CLAW Annual General Meeting 2009

The CLAW AGM 2009 was held in Neath Port Talbot at the Towers Hotel and Spa, Jersey Marine on 12th and 13th November. The Welsh Assembly Government Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing, Jane Davidson A.M., was guest speaker at the Annual Dinner where she referred to the challenges facing the public sector in meeting targets to reduce CO2 emissions. She was pleased to see that Welsh Local Authorities were making considerable progress to meet these targets and was particularly pleased to see how sustainabilty was being integrated into the designs of new local authority buildings.

Following her speech the Minister presented the 2009 CLAW Building of the Year Award to Neath Port Talbot CBC for its Margam Discovery Centre project and the 2009 CLAW Sustainability Award to Angelsey County Council for its Ysgol y Graig new primary school.


 Jane Davidson A.M. the Welsh Assembly Government Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing, presenting the CLAW Building of the Year Award 2009 to Councillor Alun Thomas and Gareth Nutt of Neath Port Talbot CBC

On the 13th November the elected members were able to learn about new initiatives that will assist authorities in their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint.

Nick Tune of Building Research Establishment gave details of the WAG Sustainable Design guidance website for new build and an update on the Low Carbon Refurbishment Guidance.

Paul Jennings of Constructing Excellence Wales later gave a presentation to the AGM on the Green Compass Waste Scheme.


 CLAW Members and Officers at the 2009 AGM, Neath Port Talbot

CLAW Member Visits
598623dc99On the Thursday prior to the AGM CLAW delegates visited two flagship projects in Neath Port Talbot, commencing with the Quays New Offices and Service Response Centre development, which was the CLAW Building of the Year Award winner for 2008. A presentation and guided visit was given by staff from Neath Port Talbot Council. The development took place as part of a strategic accommodation review and has enabled the Council to consolidate various facilities to improve efficiency and replace several offices and depots. A number of buildings have been released for redevelopment and re-use by the private sector.

The scheme design was awarded a BREEAM Very Good rating and incorporates a number of sustainable design features including sustainable sourcing of materials, solar shading and recycling facilities. One of the key design decisions was to set the width of the office floorplate at a relatively narrow 13.5m to enable good natural day lighting to be available to the open plan office space. The office design provides hot desking facilities for the majority of staff using standardised workspace facilities and a thin client ICT system. The building also accommodates a 24 hour CCTV response centre which jointly serves Neath Port Talbot and neighbouring Swansea.

d75f5a060dFollowing the visit to the Quays, CLAW delegates then visited the Margam Discovery Centre. The Centre was constructed in some 850 acres of Grade 1 listed landscape parkland, in which over 600 deer roam freely, and the site includes the famous 18th Century Orangery and Margam  Castle, both of which are grade 1 listed buildings. CLAW members learnt that the Margam Discovery Centre offers high quality residential environmental courses to all age groups, with potential for up to 120 delegates accommodated in 34 en-suite bedrooms. With outlooks onto a coastal plain, industrial landscape and upland area there are a wide range of opportunities for geographical and scientific study. The Centre is run by the Field Studies Council in partnership with Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council.The Centre was designed by the Welsh School of Architecture to compliment this unique landscape and is an environmentally sustainable visitor centre and sustainable energy educational centre aimed at providing visitors with a better understanding of the environment. The construction was of modular design and most of the single storey accommodation is supported off the ground on stilts. The Centre is designed to be naturally ventilated and incorporates north light to maximise day lighting within the building whilst reducing solar gain. The Centre was opened in spring 2009.
CLAW Makes Presentations at Public Sector Forum Meetings 30 June 2009 at Llandudno and 2 July 2009 Bridgend

Constructing Excellence Wales organised two Public Sector Forum Meetings on 30 June 2009 at Llandudno and on 2 July 2009 at Coychurch, Bridgend. CLAW Officers gave a presentation on the activities of the Consortium at these meetings, including its Vision, Mission, Objectives, background and history, membership, details of the Working Groups and benefits of CLAW. Copies of the CLAW Business Strategy 2009 were distributed at the meetings. Representatives of Value Wales also gave a presentation on Supplier Selection which can be viewed on the CLAW website.

