Planning permission was granted on January 15th for our Camden Passivhaus. The structure is being pre-fabricated in Austria and the Austrians will fit the windows, the electrics, the plumbing and all the finishes to achieve the highest quality of workmanship in the shortest time possible.

Knowledge Transfer and Training for Passivhais Skills

Cllr Alexis Rowell of Camden Council will organize a team of councillors, planning and sustainability officers to monitor progress of the construction and learn from the techniques brought over from Austria in order to help Camden achieve his vision of incorporating Passivhaus requirements into the Camden’s Local Development Framework. A number of learning workshops are planned during the process of the build, in order to help UK partners and policy makers to understand how to attain the standards that we need in the UK to achieve the most energy efficient house design concept in the world today.

The planned workshops will form part of our longer term strategy to highlight the need to improve specialist construction training in the UK by creating highly respected vocational courses in Higher Technical Schools along the Austrian model. This system, one of the secrets behind the success of the Austria’s eco-industries, gives youngsters who want to be industry leaders in quality design, installation, manufacture and management the opportunity to be streamed into 5 year graduate courses from the age of 14. Such courses can produce tomorrow’s workforce and managers of industry who have expertise in their chosen field before they are 20 years old. If they go on to lead their firms in future years, they lead with expert industry knowledge rather than simply as the result of financial knowledge or university training.

We believe that leaders need to grow up out of their industries, rather than descend from above. Leaders need to know about the practical skills of the job in order to be truly creative and earn the respect and commitment of their workforce and with them, produce products of the quality that we need now to achieve our CO2 reduction targets. By following the Austrian model we believe that it is possible to re-find and maintain the design, construction and manufacturing quality that used to be the hallmark of products made in the UK. We would like to see the government act now to give young people opportunities to be at the heart of re-building the UK construction and manufacturing capability from the grass roots level upwards, and to have opportunities to learn skills that will be of real use to them, their communities and ultimately the natural environment in the 21st century.

Anyone interested in participating in visits or other learning opportunities should contact bere:architects and speak in the first instance to Sarah Sandison.