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GBE History (About) G#1538 N#1482

By 9 April 2015January 9th, 2020About, GBE History

GBE History About

GBE > About > History > G#1538 N#1482

GBE History About

Whilst writing the specification for the New British Library Exhibition Hall furniture, Friends of the Earth book Good Wood Guide was published and brought into focus the choice to use an endangered species a richly coloured and interestingly figured Afromosia hardwood, stain it black and coat it with 4 layers of acid catalyst lacquer, so it felt and looked like plastic. BrianSpecMan’s objections were ignored by the Architects, this started the long road to NGS & GBE.

Made proposals to book publishers to write a green specification, no interest yet.


1998: BrianSpecMan organised a CIIG visit to Construction Resources UK’s first green builders merchant to see their showroom, demonstration and exhibition centre and training and meeting rooms, to meet Lucy Pedler a materials specialist and guide for the day. Asked about their product range and if they had specification clauses for them, no they did not but they should write them themselves. Later BrianSpecMan returned to write the specification clauses for them.

1999: Invited by Lucy Pedlar to talk at the Building newspaper’s RIBA Conference Green is the Colour about legislation driving environmental design, at that time there was almost none. Created a chronology of the green movement up to 1999 to educate BrianSpecMan quickly. Coined Violet definition for everything not green.

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1999 April: BrianSpecMan in ASWS specification consultancy made a public declaration of intent to work with designers adopting sustainable approaches to building in the future and to influence others in this area.  He was lucky that many of his existing clients welcomed the opportunity to green up their act, others did not and were left behind.

1999-2014: NGS CPD and NGS Lectures are offered to any organisation for in-house training or other seminars and workshops, in 15 years over 800 seminars on sustainable construction, procurement, specification and professional practice have been developed and most delivered to audiences in the industry, occasionally to the general public and often to students of Architecture, Landscape, Interiors, etc. from BSc Bachelors Degree to MSc Masters level.

2001: Set a process in motion to get a green specification in place describing products with the right environmental credentials and performance characteristics available in or from the UK.

2001: Invited to speak at the AECB annual conference, became a member, joined the steering committee organising visits, events and conference programme. Later organised joint AECB & TGR visits.

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2001 November: NGS National Green Specification was launched by BrianSpecMan, to create a one stop shop encyclopaedia of green construction, to set out to re-educate the construction Industry on all matters about green building and environmental construction.  NGS’s aim is to provide information for designers and specifiers, that is useful to all parties in the construction process from demand to supply, from client to facilities manager, from manufacturter to installer and from deconstructor to reseller.

Invited to join the core committee developing East of England Sustainable Construction Stratergy run by the SDRT Sustainable Development Round Table and GOEast Government Office East of England

Invited to join the steering committe of the DTI PII funded project Book Building with Reclaimed Components and Materials, A Design Handbook for Reuse and Recycling


After attending the first outing of TGR The Green Register SBS Sustainable Building and Services 2 day training course organised by Lucy Pedlar;

BrianSpecMan was invited to become a speaker on the 2nd day optional workshops

BrianSpecMan later joining the TGR Steering Group


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2003: NGS’s first major output is GreenSpec website edited and written by Sandy Patience, which is good at what it does, but its scope is too narrow.

It failed to engage with its users or establish a membership group, failed to deliver the encyclopaedia originallly intended; failed to engage manufacturers and failed to become financially autonomous.

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2004 to 2006: BRE Resource Efficiency department with ASWS & GreenSpec carried out a 2 year DTI PII funded project on Waste and Recycling to develop Waste Management Specifications and recycled content product pages on GreenSpec Website and update BREMAP content; leading to many SWMP workshops and other resource efficiency projects with WRAP, EA, UKCEED, Kier, CE, Envirowise, Responsible Solutions, BioRegional, Salvo, etc.



2007: Sandy proposed MyGreenSpec and specification assembly tool with a Graphic User Interface, with Burdens Environmental financial support, Sandy Patience, BrianSpecMan and Steve Porter went on to create and show at EcoBuild 2008. Renamed GreenSpecSTUDIO in 2011 and disappeared in 2014.


