Draft Infrastructure Investment Plan – 2021-22 to 2025-26

  • 26 Oct at 7:05 pm#7231
    BEFS
    Keymaster

    The Draft Infrastructure Investment Plan sets out a vision for Scotland’s future infrastructure – to support and enable an inclusive net zero emissions economy. The plan focusses on adopting and building on the recommendations of the Infrastructure Commission for Scotland’s Phase 1 report.

    The consultation seeks views on ways to implement the Commission’s recommendations in the following areas:

    • The inclusion of natural infrastructure
    • How we prioritise – the common investment hierarchy approach
    • How we best assess the impact of proposed infrastructure
    • How we might best assess the carbon impact of future Plans

    Full details and the consultation document can be found here.

    The consultation closes on 19 November 2020.

    2 Nov at 10:10 am#7271
    BEFS
    Keymaster

    The below is BEFS Draft response – for comment, by Monday 16th November.

    Built Environment Forum Scotland (BEFS) is an umbrella body for organisations working in the built environment in Scotland. Drawing on extensive expertise in a membership-led forum, BEFS informs, debates and advocates on the strategic issues, opportunities and challenges facing Scotland’s historic and contemporary built environment. BEFS is a member of the Climate Heritage Network steering group.

    BEFS is supportive of the Draft Infrastructure Investment Plan for Scotland, particularly the inclusion of existing homes within the definition of infrastructure; the support for resilient and sustainable places, and the acceptance of the recommendations previously made by the Infrastructure Commission for Scotland.

    Many mentions are made to the ‘doubling [of] investment in maintenance over the next 5 years’. This investment appears to be focused on transport infrastructure – all aspects which may well require maintenance – but which do not perhaps benefit the breadth of society in the way a programme of incentivised, nationwide, home maintenance would be able to. A programme which would support skilled, local jobs, improve spend in local economies, and support local supply chains. With outcomes benefitting public health, carbon savings, and the very real potential for personal reduction in outgoings; all in addition to improving homes across Scotland at a time when we are using them most. A programme defining and supporting a wellbeing economy.

    Maintenance of this kind would also be essential to the best outcomes being sought by the Infrastructure Investment Hierarchy – a hierarchy which BEFS strongly supports. Prioritising enhancing and maintaining our existing assets is at the core of much work within the built environment and heritage. The work with public sector bodies to develop asset management plans is also strongly supported.

    However, it is paramount that phrasing such as that on page 8 – “something new might only be built if there is still a demonstrable service need for a facility, and an existing asset can’t be repurposed” – remains true to its ideal. “Can’t be repurposed” is very different from, is seen as – too awkward, time consuming, expensive, or fragile – to repurpose. This repurposing also needs to take into account the embodied energy within existing structures and factor that accordingly into carbon calculations.

    Consulting on carbon impact of future investment plans is mentioned. This could usefully include embodied carbon.

    Work towards emissions reduction is also positive and noted, but needs to run alongside behaviour-change education and incentivisation. Buildings also need to be well maintained and wind/water-tight to best assess what interventions will produce the best carbon savings.

    Place : within a place based approach housing delivery is duly mentioned, in line with reusing our assets the 1000s of empty homes in each area could be taken into account. Enabling reuse of existing assets, often within connected places with amenities.

    BEFS strongly supports the addition of ‘natural’ to the definitions and descriptions of infrastructure.

    BEFS queries the readiness of the pipeline through education into employment which will enable the take-up of the jobs intended to be supported through the capital investment programme.

    The proposed amendments are consistent with the implementation of the Place Principle as adopted by Scottish Government.

    CONSULTATION QUESTIONS: p32
    https://consult.gov.scot/infrastructure-and-investment-division/draft-infrastructure-investment-plan/

    1a) YES
    1b) YES

    2a) YES
    2b) Additional measures to ensure embodied energy and whole-life carbon costs need to be included.
    Also, it needs to be clear that an existing asset can only be replaced/demolished when it CANNOT be repurposed, not when it is merely too fragile/difficult/time-consuming or seemingly expensive – to replace.

