Updated: Jan 29, 2020
With sustainability being pummelled into us from every angle, be it education, social media, television, newspaper articles or anything else that can feed information to the everyday man, woman and child; there is an ever growing risk that we could lose our traditional tradesman…which ironically, could be detrimental to our sustainable way of life.
I am not "Trumping it" and closing off any sense registering organ that could possibly hear or see the world’s greatest scientist telling us that the Earth is at huge risk of implosion from general human torment. But what I am saying is that, perhaps, in our great push for every human to do their bit and become sustainable, be it the odd bit of recycling or purchasing and managing a steel drinking vessel, have we forgotten about the buildings that still require the care and tenderness of a skilled tradesmen or professional?
There are thousands of traditional buildings in the UK from Church’s to Cathedrals or even your standard Victorian Terrace, all of these need someone who knows how to look after them, to understand that you don’t use a cement based mortar to hold the bricks together, you don’t necessarily need to install a retrospective DPM to keep moisture from rising, we need to understand that these buildings are alive and need to breathe to function properly, to prevent them from falling into disrepair. To go with these people who need to understand the previous, we need people who have mastered the skills to implement the traditional methods of construction, with the care and grace as not to damage them or reduce the significance of that building. As it is not just the need to sustain these buildings from falling down, but the need to keep our history alive, 'for we do not make history, we are made by history'…said some smart guy.
Reverting back to the earlier comment in the race to be sustainable by teaching our youth (and older generation) sustainable methods of construction, could this inadvertently result in more waste by allowing our traditional taught skills and buildings to dilapidate and potentially be demolished? Will making way for fancy new SIPs homes or factory constructed recycled modular units have a negative impact? Are we giving traditional tradesmen a shelf life? By demolishing the traditional buildings we could be filling our landfill sites with something that could be have been avoided had we the tradesmen with the traditional skills to maintain them.
Granted, these new fancy modular factory built homes (which believe it or not I am an advocate of, in the right circumstances, in fact more than most) may be more energy efficient than say your traditional Victorian brick built home, which come fully integrated with timber casement windows which heat the outside more than the inside. But they don’t necessarily need to be, with the right minds behind it, the Victorian homes could be upgraded with breathable insulation, vented conservation windows, even specialist MVHR units or underfloor systems, anything is possible, it just requires a little thought and care. One just needs to study our recently completed project, Dalby Square which has been upgraded to meet and even exceed modern standards whilst maintaining its traditional characteristics.
The future needs more traditional tradesman and professionals to survive, we need not only to push for our great minds to understand modern methods of construction, but also to be sympathetic to our traditional buildings as to ensure we do not increase waste where it is not necessary. And not only this but although corny, I stand by my cliché quote, we are made by our history and we cannot forget that.