I have been a qualified chartered architect for over 30 years, and in that time I have designed and overseen the construction of countless projects. In the main, these have been commercially based schemes, ranging from individual or complex apartment blocks, town-centre schemes, offices and schools through to industrial complexes and airports. Through that experience, I have been involved in detailed work to develop the best

solutions for the client and to ensure that the answers provided are regulation-compliant and best value for money. I have always been interested in the balance between good design and functional

excellence. The skills the designer needs to conceive the best solution are considerable – however, in this increasingly complex world, we also need to be able to convince the client and the construction team that the design is valid, practical, good value, and therefore viable. However, the result of this process often involves a compromise as a result of the

many debates and pressures that affect the construction industry today. These may sometimes play out positively, but often negatively, and we all are the poorer for it. I have always considered the technical and practical aspects of the profession to be

the most challenging. ‘Form follows function’ has been the mantra of many an architect, and is as valid today as ever. Throughout the whole of my career, I have been concerned over the use or misuse of

materials and the squandering of energy. In the early part of the twenty-first century, we seem to have returned to the same issues that I started out with in the 1970s, when Schumacher, Brenda and Robert Vale, Alex Pike and others were making the case for more rational use of resources. We are now revisiting many of these principles under the heading of sustainability and – possibly humanity’s single greatest challenge – taming the use and proliferation of carbon (and related gases) and its effects on our planet’s climate. I hope, through this discussion of some of the aspects of whole life values, to develop

this debate into a more considered and applied approach that will deliver some tangible and meaningful results.