Seminar and Conference Programme
The Conference and Seminar programme has created an important vehicle for gradually ‘ratcheting up’ the level of information and expertise on sustainable construction in the local area, within all sectors (public, private, Housing Associations and community). Key factors that make this an effective vehicle to bring about change are:
- Events are a good route for providing specific expert information on defined topics to meet individual and organisational needs;
- Specific ‘client groups’ can be easily identified and events designed to target advice to address their specific needs (i.e. Village Hall committees, developers, Housing Associations, self-builders, etc.);
- Events are good for generating enthusiasm by showing all sectors that ‘it can be done’, and good opportunities for valuable networking with informed individuals, particularly the speakers, but also attendees;
- The events provide a cost effective route for ‘in-house’ officer and member training, as well as a good route for relevant training for key partners such as Housing Associations and a very good way of involving politicians in the programme i.e. via Chairing events;
- Events can and have been designed with the objective of identifying practical next steps for participants and the Sustainable Construction project as a whole (e.g. the emergence of a Somerset Sustainable Self-Build Network);
- Future events are being designed to create links with other key sectors that otherwise would be unlikely to address sustainable construction issues in the short term i.e. the Health Authority, Education
- Education and training events provide:
- A good route for creating a data-base of local and regional individuals and organisations that are interested in addressing the issues;
- A good route for raising awareness of the sustainable construction project; and
- A good vehicle for questionnaire based research on information and training needs to back up funding bids;
- In the process of selecting key speakers the events provide an opportunity to make good links with key sustainable construction experts and projects;
- Developing and managing an on-going Seminar, Conference and Training programme will be a key, self-financing area of work of the Trust, run in partnership with the Councils and other key organisations where appropriate.
Seminars held in June and July addressed:
- Materials and Products for Sustainable Construction,
- Sustainable Timber Frame Buildings,
- The Design, Specification and Project Management Process
- Sustainable Self Build.
A total of around 200 participants attended the seminars, with 180 attending the conference. The feedback forms generally indicated a very high level of satisfaction with the content and organisation of all the events.
Recommended Targets for 2001:
- Successful and profitable co-ordination of proposed seminar programme, with very high levels of attendee satisfaction, and identification of attendees future seminar needs
- South Somerset creates a niche market and is recognised in the SW as providing high quality sustainable construction training / seminars.
The following draft programme of events to be organised primarily by the Trust for autumn 2000 to summer 2001, working on particular events in partnership with the District or County Council, or other partners where appropriate:
- Local Energy Strategies or How to avoid the cost of the climate change levy – 5th December 2000, Yeovil
- Healthy not sick Buildings – 21st February 2001
- Sustainable Construction for Developers and House Builders – March 2001
- Building your own sustainable community building – April 2001
- Sustainable Schools– May 2001
- Sustainable Development in South Somerset – Trust AGM and conference May 2001
- Sustainable Construction and Housing Associations – June 2001
- Eco-conversion and sustainable refurbishment – July 2001
- Sustainable Architecture and Design – September 2001
- Waste minimisation in the construction industry – November 2001
- The Seminar and Conference programme is a vital activity for establishing sustainable construction as both a niche area of expertise in South Somerset, and more importantly as an area which South Somerset is taking a lead in translating the theory of sustainable development into practise. The programme demonstrates that South Somerset is doing so by getting to grips with a hugely influential sector: new construction and the existing building stock (i.e. 50% energy use and CO2 emissions are buildings related, 50% landfill waste is construction waste, etc.).
- The seminar and conference programme is an essential part of an integrated strategy, in that it leads to many benefits: low-cost in-house and local training and awareness raising; networking; spin-off projects; income generation; contacts with key experts; etc.
- The Councils - District and County - take full advantage of these low cost, high quality, on-the-door-step education and training programme, both internally (officers and members) and by encouraging key contacts and partners to attend (e.g. Housing Associations; approved architects, engineers, and contractors; etc.)
- Recognise and utilise the fact that events can be used to focus on an opportunity to initiate change in a particular target area e.g. schools / education. A well designed event can lead to an appropriate spin-off project i.e. the 1999 Conference lead to the launch of STSD within a year; a seminar held this year is helping create a Somerset Sustainable Self Build Network; events planned for 2000-2001 will provide a focus for taking work forward with schools and educational buildings, and with Health Authority buildings.