Category: Project

14 Aug 2023



By Rana Rehman, Senior Project Manager at 3PM


Cost of materials, supply chain challenges, complicated design, lack of data, a lengthy planning process and heritage constraints are just some of the reasons given for favouring new construction projects over retrofitting ones.

The list of problems is long but the main thing holding us back from #Net Zero trumps all others – mindset. And that matters.

Data is a good example. At a recent event I listened to a discussion whereby those partaking were bemoaning the lack of data that means they cannot benchmark or use existing data to showcase what can be done, or that the information designers have today is already two years old and therefore not live – because live information most often only comes in once the development is post construction, in RIBA stages 4-6. This raised the question of when the live information should be tied to the project – at what point on its timeline is best?

There’s an easy answer to this. RIBA Stage 1. The earlier the focus on net zero with any project the better, but especially when retrofitting. The building is already largely built – we are already working backwards so the earlier we factor in ESG the better.

We, as stakeholders in the future of our built environment, all must agree to plug the massive knowledge gaps across the industry, not accept them. And this requires a change of mindset from day one.

If sustainability focussed PMs and designers are brought in at concept stage there is simply no reason not to retrofit and reach net zero. It can still be done later, it’s just harder.

The experts start with embodied carbon, looking at passive principles, the circular economy – yes steel can be recycled, stored and reused – and biobased materials. Operational carbon also should be factored in early to predict and control live data. This stage includes designing and planning in the maximisation of efficiency and reduction in energy, the practice of energy harvesting and use of renewables. Finally, we move towards energy storage and, as an absolutely last resort, offsetting which together take us to net zero and eventually the panacea of absolute zero.

At 3PM, we work with our own mindset route map which factors in these various stages to win over the 100s of reasons why a retrofit to net zero can’t be done, focussing instead on how to cut through and deliver the lowest carbon intervention. This can be applied to every building, no matter how heritage – to restore, retrofit and future proof.

This has seen us through the decarbonisation and degassing of some of the most heritage and oldest Universities in the UK so there’s absolutely no reason it can’t be applied to a post war office buildings.

After all, if a building has lasted hundreds of years, why shouldn’t we commit to giving it a new lease of life?


22 Jul 2021

NetZero Week: 1 Regent Street

rfu olympics post-4

NetZero Week: 1 Regent Street

by Sam Maddin

As part of NetZero Week, 3PM are publishing a series of microblogs highlighting what we are doing to help stop climate change.

1 Regent Street

1 Regent Street is currently being delivered by 3PM on behalf of The University of Cambridge and The Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. It will set the standard for low carbon retrofits to ensure net zero targets are achieved within the built environment.

The building sits within a conservation area in central Cambridge and will achieve BREEAM Outstanding, WELL Gold and EnerPHit (Passivhaus) certification, all whilst being delivered against a ‘typical investment model’ as 3PM continues to prove that sustainable buildings don’t cost more!

Read more in our project case study.


19 Jul 2021

NetZero Week: UEA The Enterprise Centre

north wing from courtyard

NetZero Week: UEA The Enterprise Centre

by Patrick Watson

As part of NetZero Week, 3PM are publishing a series of microblogs highlighting what we are doing to help stop climate change.

University of East Anglia – The Enterprise Centre

Delivered by the 3PM team, with over 35 awards including BCO “Best of the best” demonstrating a track record in both innovation & sustainable delivery. The building has completed an intensive 4-year post PC monitoring, consistently achieving DEC A rating and a significant drop in maintenance visits, demonstrably best in class, low carbon delivery in action.

Read more in our project case study.

28 Feb 2018

University of East Anglia Case Study

University of East Anglia Case Study

by 3PM

3PM recently collaborated with Resolex, Richard Bayfield & John French at the University of East Anglia to produce the attached Case Study.  This shows our innovative approach to the management of risk & gives demonstrable evidence of the techniques success.

“Research from the University of East Anglia shows how earlier identification of risks can save time and money on projects…”


Click to the links below to read the full articles.

06 Nov 2017

At the Top in Cambridge

At the top in Cambridge

by Chris Garner

3PM have recently celebrate the Topping Out of the Chemistry of Health facility for the University of Cambridge.

Supplementing the world leading research and academia undertaken within the Department of Chemistry, this 2,640m² specialist facility will enable expansion of the existing office and lab provision.

The building will house the Centre for Protein Misfolding Diseases, as well as being a core base for the ‘Chemistry of Health incubator’ comprising research scientists from industrial partners and start-ups occupying laboratory and desk space alongside academics.

Navigating the site constraints of a live environment in the early project stages included the relocation of critical liquid nitrogen facilities and the management of electrical transformer replacement works, alongside the complexity of constructing on a heavily restricted site within the busy inner-City locale.

The team have successfully managed these issues by way of a significant consultation process, careful planning and utilising the strong relationships within the Project Team.

In short, a job well done by all.

Want to learn more about the project