Great turn out for CW sustainability conference

Gold sponsors Ista and PPG provided some good, relevant presentations

Presentations at the CW sustainability conference sparked lively debates and panel discussions.
Presentations at the CW sustainability conference sparked lively debates and panel discussions.

Sustainability was the top of the agenda yesterday as experts came together to discuss the key issues and challenges facing the Middle East building industry.

The Construction Week conference titled ‘Building Sustainability’ attracted more than 220 contractors, architects, consultants and developers, providing great networking opportunities as well as some pertinent training and discussion sessions.

Sustainability specialists travelled from as far as Hong Kong, France and Sweden to speak at the event, sparking some lively debates, panel discussions and critical questions from the audience.

Gold sponsors of the event Ista and PPG Industries provided some particularly interesting presentations respectively about how smart metering and specialised paints and coatings could be used to increase the sustainability of new structures.

Delegate from KEO architects Holley Chant, said: “I have been to the last three Construction Week sustainability conferences and I thought yesterday was my favourite venue. It created a very nice atmosphere for people to gather for a discussion on sustainability.

“I saw and met with many important players in the sustainability market. I thought John Madden [Senior Planning Manager from Abu Dhabi Planning Council, who provided the training with WSP’s Simon Cloutston] was wonderful and I heard from friends who attended other sessions that they were all really powerful. “

Speaking about the half day Estidama training, speaker and technical director at WSP Simon Clouston said: “Both John and I were very pleased with the level of attendance and interest in the Estidama training, and thought it was very worthwhile.

“It prompted some excellent discussions which seemed to be very useful to the delegates and also to the Urban Planning Council. The questions raised for example, helped the UPC to understand some of the areas that needed clarification.”

Opening the conference yesterday, Michael Nates said that the Gulf needed a bigger focus on sustainability, with an increase in LEED buildings, more shared good practice examples and a renewed interest regionally – not just in the Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

With presentations from the experts involved in KAUST and Mirdif Mall, both of which have achieved high LEED ratings, the event certainly provided a context for such example sharing.

Chant added: “I was also great to see that sustainability is still of interest to people, and that the industry is still committed to sustainability regardless of the recession. It was as if the downturn had finally started to lift.”

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