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Six British innovations in construction, building and architecture

Oftentimes, it’s young start-ups and small enterprises that present innovations in the construction and building sector. Here are six promising new brands out of the UK and their solutions in energy, buildings, off-site, resourceful materials, interiors and critical infrastructure.

Six British innovations in construction, building and architecture Hope
The Jury of the Big Innovation Pitch in London.

The FutureBuild event in London put up six different stages during The Big Innovation Pitch on March 3 and 4, 2020. 37 small companies pitched their new products and approaches against each other. With one innovation shortlisted from each stage, six finalists emerged. They were Hope Resources (category: Critical Infrastructure), Passiv Pod Ltd (category: Offsite), Gapogroup (category: Energy), Kenoteq (category: Resourceful Materials), C.H.E.E.S.E. (category: Buildings) and Rype Office (category: Interiors). They went head to head, Rype Office was the lucky winner.

Rype Office

Six British innovations in construction, building and architecture Hope
Winner of the Big Innovation Pitch 2020 is Rype Office.

Furniture from virgin resources contributes 30 per cent of the carbon footprint of a commercial building over its entire life. Rype Office claims to reduce this by 80 per cent. They re-manufacture high quality used furniture to as-new condition. Furthermore, the company creates exciting furniture from waste (for instance plastic). Reduced waste and cost savings come out as the main benefits. Also, there’s social value in that Rype Office employs local long-term unemployed and disabled staff. The company’s scale enables them to equip large offices with sustainable furniture, electronics and flooring.

Six British innovations in construction, building and architecture RYPE Vinci Facilities
Photo courtesy Rype Office.

After winning the Big Innovation Pitch, Rype Office Relationship Manager Jamie Harbour. took the stage. He said: “We are honoured to have won the Big Innovation Pitch. It’s fantastic that Futurebuild embraces the Circular Economy and champions sustainability. Winning will help us continue to spread the word and increase awareness around our innovations.”


Six British innovations in construction, building and architecture: Gapotape
Photo copyright Gapogroup.

Gapotape is a seemingly simple combination of foil and foam tape. They specifically designed it for use in conjunction with rigid insulation board. It is the first product proven by the BBA (British Board of Agrément) to eradicate air leakage and thermal bridging. Construction workers place them where rigid boards are fitted between rafters in roofs, walls and floors.

Hope Resources/ Vacuum Reforming

Six British innovations in construction, building and architecture Hope
Hope Resources was the finalist in the category Critical Infrastructure.

Vacuum Reforming mixes unsegregated waste into the system. After this, the vacuum reforming process follows. What comes out is ‘cold clean syngas’. With their claim of ‘No Waste – Zero Emissions (to the environment)’ Hope Resources’ vacuum reforming aims to revolutionize the management of mixed, unsegregated waste. The process is sustainable, environmental and clean. It effectively deals with virtually all waste streams, eliminating the need for polluting landfill and incineration, replacing them with a zero emission total solution to waste.

Kenoteq/ K-Briqs

Six British innovations in construction, building and architecture Kenoteq
Photo copyright Kenoteq.

K-Briq modules, a technology from Kenoteq, are bricks from 90 per cent recycled construction and demolition waste, will be used for the pavilion. Because these bricks don’t require firing, they produce just a tenth of the carbon emissions of standard fired bricks, according to Kenoteq. As for the other main material, it’s cork sourced from Portuguese producer Amorim. Cork might be a more sustainable alternative to many woods because it doesn’t require cutting the tree down to harvest its bark.

Passiv Pod Ltd

Six British innovations in construction, building and architecture Hope
Passiv Pod were winners in the Offsite category.

Koru Architects and Strategic Management Partners founded PassivPod as a joint venture. They center around the concept design for an elliptical zero-carbon ‘passivhaus’. A Passivhaus (German for ‘passive house’) is a voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building. This way, it reduces the building’s ecological footprint. By doing so, PassivPod aims to offer a comfortable accommodation with an environmental conscience. It has several applications. Easily, a design can be either a luxury eco-lodge, school classroom or garden office. Their vision is ‘of a low-carbon high-wellbeing future where all buildings are sustainable. In service of this, our mission is to provide zero-carbon biophilic modular buildings to multiple key markets’.

Read more: Roadmap to change in UK building and construction.

The C.H.E.E.S.E. Project

Six British innovations in construction, building and architecture CHEESE Project

Picture taken from CHEESE Project website.The C.H.E.E.S.E. Project designed a not-for-profit, low-cost thermal survey system for the interior of homes. The abbreviation stands for ‘Cold Homes Energy Efficiency Survey Experts’. With their product they want to help to reduce carbon footprints and aid the fuel-poor. The surveys taken so far proved effective at revealing energy loss to a point that two thirds of clients undertake remedial retrofitting within a month, 87 per cent within a year. Also, the Project welcomes volunteer-led climate action groups and energy generating cooperatives to partner.

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‘Celebrating those who are seeking answers’

Gillian Charlesworth, Chief Executive of its sponsor BRE Group closed off the Big Innovation Pitch. He said: “As the world leader in developing innovative solutions to improve the built environment that we live in, BRE is delighted to partner with FutureBuild for this year’s Big Innovation Pitch. We are celebrating those who are seeking answers to the most difficult and complex industry challenges. It is essential that pioneering solutions are celebrated and supported to drive real change, which is why the overall winner this year will receive twelve months’ worth of BRE Academy’s online training and all shortlisted companies will enjoy discounted courses for six months. Congratulations to all the winners.”