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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

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    • CommentAuthordelprado
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2018
    All I can think about is designing houses, working around problems, and fighting incompetence in this country. Do it once, do it right.

    I am a lawyer by trade, but I want to do something with construction. Anyone got any ideas?
    • CommentAuthoradam_w
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2018 edited
    I am exactly the same, I am a fully qualified mechanical engineer in the aerospace industry and all I can think about is the detailing in the roof of my forthcoming extension, my wife thinks I have some sort of OCD and to be fair, I don't think she's far wrong.

    I must admit I've also thought about transitioning in to the building trade at some level but then I try to think logically about it and convince myself that the reason I enjoy the building is because I'm the one directly benefitting from it. I live in a house that I designed, that I built and that I am proud of. I can't imagine for one minute going though all those blood sweat and tears to then hand the keys over to somebody else no matter what the financial benefit may be but maybe that's just me.

    If you do decide to go for it, I salute you and your gigantic balls and wish you the best of luck!

    My route 'in' (to advice, consultancy and hands-on work in 'Green' Building) was a bit tortuous, but I know at least 3 people who have used their own eco-refurb as a 'springboard' to running their own consultancy and/or hands-on services to others doing eco refurbs.

    Some people have come into the 'arena' through the mainstream building trade, and others have done qualifications such as one of the MScs run by the Centre for Alternative technology (CAT) and other qualifications.

    I would suggest you join the AECB (Ass'n for Env't Conscious Building) if you have not already done so. Have a look also at AECB's Carbonlite Retrofit On-line course. It may be that your own research has covered all of the content, but it is very good on most of the areas you'll need, and particularly so on moisture risks in buildings.

    Good luck with the 'journey'.
    • CommentAuthordelprado
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2018
    Cheers Nick. Funnily enough I just joined AECB yesterday. I think I'd like to get competent at a trade, at least to some degree, since what I think is really missing is technical know how and practical know how and skills in the same person.
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2018
    Brilliant! Any of you like-minded people within reach of Exeter? Or just west country? It's an endlesly-repeated nightmare part of my architectural duties, trying to find bright and willing trades people, builders, proj managers etc. within range of each project. It's a huge unsatisfied need - go for it.

    Not wishing to tout, but directly relevant to this, see https://www.tomfosterarchitecture.co.uk/my-list
    • CommentAuthordelprado
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2018
    Sorry I missed your first post Adam. Your first para made me laugh!

    "I am exactly the same, I am a fully qualified mechanical engineer in the aerospace industry and all I can think about is the detailing in the roof of my forthcoming extension, my wife thinks I have some sort of OCD and to be fair, I don't think she's far wrong."

    I have considered do I only care because its my house but the honest answer is that I dont think it is. I find if I work on the house, even if its manning a wheelbarrow all day, I go into a pleasant meditative haze, where time just disappears. I think the better criticism is that being a specific trade might get boring, which is why its much more fun to be, say a carpenter and then be a general builder (for example). And I think the biggest problem of all is that people want stuff done cheaply, for the most part, and it would be hugely unsatisfying trying to pitch against cowqboys and only winning jobs because you've had to cut corners. I think my passion would be making great buildings, not having happy customers per se. I guess you can create your own niche, though, and find the right customers. Start a proper "eco" building company, stupid name I know but its likely the google terms the right kind of customers would use.
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2018

    To get ahead of the crowd as an Eco Builder, I suggest, would be to emphasise 'Eco Building Is Easy' (too late, I've got that domain!), not a fantastically complex, risky therefore expensive business. That's what all Eco builders trade on as far as I can see - guaranteed to frighten all but the rich. Another relevant web page: https://www.tomfosterarchitecture.co.uk/economic-buildability
    • CommentAuthorKenny_M
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2018
    Delprado - "the biggest problem of all is that people want stuff done cheaply".

    I think you have hit the nail on the head. People (including me) complain about the quality from trades, but they also want the cheapest price. I started out as a motor mechanic, the wages and conditions were poor, even though the garages charged a lot, but when I did jobs for people directly they wanted to pay next to nothing.

    When I translate that into dealing with trades for my house I want a good price, but I would pay more for quality. The problem is, how do you tell one tradesperson from the next unless you know what you are doing yourself, and if you know what you are doing yourself you will probably just do the job yourself!

    I think something that's really lacking in the industry is some sort of certification that distinguishes smart, quality tradespeople, from the rest. I did a full 4 year traditional apprenticeship, 3 years college, but now I hear people are qualifying from 'modern apprenticeships' in 18 months so it seems to be going backwards!

    Sorry if I veered off topic a bit there!!
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2018
    You get organisations like the Federation of Master Builders that was supposed to be just that, but soon gives up distinguishing, takes the money of all-comers and becomes an insurance co.

    And issues Forms of Contract that are phenomenally biased in favour of the builder, providing no significant recourse for the client. It simply ratifies the iniquitous belief amongst builders that it's acceptable, indeed recommended biz practice, to knowingly quote low, then lo and behold find endless 'unexpected extras'. The FMB contract provides no useful definition of the work that's been quoted for, thus the client is unable to enforce what s/he's signed for.
    • CommentAuthorbarney
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2018
    For Delprado

    At the last glance, the construction industry spends several orders of magnitude more on litigation than it does on training

    Clients wonder why they get poor experiences from the construction sector without realising they only agreed to pay peanuts for the work - so you get unnecessary risk taking at every level of the industry

    Personally, I'd advise you to stick to the day job and practice in the construction sector if you want to make some change


    • CommentAuthorMackers
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2018
    Delprado et al, I have the exact same dream. I have a plan to get there, eventually. I want to become a developer but do it right. Ive went from working with my father on sites doing everything from bricklaying to labouring for plasterers. I was an electrician and went back to uni to get an MEng in Building Services. Im on the road but need to get to know the business side of planning etc.

    Fostertom, I work for a large multinational that are very forward thinking. We may be of help in sustainable design, passivhaus etc. Drop me a pm for a chat.
    • CommentAuthorgravelld
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2018
    I'm an indie software developer, a few ideas have come up but either I've not acted on them yet or I found someone doing it eventually. My existing audience is a different market, so changing market would be pretty hard. I do have a friend who's in the construction software industry, again an indie (but he's a structural engineer).
    • CommentAuthordelprado
    • CommentTimeFeb 8th 2018
    I wonder whether I should consider architectural technologist?
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