Last week David attended a workshop on energy-retrofitting the traditional hygrothermal envelope. This included preparation, mixing and casting bio-aggregate mixture of hemp and lime onto existing masonry. The workshop, run by Neighbourhood Construction, taught the installation through kinaesthetic learning, a process that worked very well in understanding all the elements of delivering a project like this for a potential client.
Neighbourhood Construction also integrates some key principles that they are developing as a company. One of the first principles that underlie their approach is the shift away from the static categorisation of people such as homeowners/contractors/specifiers etc, that may limit confidence and dialogue when looking at renovating a house, towards the concept that we are all Practitioners. A forward-thinking definition that empowers the individuals.
The workshop also goes through their working model of project management for an informed renovation of traditional structures. This approach values a traditional learning style of constructivism or ‘learning by doing’, a refreshing antithesis to the prevalent, learning by listening, the model of today.
Starting with the Scientific Principles of Internal Weather (a very interesting theory being developed by Simon James Lewis), Thermal Envelope and Human Comfort, Neighbourhood Construction emphasises a knowledge-led approach to renovation. We touched on their Project Management Strategy that supports the delivery of an efficient and cost-effective installation. This merged into on-site and off-site Protocols during the construction stage, which highlighted some really important considerations when working in a team such as communication, welfare, tidiness during the job and waste management. Finishing on People, a stage that talked about the importance of user centred design and planning, non-egotistical management and how occupant behaviour can have a large influence on the success of an energy-retrofit in damp remediation.