Learning about the future of high-rise, in the place where history was made

Sir Winston Churchill once said of a bombed House of Commons: “We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us.”

Yet under the gaze of the famous Prime Minister, construction experts came together for LABC Warranty’s Technical Talk seminar to discuss how the sector can shape new buildings fit for the here-and-now and their future use.

Held in the evocative surroundings of the Churchill War Rooms in London, attendees heard from a range of experts discussing current issues facing the construction sector, from the Hackitt Report to cladding and offsite construction.

Sharing knowledge on “high-risk” build matters

Technical Talk Seminar, Churchill War Rooms

Speakers included LABC Warranty Façade Technical Standards Director Clive Everett, Major Projects Manager Iain Burwood and Director of Regulatory Policy at LABC Martin Taylor.

Julian Roper, Key Account Manager for London, kicked off the event with some profound Churchill quotes to set the scene “Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.”

Next up was Martin Taylor with a round-up of the Hackitt Review including potential implications for the industry. Martin is part of the Joint Regulators Group that will help to develop new regulatory tools and approaches outlined in The Review so it was interesting to get an insight into where the new bill will take the industry.

Iain Burwood covered the key aspects of basement waterproofing, highlighting the importance of a waterproofing specialist to protect developers. He then delved into the issues surrounding the use of Magnesium Oxide boards in multi-layer facades to avoid systemic building failures. His presentation concluded with the importance of heat soak testing of glass in high rise construction to reduce spontaneous breakage due to nickel sulphide inclusions.

A quick refreshment break in the Harmsworth Room allowed guests to mingle over a coffee whilst exploring the wall of switches and dials from a 1940s electric generator.

Churchill War Rooms Generator

Clive Everett covered fire compliant facades including changes to regulations and approved documents and guidance. Covering points around cavity trays, membranes such as EPDM materials being used around windows and at movement joints, as well as discussing balconies in the context of the approved documents.

The seminar closed with a talk on offsite construction and its growing use across the sector which inspired a good question and answer session at the end.

After being given plenty of food for thought from the various talks guests were then able to trawl the underground corridors of the nerve centre where Winston Churchill and his cabinet set out their plans to win the second world war.

Some of the comments from delegates:

“The speakers were very engaging and had an in depth technical knowledge on their specific topic. The seminars were of the right size in terms of timing and very much to the point. The venue could only be described as spectacular and it was a real privilege to attend.”

Ken Farnon, Construction Director, Blackfriars Project Management

“It was extremely informative. It’s important to feel time has been well spent when you step out of the office to attend this type of event and it certainly felt that way. To receive it in such a great location was a bonus.”

Aine Kelly, Technical Design Manager, St George

  • For more technical advice, head to our online Resource Hub.

Images from the day


Please Note: Every care was taken to ensure the information in this article was correct at the time of publication. Any written guidance provided does not replace the reader’s professional judgement and any construction project should comply with the relevant Building Regulations or applicable technical standards. However, for the most up to date LABC Warranty technical guidance please refer to your Risk Management Surveyor and the latest version of the LABC Warranty technical manual.


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