CLAW Annual General Meeting 2010

The CLAW AGM 2010 was hosted by Conwy County Borough Council at the Imperial Hotel, Llandudno on 11th and 12th November. Francois Samuel, Head of the Construction Unit, Department of Environment, Sustainability and Housing at the Welsh Assembly Government, was guest speaker at the Annual Dinner. He was pleased to see that Local Authorities in Wales were achieving very high standards in the designs of new projects and were incorporating sustainability in the early stages of designs.  He noted that there was a holistic approach to the designs with sustainability at the early conceptual stage and it was good to see that virtually all new schools in Wales are now reaching the BREEAM Excellent standard

Francois Samuel then presented the 2010 CLAW Building of the Year Award to Cardiff Council for the New Cardiff Central Library project and the 2010 CLAW Sustainability Award to Ceredigion County Council for Canolfan Rheidol Offices and Carbon Neutral Energy Centre, Aberystwyth.

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Francois Samuel – Head of the Construction Unit, Department of Environment, Sustainability and Housing at the Welsh Assembly Government – presenting the 2010 CLAW Building of the Year Award to David Young of Cardiff Council. Also in the picture are Councillor Goronwy Edwards, Chairman of CLAW and Keith Morgan, Chairman of the Board of Nominated Officers

SCALA/ SCEME/ CLAW Study Day, 10-11 June 2010

CLAW members attended a joint SCALA/SCEME/CLAW Study Day entitled “Are we ready for the challenge of a new decade” on 10 and 11 June 2010.

On the 10th June delegates visited Powys County Council’s Canolfan Hyddgen, in Machynlleth, a post-16 training and education centre. The £1.2million new building was officially opened in March 2009 and has been awarded BREEAM Excellent standard. It is also the first public sector building in the UK to be certified by the Passivhaus Institute. Passivhaus principles – high levels of insulation, solar gain and efficient heat recovery systems ensure low energy use – are more commonly used in continental Europe. The project was part funded by a Welsh Assembly Government through their DCELLS Department (Education) to demonstrate and explore new ways of delivering life-long learning in a rural location.

Afterwards, delegates visited the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), Machynlleth to attend the closing stages of the official opening of the new Wales Institute for Sustainable Education (WISE) centre, including a presentation by the architect and to visit the premises. CAT is one of the world’s foremost eco-centres, with over 30 years of research and experience in sustainable living. WISE is a cutting edge combination of sustainable building techniques and environmentally conscious design. Built using low embodied energy materials such as hemp and lime, rammed earth and FSC certified timber, the building is powered using on-site renewable energy sources, including biomass and hydro power.

On Friday 11th June the Study Day was held at the WISE Conference Centre, Machynlleth which commenced with a welcome and introduction by the SCALA President, Leslie Morrison followed with an opening Keynote Address by Jane Davidson A.M., Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing at the Welsh Assembly Government. The morning continued with a series of presentations, followed, after lunch, by break-out workshops, which delegates could elect to attend from a choice of subjects and speakers. Copies of the various presentations have been placed on the CLAW website.

CLAW Members Spring Meeting 2010

Carmarthenshire County Council was the host authority for the CLAW 2010 Spring Meeting which was held on 6 and 7 May at the Diplomat Hotel, Llanelli.

On Thursday 6th May delegates visited three projects in the Llanelli area of Carmarthenshire where regeneration had featured prominently within the development.

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The first location visited was the new Parc y Scarlets Stadium, Llanelli, where Rupert Moon the former Welsh Rugby scrum-half gave a guided tour of the stadium and facilities. The Stadium opened in November 2008 as the new home of the Scarlets and Llanelli RFC and the ground replaced Stradey Park, the home of Llanelli’s rugby teams for almost 130 years. The new stadium complex includes hi-tech facilities for matchday supporters and for non-matchday revenue generation, as well as a training barn and a training pitch with athletics track. Built by Port Talbot-based Andrew Scott Limited, the ground is on a site owned by Carmarthenshire County Council, next to a new retail park. The stadium was designed by Parc y Scarlets2specialist sports stadia architects, The Miller Partnership, where the stands have a slight curvature to allow for better views.

The second location visited was the Pembrey Circuit, which is a 1½ mile long racing circuit outside Pembrey village. Located on a former RAF airfield, which had been used a chicken farm, it is deemed to be the home of Welsh motorsport, providing racing for cars, motorcycles, karts and trucks. The circuit has two different sections, an all tarmac race circuit and a rally cross circuit utilizing some of the race circuit with an addition off-road surface. The circuit is operated by the British Automobile Racing Club under the terms of a 50 year lease from Carmarthenshire County Council.

The final site to be visited was the Ffos Las Racecourse at Trimsaran, which was completed in 2009. Ffos Las was once the site of an open cast mining operation which operated between 1983 and 1997. At one time, it was the largest open cast mine in Europe and was 500ft deep. Ffos Las was the first turf racecourse to open in the UK for 80 years, and provides state-of-the-art facilities for horses, trainers, jockeys and race-goers. The project was created by South Wales civil engineering company The Walters Group, and the driving force behind it was the company chairman and racehorse owner Mr David Walters. Carmarthenshire County Council Leader Meryl Gravell OBE, who has supported the racecourse since its conception, told CLAW delegates that the attraction had breathed new life into the area. Carmarthenshire County Council had also brokered a deal for 250 houses to be built on 18 acres of the site.

On 7th May, Elected Members were given presentations on 21st Century Schools by the Programme Director Mr. Martin Lipson and the Programme Manager Mr. Jason Pritchard. It was noted that current school configuration in Wales was unsustainable environmentally and financially with surplus spaces approaching 20% and that it was intended to move from small scale investment with poor value for money to strategic, more efficient long-term funding. Details of the Aims of the Programme, Timescale, Arrangements and other updated information were given at the meeting. Copies of the presentations have been placed on the CLAW website. CLAW will also be working with 21st Century Schools to investigate and report upon various construction topics.

The Official Launch of the Low Carbon Design Guide by the BRE, Carbon Trust Wales and CLAW also took place at the CLAW Members Spring Meeting on 7 May 2010. Nick Tune (BRE), David Moore (Carbon Trust Wales) and Dave Mundow (Cardiff Council) gave a presentation on the new Low Carbon Design Guide which focuses on refurbishment and maintenance of existing buildings and dovetails well with existing guides which cover new buildings.