Construction in a climate crisis with the university design challenge

university design challenge

Following the announcement of Timber Development UK’s 2022 University Design Challenge last week, we are excited to announce a diverse range of speakers for our upcoming precursor event ‘Construction in a Climate Crisis’ next Tuesday.

During this event, we will hear from leading industry professionals who are committed to taking positive action in response to climate breakdown and biodiversity collapse.

The speakers will address construction in the context of the climate emergency and how this affects the ambition of the upcoming Timber Development UK University Design Challenge: Southside Hereford.

This knowledge is as important to current professionals and graduates looking to decarbonise the built environment as it is to participants who will be competing in the challenge, so we encourage you to participate and share with your networks.

The event speakers are:

Mark Farmer: Mark is the founder and CEO of Cast Consultancy. He has 30 years’ experience in construction and real estate and is a recognised international commentator on a variety of industry issues. Mark authored the Farmer Review, an influential 2016 independent government review of the UK’s construction labour model entitled ‘Modernise or Die’. In 2019 he was also appointed as the government’s Champion for Modern Methods of Construction in Housebuilding.

Kelly Harrison: Associate director at Whitby Wood, Kelly Harrison is a skilled engineer and a leader in the industry’s move to sustainable construction. She is particularly experienced in the design of timber and hybrid structures, refurbishment and retro-fitting, extensions and basements, and working in heritage contexts. Notable recent projects in London include the expansion of the Old Gramophone Works in Kensal Rise, transformed from a three-storey factory to a six-storey commercial building using a glulam/CLT frame.

Paula McMahon: Paula is currently the Regional Supervising Officer for Sir Robert McAlpine’s Northern region where she oversees the professional development of future ICE members. Her career has included significant roles on high profile projects including the Thames Barrier, Hinkley Point C and DUBAL Aluminium. Paula strongly believes in inspiring our next generation of civil engineers and educating everyone to work towards an equitable and sustainable future.

Anthony Thistleton: Anthony is a founding Director of Waugh Thistleton Architects and a passionate advocate of timber construction. Since being responsible for the first CLT structure in the UK in 2004, Waugh Thistleton have completed the world’s first high rise timber building in London in 2009 and continue to prioritise the use of timber in construction.

Gemma Jerome: Gemma is the Director of Building with Nature which oversees the UK’s first benchmark for green infrastructure, working with developers and planners to more effectively and consistently secure benefits for people and wildlife.

Seb Laan Lomas: Seb is an Architect and Passivhaus Designer at Architype. Seb has been coordinating the Architects Climate Action Network’s embodied carbon working group for since 2019, coordinating multiple national campaigns and co-authoring the Decarbonising Construction report.

Sally Godber: Sally is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer, Passivhaus Certifier, a member of the UK Technical Panel reporting to the Passivhaus Institut and is responsible for overseeing the CarbonLite Training. She has vast experience in the design and construction of larger low energy residential and commercial buildings, as well as building services.

Kat Scott: Kat is the Sustainability & Regenerative Design Manager at dRMM Architects. Kat is a Steering Group Member for Architects Declare UK and volunteers at the London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI). Kat also sits on the Mayor’s Young Professionals Panel, and on the Oxford Design Review Panel as a sustainability specialist.

Sarah Lewis: Sarah is an architect and Passivhaus consultant who has been involved in the development of some of the UK’s largest Passivhaus schemes. As a keen advocate for Passivhaus and equipped with a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the field, Sarah is also a published author of the best-selling book ‘PHPP illustrated’, a complete user guide to the Passivhaus Planning Package tool.

Sarah Broadstock: Sarah is an architect at Studio Bark. Sarah sits on the RIBA Guerilla Tactics Steering Group and is an active member of the Architects Climate Action Network, coordinating the Education Group during its first year of activity.

This event will be held online via Zoom and will take place from 6:30pm to 8pm.


We are also looking for sponsors from the low-carbon and timber construction sectors to help us upskill the next generation of sustainable built environment professionals. As a sponsor, you will gain a unique opportunity to engage and influence future-built environment professionals, and have your brand shown and associated with low carbon, modern construction.

There are only a few sponsorship opportunities remaining. If you would like to get on board and have your brand at the forefront for the next generation of architects, engineers, quantity surveyors and other construction professionals, get in touch with now.

We would like to thank our supporters & sponsors


AECBdesignPH Trimble and Ufi VochTech Trust


PEFC UKTDCAStora EnsoPassivhaus HomesAccoya, Wood for Good and Rothoblaas

Southside Hereford:University Design Challenge 2022

Timber Development UK – the organisation formed from the merger of TRADA and Timber Development UK is partnering with New Model Institute of Technology and Engineering (NMITE), Edinburgh Napier University (ENU) and the Passivhaus Trust to challenge built environment students, as well as recent graduates, to form multidisciplinary teams to create a ‘net-zero community centre’ based on timber and timber-hybrid systems.

Students from all built environment courses at UK universities, from first to final year, along with 2021 graduates are invited to enter the competition which launches on the 30 November in person at the Building Centre, Store St, London and online. The 2022 challenge – is to design an exemplary community building that produces more energy than it consumes, at Southside in Hereford.

Teams must produce designs that sites the community centre within the local context and landscape integrating the clients’ and communities’ interests. The detailed designs must be ‘net zero’, creatively employing sustainable building materials and construction methods, and be energy and resource efficient, focusing on the health and well-being of people, the community, and our planet.