Lucy Roper’s Built Environment news round-up: ‘Lego-style’ structures and making our buildings safe

Posted on: 20 June, 2019

Each fortnight, UCEM Information Governance Manager, Lucy Roper points us in the direction of interesting stories from the Built Environment.

This news round-up sees Lucy point us to a story about how ‘Lego-style’ school buildings may become the norm which prompts her to reminisce about a Lego-style building from UCEM’s history.

The second theme of the blog is building safety. Lucy takes a look at fire safety developments and the latest on Grenfell…

Building blocks

Standardised ‘Lego-style’ building blocks may become a major feature of UK schools depending on the outcome of research being carried out a quartet of firms. The project is being funded by government agency, Innovate UK, and could transform the way schools are built.

Talk of ‘Lego-style’ buildings made me think of UCEM’s old workplace at the University of Reading’s Whiteknights campus. As shown by the photos of our former home – the URS Building – in this article about its listed status, the structure is highly distinctive and was (and still is) colloquially known as ‘the Lego building’. Our 43-year residence from 1973-2016 at the University of Reading is named among the milestones of our history and if it’s videos you’re more interested in, then this short video history of our first 100 years may be worth four minutes of your time.

Fire standards and building safety

Buildings are hugely important, housing us, protecting us from the ever-changing forces of nature and sometimes inspiring us with their intelligent designs. Crucially, buildings should be safe.

The latest RICS Modus edition is called The Safe Issue and examines the approaches taken on fire safety in the Built Environment sector. There are plenty of articles within the magazine which will make you think more critically about fire safety but if you only have time to read one, make it ‘The case for a global fire safety standard’ which advocates a global standard to safeguard the planet’s buildings.

Safety is paramount in the Built Environment and you can’t discuss fire safety without pausing for thought about Grenfell. Last week marked the second anniversary of the fire which shamed the UK and still, thousands are living in blocks with unsafe cladding. Plenty of projects dedicated to the victims of Grenfell have been put in place to remind people of the human cost of the fire. I sincerely hope the memorials will be the last of their kind and we’re not forced to reflect on further inaction having devastating consequences again.

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For more from Lucy, take a look at the latest edition of Knowledge Foundations.