New London Architecture

Building Better

Improving technical competency in the design and delivery of buildings

In the aftermath of Grenfell, the relationship between architects, project managers and contractors’ roles in the delivery of buildings is under question. In a world increasingly dominated by BIM the full building team need to understand how different elements of their buildings go together and where responsibilities lie.
NLA’s Building Better programme looks in depth at best practice case studies and guidance to support the built environment profession’s focus on improving competency in the technical design and delivery of new buildings for London. Monthly seminars include ‘Projects in Practice’, presenting best practice case studies and the products that define them, and ‘Technical Competency Briefings’ which demystify the latest legislation, regulations, products and technology.
The programme is informed through the NLA Technical Competency Expert Panel which meets regularly to share thought-leadership on improving technical competency in the detailed design and delivery of buildings in London, respond to relevant consultations and advise the NLA on topics and issues for the programme.
‘Projects in Practice’ presents London’s leading projects and the products that define them. The series gets under the skin of the best new projects across all sectors in the capital, revealing the technical aspects of their design, specification and delivery. Each seminar focuses in on a specific sector, from schools and homes to offices and tall buildings, linking in with NLA’s existing programme streams, and features projects presented by the architects, engineers and other team members instrumental in making London’s most successful buildings work. 
Technical Competency Briefings provide essential intelligence on latest legislation, regulations and technology from key experts and practitioners working across policy, procurement, delivery, construction, technical innovation and design. The series supports the improvement of professional competence across the NLA network. Regular briefings provide in-depth and up-to-date information on latest guidance, technology, products and essential expertise


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Expert Panel

Arita Morris, Director, Child Graddon Lewis
Arita’s expertise centres upon housing and mixed-use development, regeneration and masterplanning with a focus on urban developments of all scales.
She combines strong design and technical skills with over 25 years’ worth of experience delivering buildings of exceptional quality on complex urban sites through all stages – from feasibility through to completion. Arita is instrumental in the practice’s research towards the issues of technical approach and planning policy, both in outlining and endorsing best practice. As a result, Arita has been invited to present at several seminars including the GLA’s Planning Forum, and at the Government’s Housing for an Ageing Population.
Alex Cossins, Senior Associate Partner, Axiom Architects     
Alex Cossins is an Architect with over twenty years of professional experience, across a wide range of building types and forms. His passion lies in exploring the technical challenges brought forward by the different constraints found in any project and finding appropriate solutions that deliver benefits to project efficiency, sustainability and aesthetic. His recent work has focused on the fire safety and performance of different external façade construction types and in advising on design solutions to better regulatory requirements.  
Dale Sinclair, Director of Technical Practice, AECOM 
Dale Sinclair is passionate about developing interdisciplinary design processes that leverage modern methods of construction and digital technologies to shift the design process beyond single project thinking. Dale has recently written the RIBA lead designer handbook that redefines the role for the digital age, published in 2019. He has also co-authored the RIBA Plan of Work 2020 and 2013, its supporting guidance publications, the BIM Overlay to the RIBA Outline Plan of Work and a number of design management books. He is currently RIBA’s Ambassador for Collaboration and Technical, the CIC’s BIM champion and regularly speaks on the RIBA Plan of Work, BIM, DfMA, digital innovation and the future of the built environment industry.
Dieter Bentley-Gockmann, Director, EPR Architects   
Dieter is a director at EPR Architects, responsible for overseeing the technical services team and advising on all aspects of technical design, construction best practice, quality and risk management and legal, professional and practice liability issues. Dieter is chair of the RIBA’s Regulations and Standards advisory group and is a member of the RIBA’s Practice and Profession committee. He is currently contributing to work being undertaken by the ARB to review the knowledge criteria for Part I, II and III architecture students with respect to life and fire safety.
John Robertson, Director, John Robertson Architects
John Robertson is the founding director of JRA (John Robertson Architects).  The firm’s work is guided by the principle of contextual civic modernism, developed to explain the importance he places on preserving the historic fabric and character London.  John has a special interest in the technical design of external cladding and the practice was awarded an RIBA National Award in 2019 for the re-cladding of Great Arthur House in the Golden Lane Estate.
Karen Telling, Board Director of Waterman Structures, Waterman Group 
Over the past 25 years, Karen has gained considerable experience in mixed use/regeneration/refurbishment developments of varying sizes. She manages design teams on both small and major multidisciplinary projects. 
Karen is passionate about mentoring the next generation of engineers. She has written the company’s graduate training scheme which has been accredited by the Institute for Civil Engineers. She is a Chartered Civil and Structural Engineer, a Fellow of the Institute of Civil Engineers. Karen is an active member of Revo’s technical affairs committee, which is at the forefront of all technical issues relating to mixed-use and urban regeneration developments. She has produced several technical papers with Revo (flexibility of design, demolish or rebuild, and repurposing of existing assets), and has discussed these topics on industry panels.
Nigel Clark, Technical Director, Hilson Moran
Nigel has been involved in the design and construction of buildings for over 40 years. His early career was in the public sector, designing large scale Educational, Leisure, and Court Buildings. At Hilson Moran, he has been involved in major schemes for both developers and end users, including some of the most iconic tall buildings across the UK. He has also been involved with developing ground breaking engineering concepts for the Stadia to be used for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
He has considerable experience applying advanced software tools to inform the design including the application of low & zero carbon solutions, façade design solutions for optimum comfort, occupant wellbeing and building performance.  He is also an advocate for BIM to revolutionise the way buildings are designed, constructed and operated.  He regularly provides advice on all aspects of the design of buildings in the UK, Europe and the Middle East and is passionate in mentoring young professionals.
Nigel Ostime, Project Delivery Director, Hawkins\Brown 
Nigel has over 25 years’ experience designing and delivering complex projects in a range of sectors. His role as Delivery Director at Hawkins\Brown focusses on optimising quality and consistency and improving productivity, in part through digital technology and modern methods of construction.
He chairs the RIBA Client Liaison Group and sits on the Practice and Profession Committee. He is author of a number of books for RIBA Publishing and lectures in professional practice at several schools of architecture.
Seya Tansill, Senior Associate Technologist and Head of Design for Manufacture, Stride Treglown   
Taking a lead on Design for Manufacture and Sustainability at Stride Treglown, Seya is committed to advancing process efficiency and component-led design. She also acts as a technical champion addressing best practice directives and tackling industry challenges, with particular emphasis on light weight and steel frame fire protection. As a trained passivhaus designer, she collaborates across all sectors, consulting on fabric first and net zero carbon projects.
Nic Crawley, Associate, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
An architect with 20 years all-round and technical experience, currently working within AHMM’s Technical Design group. Recent work has included post-Grenfell fire safety reviews, coordinating various practice and risk related procedures including AHMM’s Project Manual, and associated templates, as well as lessons learnt from projects, all considering diverse aspects of technical competency for a practice of 500+ as well as writing a book on designing/ building with cross laminated timber to be published by RIBA Publishing early 2021.
See all NLA expert Panels

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Prices start from £3,950 + VAT for 12 month support.


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