2007: Met Dr Carol Williams of Bat Conservation Trust at EcoBuild which lead to involvement in Q&A panels & seminars at BCT annual conferences. BrianSpecMan promoted the idea of an authoritative book on how to incorporate bats and birds in high performance buildings.

LSBU London South Bank University Logo

2007-2018: Invited to speak at London South Bank University Architecture Part 1 students on Air Movement in Buildings: everything from tornadoes to moisture permeability and airtightness including atria and sunspaces.
This led to 10 years of Visiting Lecturer and occasional design studio technology critiques for Part 1 and Part 2 Architects; culminating in Energy and Resource Efficiency in Design Module where we developed whole house calculators for Embodied and Sequestered Carbon, Energy In use, waste and a whole lot more.

Whole Building, Elements, U Values, Areas, Temperatures differences, Heat loss, Element %, Fuel choice, CO2

Whole Building, Elements, U Values, Areas, Temperatures differences, Heat loss, Element %, Fuel choice, CO2

GBE Whole Building EE + EC + SC Calculator

GBE Whole Building EE + EC + SC Calculator

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2008: NGS BrianSpecMan became a project member of CAP’EM Cycle Assessment Procedure for Eco Materials, 10 organisation in 5 NW European countries with Interreg funding, once complete in 2013/14 it can offer a potential equivalent to BRE’s Environmental Profiles. Later named CAP’EM COMPASS.

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2008: Invited to join a committee objecting to BRE Green Guide to Specifiction edition 4 and the Green Guide website which is effectively preventing the sales of real green construction materials and methods, BrianSpecMan authored the draft critique of the BRE Green Guide issued by Good Homes Alliance to Government Department DCLG. After 4 years this group continues as ASBP.


2009: BrianSpecMan launched a second major output, a collection of CPD and Specification files hosted on scribd which has grown to 300 files which have been opened 262,519 (11/04/2014) times by users.


2009: BrianSpecMan opened accounts in TwitterFaceBook and LinkedIN to start drawing attention to scribd and GreenSpecCAP’EM & later NGS websites.

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2009: RIBA Publishing & Dr Carol Williams invited BrianSpecMan to help create the authoritative book on bats and birds and high performance buildings


2010: ASBP & CAP’EM exhibited and Bat Conservation Trust, RIBA Publishing and BrianSpecMan launched the book ‘Biodiversity for low and Zero Carbon Buildings: A Technical Guide for New Build’ at EcoBuild ’10


2011-2014: Approached by Sofie Pelsmakers to review/contribute to her draft Environmental Design Pocket Book reviewed chapters 4, 5, 7, 8 & 9.
GreenSpec sponsored book which launched at EcoBuild 2012. 
NGS Sponsored 2nd edition published 2014.

GreenSpecDownload > NGS Green Building Encyclopaedia

2012: NGS has set off on a third major output and established a separate NGS website to continue with its original quest:

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2013: Kelly Gunnell, BrianSpecMan, Dr Carol Williams & Dan Ward started updating the Biodiversity book with refurbishment, landscape, infrastructure, 3D drawings, and ran workshops to promote the book once published.



2013 November: NGS BrianSpecMan helped launch CAP’EM Cycle Assessment Procedure for Eco-Impacts of Materials, COMPASS Building product Comparison System a potential equivalent to BRE’s Environmental Profiles.


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June 2013: after 10 years BrianSpecMan departed GreenSpec, leaving Sandy Patience as GreenSpec Ltd. to continue on his own.

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2014: BrianSpecMan as part of the CAP’EM team has started the European Commission’s PEF Product Environmental Footprinting Pilot Programme for thermal insulation, a 3 year programme leading to a replacement for LCA Life Cycle Assessment or a closer alignment between them.

2014: BrianSpecMan is focusing on Green Building Encyclopaedia website, supporting manufacturers and suppliers to deliver information required to help specifiers to adopt their products and make the changes in construction practice that are essential.


