JGA support the AJ’s RetroFirst campaign

John Gilbert Architects and our Building Performance service, Hab-Lab fully support the Architects Journal RetroFirst campaign. The scale of the climate emergency challenge requires meaningful retrofit of virtually all our building stock over the next 30 years. This retrofit must be financially viable, well informed and well designed. We fully endorse these first set of demands to balance the financial equation with new build projects.

The AJ RetroFirst campaign calls for a change in approach from government and policy-makers. It has three demands. First, tax: cut VAT on refurbishment, repair and maintenance from 20 per cent to 5 per cent. Second, policy: promote the reuse of existing building stock and reclaimed construction material by reforming the planning guidance and building regs. Third, procurement: government must lead by example, by insisting that all publicly funded projects look to retrofit solutions first.

There will always be a requirement for new build, particularly with the intense pressure on housing; and, where new build is the best option, it should be as sustainable as possible. Likewise, not all existing structures can or should be saved. But where the choice is between demolishing an existing building to build new in its place, or retaining an existing structure, the default approach should be to retain and retrofit it.

For more information see AJ RetroFirst Campaign