BEMP in Canberra

"BEMP is an annual conversation between parliamentarians and industry leaders that showcases the relationship between Australian communities and their built environment."

This year I was asked to participate in the panel discussing a framework for building resilience into urban development. Building on my experience of the Bluescope + PIDCOCK winning entry to the Insurance Council of Australia's resilient and durable house competition and my understanding of sustainable architecture, I talked about the need to build  resilience not just for the increasingly severe weather events we are experiencing, but importantly for the day to day life we need to enjoy in our homes in a low carbon future.

It was great to see that both sides of parliament have committed to putting both focus and funding into cities and the built environment. Cities deliver 80% of the nations GDP so one would think the federal government should be interested in the environments that shape this. The lack of interest of my fellow professionals was disappointing - and cannot be blamed on the Chilean volcano. We need to engage more seriously in the political landscape so that it develops in positive ways.

2 comments for “BEMP in Canberra”

Posted Sunday, August 14, 2011 at 6:50:50 AM

Durable buildings are a major, as yet unrecognised, risk area for Australia.
At every conversational opportunity I alert people to the fact that most domestic dwellings built with todays constructional techniques are unlikely to outlast their mortgage payment term intact. Well that is the head line. The McMansion might be an appealing living space but in order to achieve the amount of space for an affordable price that returns good profits to the project developer it must be built with every material economy possible, ie thinner lighter less durable. One major area of concern is the improper use of gang nail truss frames. This can be highlighted with one simple annecdote. About 15 years ago in when Christchurch was getting the first of its current series of GW induced super snow storms (after a 40 year break) I happened upon a couple standing forlornly in their driveway perusing their garage. Following modern trends this house had a 3 car width garage with a shallow roof profile. Due to the width the builder joind the truss bottom tension member with a gaing nail plate to make a piece long enough for the span. So with the unanticipated snowloading on the shallow roof the tension member seperated at the joiner plate causing both wall to be pushed out an allowing the whole roof structure to collapse damaging all 3 vehicles in the garage. Sigh. I did some good business as a result of the storm making retrofitable guttering snow straps for a national roofing supplier. So as buildings are made with ever thinner sectioned, softer pine (warm climates make for faster growing timber, but softer grain), and more economical joiner plates, all to attempting protect us in an ever more agressive climate, there is a tipping point approaching for us some time in the not too distant future.

I am a Malcolm B Wells fan myself, but that is perhaps going a little far for the average project builder, but I go to pains to get people thinking about their architectural risk exposure: Fire; Flood; Deluge; Hail; Lightning Strike; Land Slip; Wind; Tornados; Earth Quake, Extreme Heat; Energy; Communication; and Collision, and the surviveablilty of their property under these risk factors.

Good on you Caroline for being involved on this major challenge. The lack of interest by others is a symptom of the arrogance of complacency, and that is a mojor risk factor in itself.

Kind regards
Bill Bunting

Bill Bunting
Posted Tuesday, September 6, 2011 at 12:10:36 AM

New York's high Line Park. I heard this being talked about on NPR. Check it out

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