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Future looks green for British construction

1 February 2013

Cardiff University's School of Engineering has developed a unique web platform set to boost the profile of sustainable building solutions across the UK.

The Sustainable Construction Information Portal (SCRIPT) website will promote better practice and zero carbon emissions industry-wide in what is thought to be the first portal of its kind in Britain.

The site provides a 'one stop shop' for those working in the built environment sector required to stay in touch with ever-changing legislation and general good practice guidelines, by searching and linking to a wide range of sources and websites.

In turn, it will also aid the creation of more 'green' jobs as businesses realise the specific skillsets required to fulfil the requirements of the legislation and guidelines set out by SCRIPT.

SCRIPT allows construction industry professionals to search thousands of useful and relevant documents and guidance notes available on the internet via a single source after the Welsh Government's European Funded Academic Expertise for Business (A4B) programme contributed £400,000 to its development.

Visiting professor, Jeff Perren OBE, worked with Cardiff School of Engineering, BRE Wales (Building Research Establishment) and CEW (Constructing Excellence in Wales) to create the portal.

He said: "The target was to really help Welsh businesses get ahead of the game in the UK as a whole now that low carbon emissions and energy efficiency are such a critical factor for any development project.

"The construction sector is made up of a large number of firms, sub-sectors and organisations offering guidance on rules and regulations – the SCRIPT Portal can help training providers, businesses, architects, manufacturers and others to source, share and collate information specifically relevant to their needs via one site."

A Welsh Government spokesperson said:" Construction is a key sector of the Welsh economy with high growth potential and Welsh Government support for this project will help professionals across the sector access the latest information, legislation and guidance they need, particularly in relation to sustainable development and zero carbon emissions."

The innovative strength of SCRIPT lies in the way its search function can harvest trusted information from the websites and documents of other organisations within the industry.

Developers at Cardiff University used the A4B funding to exploit semantic web (Web 2.0) technology in a way that enables users to configure a homepage specific to their needs by adding or deleting 'widgets' – packages of information - reflecting particular categories or information areas specifically relevant to them.

Now the development of mobile phone apps is set to follow, with a model for the Android range of mobiles already in the testing phase, and plans to roll the idea out to other industry sectors.

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