CPD Seminar: Essential Choices for your High-Quality Home

Date:Tuesday 13 August 2019
Time:09:15 - 16:30

National Self Build & Renovation Centre 
Great Western Way 


Self-building is a major personal investment meaning that quality and whole-life performance are a real priority.

The choice of structural materials can ensure that your home is robust, secure and will last for many generations whilst maintaining the highest levels of energy efficiency. Masonry and concrete solutions can meet these demands and, as materials are sourced, manufactured and delivered locally, they are readily available all around the UK.

This full-day provides practical guidance on masonry and concrete solutions and shares best practice for the design and construction of new, energy efficient, high-quality and comfortable homes for the long-term future.

Delegates are welcome to attend the entire event or drop in for their preferred session(s). There will be an opportunity for delegates to network with product experts, and they will also have access to the National Self-Build and Renovation Centre, the venue for the event.

Seminar Programme: 

09:15 Registration and refreshments

Session 1: Modern Masonry
Chaired by: Christopher Stanley, Housing Manager, Modern Masonry

Brick and block, cavity wall construction is the most popular form of construction for housing in the UK. Concrete and masonry products are UK-manufactured, locally available and one of the most cost-effective solutions for building a new home. Did you know that concrete and masonry homes also deliver on performance and sustainability as well as cost?

  • An introduction to blockwork and its merits - Tom De Saulles, The Concrete Centre.
    Concrete blocks have been used in housing for over 100 years and continue to be the most popular option in the UK. There are good reasons for this relating to cost, durability and design flexibility. Blockwork construction is also straight-forward to use and widely understood by builders and architects. Other key attributes include fire and flood resistance, plus good thermal mass to help optimise year-round fabric performance and ensure overheating risk is minimised. This talk will give self-builders, and those unfamiliar with blocks, an overview of the different types and applications, including cavity wall construction/options, and their use in beam and block floors. 
  • Additional presentations and an exemplar case study for this session will be announced shortly.
11:00 Morning break

Session 2: Basements and Going Underground
Chaired by: Kevin Dodds - The Basement Information Centre
Considering a partially- or fully-underground living space may be the best way to get the most from your plot, either by providing useful additional space, facilitating planning approval or to cope with level changes on a site. Basements can provide comfortable day-lit rooms, with natural ventilation and external access that can make the perfect gym, music room, home office or swimming pool.

  • Planning a basement: Elaine Toogood, Senior Architect, The Concrete Centre
    This presentation will help navigate you through the site investigations, planning requirements and building regulations for basement construction, including key factors such as daylight, ventilation and means of escape.
  • Basement Waterproofing, An Overview: The Basement Information Centre
    Whether you are working on a new-build project or converting a basement, installing a robust basement waterproofing system is vitally important for protecting the structure against water ingress. This presentation will provide essential guidance for design detailing and construction. It will also provide an overview of the different types of basement and waterproofing options and when to use them.
  • Case study on Ghost House, Warwickshire: Phil Millward, BPN Architects 
    Created entirely using in-situ concrete, this adventurous design was something of a baptism of fire. The client already had planning permission for a partially submerged limestone and corten-clad house but – as a big fan of Tadao Ando’s work – asked BPN to revisit this design in concrete, which is used as both structure and finish inside and out. 


    Setting this property into the slope of the land was a key strategy for achieving planning permission for this extraordinary home. In this presentation the architect will give an insight into its design and construction including the underground and visual elements of the structure, sharing lessons learnt and key guidance for those embarking on the development of a new home.

    Click here to find out more about Ghost House. 
12:45 Lunch break

Session 3: Concrete Innovations 
Chaired by:
Elaine Toogood, The Concrete Centre
Concrete and masonry have unique properties that are ideal for the fabric of your home, such as thermal mass which can reduce the energy required to heat and cool it. The material is also fire resistant, flood resilient and is available in a wide range of forms and construction methods.

  • Innovations in concrete and masonry for housing: Elaine Toogood, Senior Architect, The Concrete Centre
    Elaine will provide an overview of recent developments in construction methods, products and guidance available supporting the development of new housing using concrete and masonry. The presentation includes offsite housing solutions, insulating concrete formwork, advice on detailing and useful design tools.
  • Ten top tips for energy efficient housing design - Tom De Saulles, Building physicist, The Concrete Centre
    This talk provides a round-up of what are arguably the top ten design considerations that collectively help deliver good year-round thermal performance and comfort in concrete and masonry homes. Insulation, thermal bridging and airtightness are key to this, but alongside these it is also important to consider orientation, shading and thermal mass to ensure a good standard of inherent passive performance over the life of a home. These will all be discussed, with plenty of illustrations to explain their significance and how they can inform design choices and outcomes.

‚ÄčThis session will feature offsite manufactured housing systems from Hexx Homes and Cornish Concrete

15:00 Q&A Session and close