CLAW Represented at Construction Skills – Professional Sector in Wales Research Project

CLAW was represented at the Construction Skills – Professional Sector in Wales Research Project -Professional Body Workshop at The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Wales Office, Cardiff on 19 June 2009. Construction Skills is the UK Government licensed (and Welsh Assembly Government endorsed) Sector Skills Council representing the education and skills needs of the sector. The organisation is more usually associated with the trades and crafts part of the sector, however, it is keen to find out what it can do to help professional bodies and their members through these times and in ensuring that all professions are ready for the upturn when it comes. The Workshop explored how professional bodies recruited, carried out training and how they are adapting to changing markets. It also looked at what Construction Skills could do to help and agreed to arrange another Workshop for employers where CLAW again will be invited to attend.

CLAW / APSE Strategic Forum on Asset Management and Regeneration

A joint Strategic Forum Asset Management and Regeneration meeting was held between CLAW and the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) at the Parc Hotel, Cardiff on 21 May 2009. The meeting was arranged in order to examine how CLAW and APSE could develop close joint working in the future and how to take forward some of the ideas that came out of the strategic forum. The main areas for possible future collaboration discussed at the meeting included Lobbying and Media, Research, Training, Joint Event and Speakers, and Benchmarking.

SCALA/SCEME/CLAW Study Day “Achieving a Low Carbon Environment – Fact From Fiction” 14 and 15 May 2009

Discovery CentreCLAW members attended a joint SCALA/SCEME/CLAW Study Day entitled “Achieving a Low Carbon Environment – Fact From Fiction” on 14 and 15 May 2009.

On the 14th May delegates visited the new Welsh Assembly Building in Cardiff and travelled to Margam Park to visit the new Environmental Discovery Centre. In the evening there was an informal dinner at the Holiday Inn, Cardiff.

On Friday 15th May the Study Day was held at the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff.  The SCALA President, Andrea Heinlein welcomed delegates to the event followed by an opening address from 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 at which delegates had a choice of subjects and speakers. Delegates were also given the opportunity to tour the Centre for Research in the Built Environment (CRiBE) Environmental Laboratory which houses a Wind Tunnel, an Artificial Sky and Heliodon, the most advanced of its kind in the UK.

2009_Spring_MeetingCLAW Members Spring Meeting 2009

CLAW members met at the Bulkeley Hotel in Beaumaris, Ynys Mon for the 2009 Members Spring meeting on 30th April and 1st May.

On the afternoon of 30th April members visited the new Ysgol y Graig building and the Sir Kyffin Williams gallery extension to Oriel Ynys Mon. The Ysgol y Graig building was completed at the end of 2008 and has been operational since January 2009. The school features green sedum roofing, PV solar panels and wind turbine, and incorporates many recycled materials in the internal fittings and fixtures. The Kyffin Williams gallery was completed during July 2008 to house the artist’s collection of pictures and sketches.

2009_Spring_Meeting2The new draft CLAW Business Strategy and Operational Plan was unveiled at the meeting on 1st May. Elected members were shown the process that had been undertaken to develop these documents and the proposals for their use over the coming year. The elected members approved the documents for publication and  discussions at the meeting then included consideration of the future direction for CLAW and members were keen to ensure that all authorities have an input into this process.

The CLAW Business Strategy 2009 has subsequently been translated and published in bilingual form. Copies have been distributed to member authorities and an electronic copy is available on the CLAW website. Copies have also been forwarded to Welsh Assembly Government and the National Library of Wales.

Also at the Spring meeting, Mr Jeff Perren of the Welsh Assembly Government, Department of the Environment, Sustainability and Housing gave a presentation and update on Policy, Strategy and Regulations in relation to energy efficiency and low carbon 2009_Spring_Meeting3design. The presentation included an overview of a new website that will be available in the near future and will act as an information hub to assist authorities in the development of energy efficient and low carbon initiatives. A link to this website is to be made available via the CLAW website in due course.