A to Z of Best Practice Low Energy Building – C




We kicked off C with our Director and chief Architect Adrian James’s thoughts on Concrete last week, today we are adding CIOB – Chartered Institute of Building.

We are especially excited about including ‘CIOB’ in the A to Z because their new President Rebecca Thompson will be a guest contributor – look out for her piece on Diversity coming soon!

As ever our A to Z is applicable to all house building / is not only specific to Kiss House so is a useful resource for all self-builders / custom-builders alike.  Don’t forget to Sign up for our news and occasional updates so you don’t miss out on any A to Z instalments!


The Kiss House Team



The Chartered Institute of Building (UK) was established in 1834 and is now the world’s largest and most influential professional body for construction management and leadership.  The CIOB has a Royal Charter to promote the science and practice of building and construction for the benefit of society.

CIOB members work worldwide in the development, conservation and improvement of the built environment.  The institute accredits university degrees, educational courses and training and it’s professional and vocational qualifications are recognised worldwide as a mark of the highest levels of competence and professionalism.  Fundamentally membership of the CIOB provides an assurance to clients and others procuring built assets that the individual, company or consultancy they are working with is of the highest order.

There are several levels of CIOB membership each having criteria which must be met to achieve that level of membership – these include both relevant qualifications and workplace experience, and the higher the level the more exacting the criteria.  Company membership operates similarly, the ‘badge of honour’ is essentially a validation that the business is professionally managed and operating to high ethical codes / that core CIOB values are central to the way the organisation operates.

The CIOB works tirelessly to improve professional standards within the construction industry, to highlight issues such as the UK housing crisis and to lead and drive positive change.  Rebecca Thompson took the reigns at the CIOB during the summer this year and is only the second woman to be appointed as CIOB President since 1834 – a fact which illustrates the lack of diversity that remains within the construction industry.  She has committed to use her time to tackle the challenges including the current lack of diversity in the workforce.   Diversity and inclusion will be one of the major themes of Rebecca’s presidency, relating not just to the lack of women in the sector but also the disproportionately low numbers of people with disabilities or those from ethnic minorities.

We are delighted to announce that Rebecca has written a piece on Diversity for our A to Z that will be published soon (do sign up to receive updates).

In the meantime you can find out more about Rebecca here, where you will also find a video interview with her.  In addition you can read more about the CIOB here.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.




Written by Adrian James
Kiss House Founder / Director.  Managing Director Adrian James Architects.  Registered Architect.




Concrete is drab.  Grey, sludgy porridge, formless.  It has no colour, it has no texture, it has no grain.  It has no intrinsic beauty.  And it doesn’t age well: brick and stone improve as they weather and mellow while poor old concrete just stains.

But concrete has something other stuff doesn’t. It has this extraordinary ability to take on form. It can be moulded and modelled, it can span and cantilever; because it can be used both in tension and compression it can do more than any other single material. It can be the floor, the walls, the roof, the deck, the canopy, the column, the frame, the whole of a building.

Kiss House – Adrian James

Sherrington Leisure Quad – Adrian James


It just needs one thing. It needs someone to tell it what to do.  It needs an idea.  And once there is an idea it can express that idea with pure unadulterated clarity.  There is no need for anything to distract or detract from the vision; no other materials, other finishes, or any decoration.  It is that original idea literally made concrete.

So it all comes down to the architect’s idea.  If that sculptural vision is beautiful then concrete may well be the purest, cleanest way to realise the vision.  And then concrete becomes a thing of beauty.

Hill Top House – Adrian James


This is what Brutalism is, and this is why it is bewitching.  It is Thought Made Flesh.  There is a deliberate, brutal negation of any associations; no sense of place in the use of local stone, no superficial prettiness in colour or detail, no make-up.  Raw and absolute honesty in the nothingness of concrete – apart from sculptural form.

Hill Top House – Adrian James


So whether or not a concrete building is beautiful has nothing to do with concrete.  It is all about the quality of the architect’s idea for the building.  If the sculptural vision is a thing of beauty then the building will be a thing of beauty, and all the more beautiful for being expressed, in concrete, so honestly, so purely, so brutally.

For more on concrete visit out Pinterest Concrete board here

Thanks & best wishes 

The Kiss House Team