    3a) A dashboard of indicators appears sensible. Especially if whole lifecycle costs, maintenance and associated jobs related to that; as well as the expected life of the asset are taken into account.
    3b) – no answer
    3c) BEFS on behalf of the Built Heritage Group OPiT has worked on the draft development of a Strategic Investment Toolkit which is relevant in this discussion: https://www.befs.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Draft-SIT-Complete-Pack.pdf

    4a) YES
    4b) Add in whole life costs and embodied carbon calculations

    5a/b/c – no answer

    BEFS responses to a number of Consultations in relation to the Built Environment can be found at: https://www.befs.org.uk/resources/consultations/

    4 Nov at 8:43 pm#7273
    Calum Maclean
    Participant

    My own observations will be noted in a separate post, but before I go into them I would like to address some points in the draft response above, which I do not agree with.

    Para 3

    “Many mentions are made to the ‘doubling [of] investment in maintenance over the next 5 years’. This investment appears to be focused on transport infrastructure – all aspects which may well require maintenance – but which do not perhaps benefit the breadth of society in the way a programme of incentivised, nationwide, home maintenance would be able to.”

    I don’t think this is a fair assessment – there are significant funds being direct towards housing and existing built assets. At least £2 billion as far as I can see.

    Response to Question 3C

    I don’t agree to including the reference to the prioritisation toolkit. The toolkits aims and objectives are to prioritise the funding of significant interventions and development of historic assets; over the less transformational and mundane requirements for maintenance and repair of historic assets.
    It is not complete and does not align well with the aims and objectives of the infrastructure plan.

    4 Nov at 8:49 pm#7275
    Calum Maclean
    Participant

    The following are my observations to the Scot Gov consultation document…
    ——————————————

    While funding is welcome, I am concerned about the delivery of the programme,

    Working with existing built environment assets requires a different approach to that of developing major new build projects.
    The expenditure of almost £2 billion pounds on built environment in 5 years as outlined on Page 7 requires careful planning and management. Particularly where the priority will be given to existing buildings.

    The current mechanisms for delivery of heritage projects introduce significant delays. Initial project evaluation, design development, funding approval, planning and building warrant approval, tendering can take up to 5 years, before work can even begin on site. This will place a strain on the sector, with minimal work before year five, followed by an enormous pressure to spend in year five. Previous experience shows that work will be diverted to professionals and contractors with inadequate experience in heritage, resulting in inferior outcomes and acting as a disincentive to invest in training.

    A system for managing the delivery of the investment needs to be developed in conjunction with the heritage sector to ensure that the outcomes can be delivered in practice and to avoid a significant underspend.

    We note there will be a need for mapping, auditing and monitoring the condition of built environment assets as set out on page 13 at point number 3 and 23. This is a very important step in order to evaluate the outcomes and success of expenditure.

    This will again require careful management considering the specialist skills needed to inspect and report on historic properties.

    The importance of this point is further emphasised by the comments on climate change on page 15. Increasing rainfall will have a dramatic impact on the roof drainage of many historic buildings, which will not be able to cope. Failure of the rainwater goods will lead to water ingress and extensive damage to traditional buildings without intervention.

    Inclusive growth/area based growth will require the mapping of resources and skills to direct investment in relevant sectors at a local level across Scotland, with discouragement of centralised approach to project delivery as outlined in page 24.

    Question 3b – Indicators

    There is a need to map and monitor resources and skills available locally in order to direct investment toward development of resources, particularly in rural areas. This will reduce centralisation. Centralisation of services causes rural depopulation resulting in housing pressures in the cities, results in increased road travel and carbon emissions for delivery of services and reduces the resilience of rural communities.

    Question 3c – Assessment tools

    The RIAS has developed a methodology of “Quinquennial Reporting” of historic assets that provides monitoring of the condition existing buildings on a five year cycle. This is robust and well tested. It should be expanded and developed to provide a national digital database of built environment assets. This will enable resource needs to be identified and interrogated at nation, regional and local levels.

    There are teams developing and integrated digital quinquennial reporting framework but a lack of funding is delaying progress.

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