Despite the disruption caused by Covid-19, judges last month selected a highly impressive shortlist of projects, products and companies for the 2022 CIBSE Building Performance Awards.
The judges met online to decide which companies should feature on the 14 award shortlists. Winners of each category, as well as the Overall Carbon Champion, will be announced on Thursday 24 February, at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge in London.
There is a special Project of the Year category for healthcare, to recognise the increased awareness of air quality and hygiene in the built environment. This follows last year’s special CIBSE Covid-19 Achievement Award, which marked the building services industry’s tremendous response to the pandemic.
There are Project of the Year categories for the retail/leisure sector and for public use buildings. Entries to the Building Performance Awards have to include information on energy use with building performance, although the judges noted that the pandemic meant this data could not always be included this year.
‘Focus on Covid was a marked feature of the judging for these awards, partly because buildings weren’t occupied, so it was difficult to obtain the data necessary,’ said Jon Belfield.
The judges were impressed with how the entries for the Facilities Management Award had embraced the challenge of the past 12 months, while also balancing the need for increasingly sustainable buildings. ‘There were a lot of good entries of a high standard,’ they said. ‘It is clear from the level of entries that progressive facilities management is adapting to climate change and now really focusing on building performance.’
Not surprisingly, the category for Product or Innovation of the Year – Air Quality was dominated by products that focused on providing air cleaning technologies to address the pandemic.
The judging panel noted that many of the applicants focused on adapting existing technologies to address new threats and they commended this approach.
In the Wellbeing category for Product and Innovation, the judging panel was pleased to note that, across a diverse range of entries, there was a focus on iterative improvements in the design to refine performance, and that this was based on feedback and testing.
The judges were impressed by the large amount of entries for the Thermal Comfort product category, reflecting the importance of the sector in reducing building energy consumption.
However, the judges did say they would have liked to have seen a bigger focus on test data, and more information on embodied carbon, which they said could be based on CIBSE’s guidance TM65 Embodied carbon in building services.
For the Learning and Development Award, the judges noted how online learning was increasing accessibility to continued professional development. They saw a wide range of initiatives among the entries and were impressed by how entrants had ‘embraced the challenges of the past 12 months’.
In the Collaboration Award, the judging panel said they were keen to see teams doing more than was normally expected of them in their role, and ‘disturbing normal practice’. Sally Godber said that collaboration was having the courage to question other people in the team.
‘If you’ve always done something in a particular way, you must be more willing to question what’s going on that’s outside your sphere of expertise. That’s where the interesting ideas come from,’ she said.
Among the entries, judges saw good evidence of collaboration happening across multiple organisations, and not just internally, and added that long-term collaboration was much more prevalent than short-term project collaboration.
In the Building Performance Consultancy of the Year category (over 300 employees), the judges praised the ‘very high’ standard of entries. They praised how entrants had developed new ways to maintain collaboration for virtual teams and were pleased to see a strong response ‘across the board’ to the challenges of diversity and inclusion. They also praised the consistent reporting of carbon emissions and the consultants’ clear roadmaps to net zero.
In the Consultancy of the Year category for companies with fewer than 50 employees, the judging panel were gratified to see that submissions were honest about what worked well and ‘what sometimes pulled up short’.
‘This is the professional conversation we need so best practice can be improved and shared, and it was great to see this across the CIBSE Building Performance Awards entries,’ said Belfield.
The way lessons learned were incorporated into future projects was also praised by Belfield. ‘Occupier feedback is such an important feedback loop for success, and seeing engagement with this occupier feedback in the award entries, to make changes and tune the buildings, was very positive,’ he said.
‘Hopefully, this will ensure the journey to net zero is owned by everyone – designers, installers and occupiers.’ CJ
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