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From ZED pods to a cutting-edge dementia building

First Airmic Field Trip gives members a unique view on the latest building innovations

Airmic members have experienced, first hand, some of the most cutting-edge and innovative developments in building design at the Building Research Establishment (BRE), a world leading building science centre.

The BRE is an independent organisation whose aim is to improve buildings and infrastructure through research and knowledge generation. Attendees at the Airmic Field Trip toured BRE's vast innovation park near Watford, which includes pilot versions of buildings with the latest technology embedded into their design.

These included:

The flood resistant building. This has been constructed to reduce the impact and cost of a flood. Features include floor membranes and an automatic sump pump that prevents water rising through the floor. Water resistant flooring finishes and a construction method improves resilience and means the amount of the building lost to contamination is reduced.

The dementia building. This is investigating how existing housing stock can be amended to support individuals with dementia and therefore mitigate the pressure on residential care homes. Features include improved line of sight across rooms, lift access to the first floor, and light and kitchen fittings that will avoid common accidents for dementia sufferers.

The biophilic project. This is exploring how buildings that meet safety standards can be amended to improve the wellbeing of the people who use it, via new approaches to areas such as lighting and air flow.

The ZED pods. These are low-cost super-efficient (zero emissions) micro-homes that will sit above car parking spaces and therefore require no land. They will be used to provide key worker housing or additional revenue for organisations with large car parking sites. They were first tested at the innovation park and are now in the mass production stage.

The ZED pod with car parking under the home

The unique event was the first Airmic Field Trip day - a new educational offering for members - designed to take the members away from the workplace and consider new developments and approaches to risk management. As one attendee summarised: "I've learnt more and thought more about alternative risk management strategies in this day than I would have in weeks at my desk."

Field Trip days will be free of charge (although personal travel costs will be funded by individuals taking part) and each one will typically be available for 12 members. The next field trip is at the Lloyd's building in January 2020. This is fully subscribed but will be run again later in 2020. Airmic will publish the full Field Trip Programme for 2020 in December.  Meanwhile, Airmic would welcome ideas from members for Field Trip events - please email georgina.wainwright@airmic.com