Review of the top building industry stories of 2016

  • 3 Jan 2017

howardchapmanHoward Chapman, Buildingtalk Editor.

In a year dominated by Brexit, we look back at what else was making industry news in 2016 and review the best stories on Buildingtalk during the year.

Thanks to all who have contributed articles, blogs, case studies and product stories.

In our review we include stories from hot topics like ‘healthy buildings’ and ‘housing’, plus some of the the best project stories.  We highlight the best images, top videos and  great Guest Blogs plus my final choice of 10 favourite stories.

We begin with a look at how we promoted industry these stories via Buildingtalk e-Newsletters and social media.

Buildingtalk Newsletter

Our twice weekly Buildingtalk news is now received by over 38,000 building industry subscribers, mainly architects, engineers, specifiers and other industry professionals.

In 2016 we emailed around 3 million newsletters.

bt-brexitThe top performing Buildingtalk newsletter in 2016 – the most read and with the most click through to stories on the website – was back in June after the Brexit vote.

Brexit impact on construction, smart glass + what’s new in building envelope design

You can subscribe for free here to Buildingtalk newsletters.

Buildingtalk on Social Media


The construction industry is very active on Twitter. It’s an easy and sometimes entertaining way to get the latest industry news and views.

Buildingtalk now has over 6,700 followers on Twitter. We added 780 Tweets featuring Buildingtalk stories during the year and plan to be more active in retweeting in 2017 as we find amusing and useful news via social media.

Top 3 Buildingtalk Tweets

Here are the 3 top performing Tweets on Buildingtalk during 2016. Why not take a look and retweet them too.

1] £30 billion to build more homes for rent would help solve record poverty

2] How Laing O’Rourke plan to overcome the UK skills gap

3] Finalists in The Art of Building 2016 architectural photo competition

fullscreen-capture-03012017-093501….and one of the most bizarre Tweets on Buildingtalk in 2016 was about Pokémon proof bollards launched to help reduce town centre injuries.

We had over 800 new industry followers during 2016. Why not join these today.

You can follow us via this @Buildingtalk link.


LinkedIn has been a great way to reach influencers in the industry and get involved in discussions on hot topics. There are over 1,230 construction industry professionals linked to Buildingtalk via LinkedIn. We have added details of over 130 Buildingtalk news stories for them during 2017.

Top 3 articles on LinkedIn

For example, the top 3 performing articles below had over 1,680 views and 229 likes between them plus some interesting feedback too.

1] Post-Brexit boost, Garden Bridge blues, Seaside Tsar + more building news

2] Will the boom in mobility scooters mean more fatal fires in buildings?

3] Modular build – from factory floor to 3 storeys in 2 weeks’

We plan to become more involved in discussions via the top industry groups on LinkedIn in 2017. For example, we are already part of the UK Construction Network on LinkedIn that has more than 18,000 members.

Hot topics: Healthy buildings

One of the themes of the year has been a focus on ‘healthy buildings’ and the health of workers in the industry. We looked at a range of health issues including:

bt-health-aortightnessAirtightness in homes: Following on from a BEAMA report that future building regulations to reduce carbon emissions should be accompanied by government regulation to ensure effective MVHR (mechanical heat recovery and ventilation) systems helped reduce the human health impact of airtightness levels in homes.

Why MVHR solutions are key to indoor air quality and health

Smart design and adapted homes: People today are living much longer than ever before, and as they get older they face the unenviable choice to either stay at home or move into care. We look at the Smart Design adaptations that people are choosing to help them live longer and happier lives at home.

Smart Design home adaptations helping us live longer at home

Building design can boost health and productivity: How WELL building design and new standards can improve the health and welfare of people to significantly increase productivity and profitability in the workplace.

BREEAM & WELL building standards

Workplace action to combat mental health issues: We looked at the growing awareness of the problems of mental health in the industry brought into focus by the alarming numbers of suicides in the construction industry. We looked at what can be done in the workplace to combat mental health issues

10% of suicides in construction industry

Hot Topics: Housing

One of the major concerns during 2016 was the growing housing crisis in the UK. Here are just a few of the stories that addressed the issues and also offered potential solutions.

£30 billion to build more homes for rent would help solve record poverty

China to build affordable modular homes in UK

Tesco to build homes – every little helps!

Will YMCA Y:Cube affordable homes transform UK housing?

UK top developers build fewer homes to make bigger profits

Best Project Stories

Tottenham Hotspur FC: One of my favourite project stories in 2016 followed a visit I made to meet Jamie Cassidy from Tottenham Hotspur FC to look at the construction of the new Tottenham football stadium. It will be one of the finest anywhere in the world for spectators, visitors and the wider community. As a multi purpose venue the stadium will be used 365 days a year it will also be at heart of the regeneration of this part of north London.

New Spurs football stadium at heart of north London regeneration

bt-sky-pool-squareSky Pool at Battersea: One of the most visually spectacular projects of the year was a transparent acrylic ‘Sky Pool’ suspended 35m high between two buildings in Battersea just a couple of miles from my home in London.

World’s first Sky Pool pushes the boundaries of architecture


Best images of the year

bt-westminster-podOne of my favourite sets of images were of the temporary floating Parliament structure designed by Gesler as their solution to housing MP’s while the Palace of Westminster is restored. Besides providing a new iconic building for London, the £180m pod would save the tax payer £1.8m on the renovation costs.

New floating Parliament on the river Thames

And do take a look at the finalists of The Art of Building 2016 architectural photography competition organised by CIOB. There is still time to make your choice of the best.

The Art of Building 2016 architectural photo competition

Best ‘Video of the Week’

Videos are an effective way to promote new products and projects. Each week we feature a ‘Video of the Week’. Below are 3 examples chosen from the dozens we have featured and promoted this year. If you have a video that is interesting and useful, do send me a link and some details via [email protected]

1] Abloy secures ‘Pod Works’ telephone box offices

2] Creating transparent architecture with Schueco panoramic sliding systems

3] Schöck on how thermally efficient balcony retrofit has become a reality

Best Guest Blogs

We have many interesting and useful Guest Blogs during the year. It is an opportunity to hear from industry experts on key topics or concerns. If you have a passion for a particular aspect of building, do be in touch for details on how you can contribute a Guest Blog.

bt-floodsBelow are 3 great examples from 2016.

1] ‘1 in 100 a year’ risk means catastrophic floods every year

2] Putting mobile connectivity at the heart of new developments

3] Women looking for a rewarding career should consider construction

Top stories: 10 best on Building in 2016

bt-3d-bridgeAnd finally, here is my choice of the 10 top stories from 2016 on Buildingtalk.

1] Robots to 3-D print a steel bridge in Amsterdam

2] Augmented reality will change how we design, build and manage

3] Death ray buildings at Advanced Building Skins event

4] Women in construction: changing perceptions

5] How the Great Fire of London created new Building Regulations

6] How urban greening will become vital to future health of our cities

7] £3.5bn in fire damage costs: are fire regulations fit for purpose?

8] Sustainable property management: how do we improve existing buildings?

9] Fighting fuel poverty: What the private sector can learn from social housing

10] Flooding without action is a serious political risk


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