We take a look back at the key issues aired on The Hub in 2021

As the construction industry closes down for another festive period, we look back at the important issues that have dominated both the news and the public zeitgeist with some of the Hub articles you may have missed.

Whether it’s the thoughts and opinions of our contributors on the November COP26 meeting, views on the importance of good indoor air quality, or the need to look at everyone’s wellbeing after another challenging COVID year, we tried to cover everything of importance.

We hope that you found some valuable and thought-provoking pieces on The Hub this year.

Russell Jones Russell Jones Content and communications manager

The ongoing impact of COVID

Top of everyone’s agenda of course has been the ongoing challenges posed by the global pandemic, which has caused serious issues for both public health and wider society in general.

COVID has not only affected people’s health and mental wellbeing, it has had a disastrous effect on manufacturing and supply chains as this article from Alex Black highlights. Unfortunately, these production and logistical issues look set to continue well into the New Year.

In the UK construction sector, we’ve reported on how the materials shortages are impacting housebuilding and affecting what was a slow but steady recovery.

On the plus side, we’ve seen a training revolution after in-person training took a real hit, with companies getting their act together and developing seriously good virtual training programmes, such as our own, Award-winning online learning, as Head of Training, Lance Hitchins reported on here.

The COP26 discussions

Plenty of our contributors had something to say about the build-up to COP26 in Glasgow in November with Jim McClelland writing about the G7 meeting in Cornwall and how this set the scene for COP26.

Our very own Ecodan Ambassador, TV presenter and architect, George Clarke also shared his thoughts on COP26, with an article looking at the government’s ‘Heating and Buildings’ Strategy

We also heard the views of the Paul Groves, editor of Specification and James Parker, editor of Architects DataFile.

Our Head of Sustainability, Martin Fahey, who attended COP26 says he felt invigorated by the event as you can read here.

And finally, editor of Housing Management and Maintenance, Patrick Mooney had an informative, post-COP26 article titled: “We’ve heard the message, now where’s the delivery plan?”

The environment

The environment has always featured high on our list of priorities here on The Hub and this year we saw several articles looking at the relationship between commerce and climate change, perhaps personified by this article from Jim McClelland looking at global finance and sustainability

Former editor of CIBSE Journal and Modern Building Service, Karen Fletcher set the tone at the start of the year looking at the things construction needed to focus on.

And Erlin Binns focused on what is happening in Scotland as it plans ahead for a zero carbon future.

Jack Bains from our Sustainability Team looked at the key trends throughout the year

And the latest post from economist Jim McClelland reviews the past year

Wellbeing and mental health

The past two years have put a strain on everyone and this article focused on how recognising burnout is the first step towards wellbeing.

The UK construction industry remains predominantly male which may be one of the reasons why mental health issues have been on the rise over the past few years. This is why we also focus on wellbeing on The Hub and why we would recommend re-reading this piece by Ellina Webb on using the Christmas break to restore your own wellbeing.

This piece by Chris Jones, the editor of PHAM News is also worth re-reading as it sends out an important message that you don’t need to suffer in silence – It really is OK, not to be OK.

And although construction is male-dominated, everyone knows a mother, aunty, sister or colleague who may also be suffering in silence, which is why we have tried to raise the important issue of the menopause.

Air quality

The pandemic has rightly placed a focus on air quality and we’ve had several articles on the Hub this year on all aspects, including this one from Nathan Wood, Chair of BESA Health and Wellbeing in Buildings Group, on whether air quality is the new wealth gap

Rachel Lekman focused on the blight of hay fever and asthma suffers during the different pollen seasons and looks at how technology can help

Phil Ord wrote about making our buildings safe havens and Mel Threader focused on a new bolt-on technology that can help filter out viruses and pollutants from the indoor air

Whereas our ventilation expert, Hern Yau looked at when building owners should consider better ventilation and the options available.

Technology

As technology develops and HVAC equipment becomes even more efficient and low carbon, we have taken it upon ourselves to also look at the ‘real’ carbon cost of equipment with this piece from Jack Bain looking at embedded carbon

Kirsty Hammond, editor of Specification Review looked at trials of hydrogen heating on Orkney that show it can work, but also asks the question that if and when we get ‘green hydrogen’ aren’t there better uses for it?

Reaching 600,000 heat pumps a year is going to take more than just individual monoblocs so the news that a new heat pump is available for high-rise apartments brings hope that this number can be reached as this piece from the editor of Architects DataFile, James Parker shows.

Channel Marketing Manager, Sharon Oliver’s piece on air conditioning for garden rooms not only highlighted the trend for home offices but also focuses on the fact that it can make garden rooms habitable all year round, with comfortable cooling and heating when needed.

And we also looked at the increasing importance of regular service and maintenance to help keep buildings efficient and safe for all, in this piece by Brian Beetson.

Finally, editor of Refurb Projects, Carole Titmuss looked at how the installation of modern chillers has helped provide rapid relief for a Reading hospital.

We hope that you find something valuable and look forward to delivering more thought-provoking pieces on The Hub next year.

In the meantime, stay safe and well, and have a rewarding and relaxing festive period.

Russell Jones is content and communications manager