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2014-2019: Invited onto and joined the Ska Technical Committee

2014: Exploring opportunities to develop GBE 2D VIEW with TSB SME R&D 3 phase funding. shown at EcoBuild 2014

What we imagine GBE 2D View will look like

Storyboard of screen shots of GBE’s 2D View

Current Doctrine v Heracey(tm)

Current Doctrine v Heracey™

2014: NGS HERACEY™: Healthy, Environmental, Resourceful, Appropriate, Competent, Effective, Yardstick announced at EcoBuild 2014

The purpose of this website is to offer a resource library of downloadable files accumulated or created and presented over a few decades of project commissions, interactions with individuals, building professionals, clients, students, construction organisations and Government departments.

2014: CAPEM after Interreg

November 2014 CAPEM team presented CAPEM Compass tool to the [avniR] LCA Conference and anounced CAPEM plans to continue as a European Economic Interest Group (EEIG) Legal Entity to progress with CAPEM LCA activity.
We submitted a bid for Life+ European Funding Build4LIFE project, which was turned down.

CAPEM Team meeting in Lille

CAP’EM team members

2015: NGS & GBE Green Building Encyclopaedia (GBE) & GBE 2D/3D View

GBE Mind map

GBE Mind map

What we imagine GBE 2D View will look like

Storyboard of screen shots of GBE’s 2D View

With the final payment from CAPEM and 7 years back payments from LSBU: NGS is going on a marketing campaign and building a new GBE Website.

Seeking grants to enable this, planning to start a Crowd Funding Campaign to create the 2D or 3D interface to the GBE Encyclopaedia.

Promoting ambitions through CPD, Exhibitions, Committees, Membership Groups

  • Promoted GBE 2D View at TGR Bite Size CPD in London
  • The second outing happened at VISION LONDON June 2015
  • The third showing was to SBEE Sustainable Built Environment East Meeting September 2015
  • Promoted GBE to stands at UK Construction Weeks October 2015



UK Construction Week 2015 I went, did you?

UK Construction Week 2015
I went, did you?

2015: TGR 15 Year celebrations, BrianSpecMan recalled what being part of TGR has meant for GBE


TGR Logo

TGR Logo

For more information about the people behind NGS National Green Specification Ltd. & GBE Green Building Encyclopaedia.

NGS website attracted over 2500 page views per day, 100,000 page views per month and 1,000,000 page views per year, See NGS Webstats for more details.

NGS content has been migrated to GBE website and is undergoing an NGS to GBE conversion.

2500 images have been uploaded ready to be reconnected to pages.

SKARatingLogoSkaHEPromoSKA Technical Committee lead to SKA Higher Education development team and Launched the SKA HE Scheme June 2016

2016: Promoting GBE through CPD

  • Bond Bryan Architects Sheffield: June 2016
  • Sheppard Robson June 2016


EcoBuild 2016: Met with Gale & Snowden and Building Biology Association and discussed the possibility of developing Healthy Building Specification & Healthy Building Encyclopaedia as part of GBE
September 2016: ready to push this proposal forward by funding a crowd fund campaign.

September 2016: Discussing with CAPEM project team about developing Bio-based Building Specification  and Bio-based Building Encyclopaedia and preparing to go to crowd fund campaign.

September 2016: Discussing with CAPEM project team about developing CAPEM Compass as a BInformationM delivery system to serve BIM Libraries with Product LCA data.


September 2018: Approached by Ilona Hay (we met at Walter and Cohen Architects) to join her Part 1 Architecture & Interior Architecture Design course at University of Hertfordshire to provide Technology lectures and Technology tasks to support studio design.

September 2019: Took up Technology Lead at University of Hertfordshire

September 2019: Invited by John Bell to deliver Environmental Technology Lectures to MSc Architecture Course at University of Hertfordshire

December 2019: Approached by Edith Colomba of MaD Make a Difference network to convert a large collection of CPD and Lectures and develop into a Webinar Platform to work



Keep coming back

The site is embryonic but the content is constantly being updated, its drawn from the output of nearly 4 decades of project consultancy, exhibitions, conferences, workshops and meeting others.

Please keep coming back to see what else has been added that can help you become a more informed, environmentally aware individual capable of influencing others.

See the right hand column on this page to see the latest additions.

GBE Contact

Stay in touch

© GBE NGS ASWS Brian Murphy aka BrianSpecMan *
17th December 2012 – 9th January 2020

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