The sun was out to greet us at The InterContinental hotel in London’s Docklands, with a superb view of the skyline over the Thames. After a chance to meet up with old friends and network with new acquaintances, things got off to a strong start with a welcome address from FMB Chief Executive Brian Berry, who introduced the topic of this year’s conference – The Green Homes Revolution.
Lord Callanan on 'The Green Home Revolution'
The keynote address was delivered by Lord Callanan, Minister for Climate Change and Corporate Responsibility, who spoke about SME builders being key to delivering energy efficient retrofit measures in homes, underlining that the government has allocated £450 million over three years to invest in green energy for homes.
SME's key to stemming the skills shortage
Tim Balcon, Chief Executive, CITB, took to the lectern to speak about Building Skills for Green Homes. He underlined the need to speed up training to address the skills shortage and praised pop-up training centres as a way to tackle this at grass roots level. CITB are giving support to the SME community to navigate skills and training, so small builders can be confident to both upskill within their own workforce and take on apprentices. He emphasised that ‘we need a skilled and competent workforce, now and in the future’.
The roadmap to zero carbon
After a break, Lynne Sullivan OBE, Buildings Lead from the Green Construction Board, delivered a presentation on the Green Construction Board’s work.
She explained the role of retrofit in delivering the Government’s targets on carbon emissions, putting the emphasis on this as an opportunity for SMEs. Transforming the built environment to a low-carbon regime could provide the industry with a 40-year programme of work and act as a springboard to growth for the more than 200,000 small businesses in the sector. In her summary, she explained: “[We are] interested to find ways government can work with industries and charities to increase consumer awareness, confidence, and demand for energy efficiency measures."
Expert panel discuss going green
A panel session then closed the day’s programme of events, with a discussion on Delivering the Green Homes Revolution. Speakers included:
- Russell Smith, Managing Director, Parity Projects
- Dr Gavin Killip, Senior Researcher, Oxford University
- Lynne Sullivan OBE, Buildings Lead, Green Construction Board
- Eve Willis, Policy and Public Affairs Manager, Nationwide Building Society
During the panel discussion, Eve Wallis mentioned that Nationwide are providing £1 billion in low-interest rate lending on green mortgages for energy efficient homes. She also talked about the challenges facing consumer uptake of energy efficiency measures, which could potentially be resolved with better communication on the benefits to homeowners.
Gala Dinner in aid of The Lighthouse Club
It was back to the Riverview Suite at the InterContinental for the evening’s Gala Dinner, where our charity raffle raised a fantastic £1,760 for our charity partner, The Lighthouse Club. Thank you to all guests who made generous donations. Our National President Jan Etchells presented honorary membership certificates to Gary Webb, Jim Gilmour and posthumously to Geoff Snow OBE, presented to Carole Snow on his behalf.
Thank you to our headline conference supporter CITB and our dinner sponsor TradePoint for supporting this event. Thanks also to our exhibitors Openreach, TradePoint, EEBS Limited, Next Minute and Buildxact.
We hope to see you all again next time!
Find out what’s on at the FMB
Make the most of your membership and come along to one of our regular in-person or virtual events. View a full list of upcoming events, including the FMB’s first hybrid conference taking place on Tuesday 8 November. The FMB Building Conference will bring together policy makers, industry stakeholders and Master Builder companies in a live and virtual audience to debate skills, retrofit, and standards in construction.
If you have any questions or suggestions for future events or webinars, please contact [email protected].