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PassivHaus Intercrit

Location: The Crit Space, Marlowe Building, University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7NR

Convenor: Dr. Henrik Schoenefeldt

Crit Panel: Philip Proffit (Princedale), Patrick Osborne (LeeEvans Partnership), Tanisha Raffiuddin (Passivhaus Trust), Doug Smith(TP Bennett), Bertie Dixon (MaxFordham), Giacomo Chiarani (Kent), Soha Hirbod (Nottingham)


On 22 January 2014, when the research project ‘Interrogating the technical, economic and cultural challenges of delivering the PassivHaus standard in the UK’ had reached its midpoint, an  intercrit was held to review the current research findings. The review comprised of thirteen presentations, each focusing on one of the case studies. These were reviewed by a  panel of academics, doctoral students and practitioners from MaxFordham, LeeEvans partnership and TP Bennett.  The presentations were divided into three panels, each focused on three main themes: 1. Retrofit – between EnerPhit and PassivHaus, 2. Applying the Passivhaus Standard to UK educational building, 3. PassivHaus as a standard for Housing. A series of lively panel discussions and debrief at the end of the day, revealed some of the overarching themes in the research. While the research over the past six months has focused largely on individual case studies, the review sessions enabled the research team to identify and further explore some of the commons strands. These case studies have highlighted that the delivery of PassivHaus projects was highly dependent on:

1)      a higher degree of collaboration between architects, consultants, clients and contractors. In some cases this lead to the formation of new typology of practice, which unifies the role of the contractor and architect.

2)      education and skill development, including pre-construction training programmes for contractors, is essential to the effectiveness of the Passivhaus projects. In a few of projects, where this aspect had been neglected, problems with quality control were encountered, leading to delays and additional costs. Education of users, not only the original owner-occupier, but when the property is sold on. Architects have to gain a lot of new knowledge.

3)      Knowledge exchange between architects, manufacturers and contractors, between the UK and continental European firms who have already accumulated much of experience with the delivery PassivHaus projects. Most of the projects involved collaborating with partners in Belgium, Austria and Germany. Moreover, the architects who got involved in the PassivHaus project for the first time relied heavily on consultants, assistance of PassivHaus manufacturers and/or on conducting their own research. In some cases architects also engaged in R&D.

”The inter crit gave me the opportunity to discuss the themes I had discovered during my wider research of Passivhaus with industry professionals. This discussion produced a vast amount of feedback and has sparked new channels and interesting areas of debate in my dissertation.”   

Jess Ringrose (MArch Stage 5)

‘The Passivhaus Crit was extremely successful and the guidance attained for our case studies very useful. It is important to trial our arguments and findings with a range of people in associated industries, and the crit gave us this opportunity. Not only was advice offered for our own personal discussions; but much wider and equally relevant topics were opened up as well, broadening both the students and the industry professionals knowledge as well.’

Rosie Seaman (MArch Stage 5)

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