Thousands of tonnes of CO2 driven out of schemes
Technical director, Eight Associates
Chris Hocknell’s training and employment as a quantity surveyor ensure he is focused on the tangible benefits of the passion that has become his profession – he has moved decisively into sustainability consultancy with specialist Eight Associates.
He has reached the position where his advice is being applied on a wider stage at a strategic level. His nominators at Eight Associates, managing directors Stacey Cougill and Emma Mills, say: ‘His persistent attention to detail and innovative problem-solving have seen thousands of tonnes of CO2 driven out of schemes. His pragmatic problem-solving means he quickly becomes an integral and trusted member of the design team.’
Hocknell’s robust evidence on carbon as an expert witness at The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s ‘super basement’ planning appeal laid the foundation for subsequent policy decisions. And his work for an international premium retail brand on designing and rolling out a tailored assessment should affect retail sustainability across Europe. Not only that, but his nominees explain that his work will optimise cost benefits (estimated at between 20-30%), demonstrate corporate social responsibility leadership among peers, reduce assessment and consultancy costs and create economies of scale.
This shows how Hocknell also considers the wider health of both businesses he works for and the wellbeing of those who will use buildings he has been involved in. His work on airtightness, including on site supervision, has pushed the envelope on a retrofit of a 1960s council beyond what is normally considered achievable to 2.763/hr.m2@50PA.
Andrew Davidson, partner at PDP London Architects, which collaborates with Hocknell, says: ‘Chris is exceptional. I don’t know any other person at this stage in their career who has such an authentic passion for their area of expertise, fearless commitment to pushing forward the boundaries of ‘accepted wisdom’ and a relentless work ethic.’
What would you most like to improve about the industry?
Sustainability is often a late consideration. It is not surprising that such a short term focus sees sustainability potential unrealised and sensible proposals ruled out due to risk-aversion.
We need to position sustainability as central, by rationally demonstrating the tangible benefits. If sustainability choices become the ‘least effort’ for people, and solve their problems, we can demonstrate – and educate – that it is not as difficult as it may seem. If we can create a long-term, deep-rooted shift in the outlook of built environment professionals, we’ll move away from conservation as a transactional arrangement, and begin speaking a shared language.
Who would you most like to work with?
The stark division between the built environment and natural environment needs to be broken down to the point that human systems mimic natural ones, and the distinction between the two becomes negligible. Work to do this needs to be rational, replicable and ambitious. For me, Tim Smit understands this concept, and has the ambition and strategic mindset to achieve these goals.