Learning the fabric of zero carbon building

A series of case studies on individuals who trained with us during our fabric and structure programme


Click to expand the case study below

Alistair Cameron

Regional Director, ECD Architects


Alistair is regional director of ECD Architects, so he knows good design. ECD Architects are an award-winning UK architectural practice with a regional office based in Glasgow, who focus on the design of low energy, low environmental impact buildings. Alistair joined us on our Fabric first practical module, interested in quality control, learning more about the practicalities of airtightness, and how to check quality of workmanship when he is working on site. He is currently working on delivery of the £6.5m programme of new build housing for Scottish Borders Housing Association, along with a £4m extension to the Advanced Forming Research Centre for the University of Strathclyde.

Alistair wanted to see practical installation of airtightness measures and the common faults encountered on site. On the training day, Alistair managed to get this experience, seeing first-hand some of the challenges that arise when building fabric first, specifically around insulation and airtightness.


“I learned the difficulties of airtightness installation and the differences between insulation installation” - Alistair Cameron, ECD


From the training, he is better equipped to check the workmanship he sees when working on site, along with a better knowledge of the specifications on insulation and airtightness measures. Much like many of the trainees at Fabric & Structure courses, Alistair is going to take his knowledge to impact large-scale construction projects in Scotland.

Lisa Playfair

Site Manager, Kier Construction


Going as far back as 1928, Kier Construction are a long-standing name in the built environment, first starting out as concrete engineers. That hasn’t stopped them innovating and leading in sustainable practices by exploring materials such as mass timber.

Lisa Playfair is a Site Manager for Kier Construction who took our mass timber practical module in our Innovation Factory. Lisa has an up-and-coming project that will utilise CLT as part of a mass timber Passivhaus swimming pool construction, which will be among the first ever in the UK.

In order to have a greater understanding of CLT in preparation for her upcoming project, Lisa joined the mass timber practical module.


“I wanted to gain a better understanding of CLT to truly understand how it will then be used onsite.” - Lisa Playfair, Kier


Her training consisted of an onsite practical session which involved various areas around the factory: looking at CLT in a constructed sample house, the fixing of panels together, pull out tests, cutting materials and manufacturing a CLT panel.


“All of the training provided a good core understanding of CLT." - Lisa Playfair, Kier


Lisa will be applying what she’s learning to a real construction project – one that is ground-breaking for the UK built environment. Kier hopes to continue to improve quality control onsite through upskilling of staff, ensuring operatives have an understanding of mass timber products.

When asked about any issues on the day, Lisa said that there were none, stating that she thought the training was very informative.

Cameron Bell

Head of Construction Technology, Trades, Motor Vehicle and Horticulture

Ayrshire College


Lecturers from Ayrshire College Construction Technology and Carpentry & Joinery curriculum areas took part in a Low Carbon learning: Fabric and structure training session with us at out Innovation Centre in June.

The leads on the Fabric and Structure programme, Kaye Keenan and Caitriona Jordan, both have worked on a 'train the trainer' programme in the past, specifically on modern methods of construction. Both wanted to continue to take advantage of the knock-on effect that training the trainer has within Low Carbon Learning: Fabric and Structure, and have educators learn about fabric first themselves so that they can teach the wider workforce. Educators are extremely keen to learn more and expand their knowledge, as well as being in a powerful position to share it. Cameron Bell is the Head of Construction Technology, Trades, Motor Vehicle and Horticulture, Ayrshire College and brought over a dozen lecturers from Ayrshire College to train with us in Passivhaus and retrofit.


"Excellent training and hospitality. Very positive feedback from all attending." - Cameron Bell, Ayrshire College


This Passivhaus and retrofit practical session covered the principles of adopting a fabric first approach to retrofit focusing on solid and cavity wall. This session allowed the lecturers to put the theory into practice, working on our training rigs, applying VCL (vapour control layers) tapes/grommets and insulation, which will give them a better understanding when they come to teaching students about Passivhaus, retrofit and sustainable building practices in the College.

A single training day like this could go onto affect many more people's knowledge and ability to build fabric first.