construction, particularly concrete and steel.

The Architecture Journal is reporting that the Government is re-evaluating the benefits of building with wood.  There are still barriers to adopting Timber including Fire Safety and Insurance. 

The government has finally acknowledged potential benefits in using modern timber construction and is committed to research ways to use Timber more effectively in buildings.

The government is still concerned that the use of timber should be confined to row low rise buildings.

The Grenfell Tower disaster has impacted the use of timber in buildings as people are extremely concerned about fire risks, even though timber was not implicated in the disaster.

Mortgage lenders and Insurance companies are extremely nervous about lending or covering timber built buildings at present.

There are some signs of an increase in the use of Timber in construction and there are currently a number of research projects ongoing mitigate issues such as fire risk and water ingress.

There must be a concern that this research will be too late to allow Timber to be used in the UK to mitigate climate issues.

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