Our core programme of free evening
talks on diverse engineering aspects
of engineering culture. Open to all.
A Sensible Conversation about Concrete
Thursday 13 February 2020
6.30 - 8.00pm
image: cement works Dunbar, Scotland. Washington Imaging / Alamy Stock Photo
The Building Centre
Store Street
London WC1E 7BT
Free to attend
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Reinforced concrete is the youngest of the major industrial materials of construction, but it is ubiquitously successful due to its availability, ease of use and performance characteristics. Yet it attracts much criticism for its carbon-intensity, indeed in the current climate emergency there is a certain degree of hysteria around the CO2 issues. This conversation aims to add a solid dose of reality to the situation – around the supply chain, the application, the alternatives and a few geology lessons too. Would we conclude that we should put all our effort into cement alternatives, designing differently (more efficiently, demountably, for re-use etc) or just build and use less? Can we develop some workable scenarios to help us down the path of producing less CO2?

The conversation is between audience and a panel who will each make a short presentation:

Dan Ptacek is a supply side specialist who has previously been involved in replacement and reduction initiatives for concrete.

Elaine Toogood is Head of Architecture at The Concrete Centre and advises designers on the use of concrete, and is passionate about sustainable construction.

Tim Forman is a researcher and academic at the University of Cambridge. He is particularly interested in the challenges associated with built assets under future conditions and rapid decarbonisation of construction-related industries.

Rowland Keeble, Honorary Professor to the UNESCO Chair on Earthen Architecture, CEO of Earth Building UK and Ireland and Rammed Earth Consulting CIC, has built a business finding ways to eliminate cement from masonry structures – mainly in public buildings.

Steve Webb, founding partner at Webb Yates Engineers, has written forcefully on the need for engineers to reduce the embodied carbon in structures and practices what he preaches by using, amongst other materials, stone as an alternative to concrete.

Geoff Morrow, founder of engineering firm StructureMode, pioneering new forms of concrete. Chairing