19 Mar 2012

60 seconds with...John Connaughton, Davis Langdon (an Aecom Company) & member of the BCO ESG

In March 2012 the BCO launched Whole-Life Carbon Footprint Measurement and Offices. Here we spend 60 seconds with a member of the BCO Environmental Sustainability Group (ESG) who chaired the steering committee behind the research.

Dr John Connaughton is Head of Davis Langdon's knowledge team in Europe. Read his full bio here...

How long have you been a member of the BCO and what do see as a key benefit of membership?
Since 2010. The greatest benefit is meeting people who are genuine leaders in the development and operation of office buildings. 

As a member of the BCO ESG you have chaired the steering group for the research Whole-LifeCarbon Footprint Measurement and Offices. Can you sum up in a few sentences what whole-life carbon measurement is? 
Yes. Buildings are responsible for significant carbon emissions over their life-cycles – not only during use (from energy consumption) but initially during construction, and later during maintenance as well as demolition and eventual disposal also. Whole life carbon measurement is a way of measuring all these carbon emissions so that we understand the total carbon footprint of buildings. 

Why is it important?
Carbon Dioxide (C02) is a major contributor to global warming. The UK Government wants to reduce CO2 emissions by 80% by the year 2050. Those involved in construction and property have a huge part to play in meeting this target, as over 50% of CO2 emissions arise from our use of buildings. 

What are the key topics covered by this report?  
The report focuses mainly on measuring ‘embodied carbon’ (ie the CO2 associated with the production of a building’s constituent materials and components).  Embodied carbon is often overlooked in conventional approaches to carbon footprinting, but can account for up to 40% of a building’s total emissions over its life cycle. 

Aside from whole-life carbon, what are the other hot topics on your agenda?
Another key environmental issue is water, seen both as a resource (have we enough in the right places?) and a risk (how do we avoid flooding?). 

Who/what has most inspired you in the Commercial Property Sector? 
Stuart Lipton, for his genuinely inspiring office developments since the 1980s, and his continuing belief in the value of good design.

What’s your favourite office development (either in the UK or wider afield)? And why? 
This will probably annoy my colleagues working in sustainability, but the Johnson Wax building in Wisconsin, by Frank Lloyd Wright, gets my vote. Not perhaps the most obviously sustainable of developments, but as an inspiring place to work…. Wow!

What do you think will be the most influential tool in the commercial property toolkit in the coming years?
A mechanism for linking sustainability directly with commercial property value. It doesn’t yet exist, but is coming….

What couldn’t you live without in your daily routine?
Shredded Wheat – preferably two of them!

What is your guilty pleasure?  (Something you enjoy but feel a bit guilty for. Possibly an embarrassing taste, whether it be music, fashion, food etc)
The Guard – one of the most politically incorrect and funniest films I’ve seen in years. 

Davis Langdon Director John Connaughton appears at no. 33 in Building Design's Sustainability 50 list, showcasing the most influential voices in the UK sustainability sector. Former Davis Langdon Senior Partner, and current government chief construction adviser, Paul Morrell, heads the list. (Building Design 09-03-12 pp8-13)

12 Mar 2012

60 Seconds with...James Wates, Wates Group and BCO senior vice president

This year the BCO Annual Conference will be visiting Manchester (23-25 May 2012). James Wates, deputy chairman of the Wates Group and BCO senior vice president, is leading the committee for the conference. Read on to find out more about James and his thinking behind the conference.

When did you join the BCO? and why?
1993 - I saw it as a great networking opportunity and I've never been disappointed!

As senior vice president of the BCO you are currently working on the 2012 Annual conference. Why was Manchester chosen as the host city this year?
Manchester is widely recognised as having transformed its landscape and its standing in the aftermath of the Arndale bomb. It's an inspirational city and an ideal place to discuss regeneration and the role of and challenges for second cities.

The conference is called The Phoenix Effect: regeneration, reinvention & results. What's the thinking behind this title?
We are keen to explore how cities take successful action to revitalise their economic position and their social cohesion. We'll be examining how much of this is in the control of local authorities and local businesses and how mcuh is affected and determined by forces beyond the city cush as national economy and government.

Tours include Media City, Salford.
What are you most looking forward to at this year's conference?
I'm very much looking forward to the opening session which will set the tone and ambition of the event. But I'm also looking forward to creating a sense of enjoyment for the delegates as they take in not just work at the conference but also everything that Manchester has to offer.

What do you think delegates will get out of this year's event?
The intention is to see delegates get something practical and thought-provoking from the conference; useful insights and also wider thinking to stimulate their thinking longer-term.

What is the hot topic on your agenda?
Skills are always on my agenda. Training and skills are the life-blood of any sector within the Built Environment. Planning too at the moment is an issue for all of us, as is seeing growth return to the economy.

What is your guilty pleasure? (Something you enjoy but feel a bit guilty for. Possibly an embarrassing taste, whether it be music, fashion, food etc)
All the good stuff in our local farm shop - restraint is a requirement!

Do you have a hidden talent?
My wife gave me a drum kit for Christmas - an as yet undiscovered talent!

What couldn't you live without in your daily routine?
My iPad 

Visit www.bco.org.uk for up to date information about this year's BCO Annual Conference.