Exclusive interview with Buildeco
Ahead of the London Build Excellence Award at London Build, Audley English of Buildeco told us why he entered the award and why he believes building 'offsite' will future-proof the construction industry.
Why did you enter this award category?
As a South London Windrush child, my school careers advisor would be shocked to learn that I won a scholarship and qualified as the first UK West Indian architect against his advice. My message is simple: whether from an underprivileged background or not, believe in yourself, follow that dream, never give up and find your own workaround solution in achieving that goal. ''
I entered this Award category as it aligns with my vision and my many years of experience. It's a lonely journey bringing about changes and introducing innovation within the construction industry, as the process takes time and sheer persistence.
My interest in & entry into the sustainable sector were motivated while studying in the 70s at the Architectural Association. The first encounter was through a lecture given by Buckminster Fuller and tutors, including Dr Ron Lucock (tropical architecture) and Walter Segal (self-build). They were visionaries in highlighting solutions that addressed climate change. Today their title would be Sustainability Champion Leader.
What drives you to succeed?
My architectural practice AEA Architects has always tried to adopt an alternative delivery approach and has been at the forefront of innovation from its inception, winning design awards related to sustainable developments.
Modernisation of the construction industry is long overdue. It is the last industry to embrace fully automated methods, even though they can substantially improve quality, cut costs, reduce construction time, prevent waste, and lessen injuries. Using recyclable and sustainable materials, the industry's carbon footprint can be significantly reduced. Efficiency is achieved by using advanced manufacturing techniques and integrated digital technology.
My recent start-up company, Buildeco has won or been shortlisted for a number of architectural competitions in promoting the innovative offsite 3D flat-pack platform build end-to-end delivery solution.
The Office of National Statistic's population prediction for 2051 is about 78 million. Millions of new homes will be required in London and other parts of the UK. New garden cities will also be required. Future housing demands cannot be met by traditional means alone: offsite is that future.
In 1988, the Egan report 'Rethinking Construction' was commissioned and circulated by government, endeavouring to change the construction industry's perception of embracing and developing new manufacturing techniques. This report was met with cynicism from within.
Currently, the government is supporting innovative offsite solutions. It put down the challenge for the construction industry to deliver 300,000 units annually across the UK and 60,000 units in London by mid-2020.'
Why do you deserve to win this award?
I believe that I deserve to win the London Build Excellence Award, as I continue to bring innovative solutions across the various sectors, I think outside the box, and I am not afraid of new challenges. Another initiative of mine is around employment: how to include local community social values into future projects, for the benefit of that community; how to engage with the disenchanted youths, ex-offenders and veterans and how they can be given alternative opportunities, hope, a career and be integrated within the growing offsite sector.
This award would give Buildeco public exposure in highlighting a circular economy approach, as change is required for future generations to benefit from addressing sustainability. It's a key message for the construction industry to embrace a better society.
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