Supersonic gathering

cabMore than 130 Council for Aluminium in Building (CAB) members and guests recently attended the first CAB regional members’ meeting of 2014 at the Concorde Runway Museum in Manchester.

A CAB mini-conference, with a focus on the opportunities for members in aluminium projects of varying sizes, took place right underneath the iconic plane. Later members had the opportunity to tour the supersonic airliner.

The first speaker, Neesha Gopal, associate director, Meinhardt Facade Technology, spoke avidly about the recent changes to the RIBA plan of work. Recognising the large presence of aluminium fabricators in attendance, she was keen to point out the opportunities that she believed existed for CAB members, especially in projects under £4m. She encouraged members to engage in conversations with companies such as her own at an early stage, even if it was simply a ‘heads up’ about a project in the pipeline.

Mike Hitchmough, divisional director, head of offices for architects 3DReid, then presented some ‘spectacular’ images and an ‘excellent’ commentary on the construction of the award winning Co-operative Group HQ, One Angel Square at NOMA53.

Members were particularly interested to learn about why the practice had specified aluminium over competing materials, the offsite manufacturing techniques used and the onsite assembly. Mike also highlighted how the double skinned facade had acted like a ‘duvet’ on the BREAAM Outstanding building.

Finally, David Pickavance, director, Consortium for the Built Environment, spoke about the advantages of good communication throughout the supply chain and how to improve it in construction projects, highlighting from his sector experience just where things could go wrong. He urged members to embrace the digital communications age but not to forget the importance of face to face contact.

CAB chief executive, Justin Ratcliffe, commented: “We have been delighted by the feedback from members to this event. Not only did Concorde create an awesome backdrop to the CAB mini-conference and dinner but the level of interaction between members and speakers was brilliant. Since the meeting, we have had some excellent feedback from the speakers about follow up engagement during the evening itself and in the days following, in the form of CPD presentations being booked. This epitomises the added value that we endeavour to bring to all our regional events.”

For further information on CAB, its activities and membership please contact Julie Harley on 01453 828851 or email

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