Stone Digital – Shaping a sustainable future... programme of speakers

Stone digital conference

Stone Digital - Shaping a sustainable future is a new, high-level online conference on the stone industry in a net zero carbon, digitally connected world. Supported by Stone Federation Great Britain, it takes place online, anchored by professional broadcaster and sustainability commentator Susannah Streeter.

It is free, but you have to register at

Frances Gannon of Make Architects, Simon Sturgis from Targeting Zero and Flavie Lowres of Green Thinking open the Stone Digital conference, setting the scene for two days of exploring how stone, as an essentially low carbon building material, can and is contributing to a move towards Net Zero. And how the digital revolution is helping.

During the two days 30 speakers will explain how they are using stone, computers and information technology to cut carbon, reduce waste, improve efficiency and increase productivity.

The programme below will help you organise your partcipation in the conference. You can also view the programme online at

Tuesday 22 February

Building a sustainable future with stone – the big picture
09:00 – 10:30
Exploring the benefits of a collaborative approach to whole-life sustainable construction, from concept and design to build and use. By involving material producers, processors, and specialist contractors at an early stage more sustainable solutions involving less waste, less energy, longer life and a lower cost can be achieved.

09.00 – 9.05
Introduction by Susannah Streeter

09:05 – 9:30
Climate crisis – why a low carbon future matters
Simon Sturgis, Founder – Targeting Zero

09:30 – 9:50
Assessing natural stone’s sustainability performance within the built environment lifecycle
Dr Flavie Lowres, Director – Green Thinking

09:50 – 10:15
Embodied carbon and circular economy opportunities for stone
Frances Gannon, Partner, Make Architects; Darren Anderson, Director & Stone Consultant, and Lefteris Siamopoulos, Senior Facade Consultant – FMDC

10:15 – 10:30
Panel discussion

Sustainability in planning – the beauty of better buildings
11:00 – 12:20
The government’s stated aim is to Build Better, Build Beautiful. The Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and National Model Design Code (NMDC) could help achieve that. Value engineering at the design stage in consultation with material providers can also make a project more sustainable as well as more affordable. And the revisions to BS 8298 for stone cladding can also contribute positively.

11.00 – 11.05
Introduction by Susannah Streeter

11:05 – 11:25
The mandatory design codes – what does this mean for natural stone?
Sam Thistlethwaite, Director – IC Planning

11:25 – 11:45
BS 8298 – changes bring advantages for sustainable stone cladding
Nic Shannon, Managing Director – Domus Facades

11:45 – 12:05
A Stone Contractor’s perspective on sustainability
Nick Wilson, Business Development Director – Stonewest

12:05 – 12.20
Panel discussion

Sustainable solutions for our built heritage
13:00 – 14:20
Representatives of Historic England and the British Geological Survey, together with heritage consultants, explore the key role natural stone and digital technology play in delivering sustainable solutions for the built heritage. Subjects covered include an update on ‘The Building Stone Database for England’, the challenges of sourcing suitable stone for conservation, and the benefits of digital tools and communication technologies.

13.00 – 13.05
Introduction by Susannah Streeter

13:05 – 13:20
Safeguarding a sustainable strategic asset – The Building Stone Database for England
Clara Willett, Senior Building Conservation Adviser – Historic England

13:20 – 13:40
Selecting the right replacement stone
Dr Stephen Parry, Petrologist – British Geological Survey

13:40 – 14:05
Digital transformation of the historic building repair & maintenance sector – balancing Superhero Technology with Tradition
Dr Mohamed Abdel Wahab, Senior Lecturer in Construction Engineering Management - University of the West of Scotland and Dr. Scott McGibbon, Director – Pivotal Consultancy

14:05 – 14:20
Panel discussion

Responsible sourcing - tackling modern slavery and supply chain management
15:00 - 16:20
The implications of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 for the UK stone industry. How the stone industry can contribute pistively to their larger clients' modern slavery statements in their annual reports and ensure stone used in the UK is not sontributing to child labour, bonded labour, or other forms of modern slavery.

15.00 – 15.05
Introduction by Susannah Streeter

15:05 – 15:30
An introduction to the Ethical Stone Register
David Richardson, Director – Diagenesis Consulting

15:30 – 15:45
Szerelmey’s pathway to becoming the first ethical stone register ‘verification’ level contractor
Tamsin Pickeral, Operations Director – Szerelmey

15:45 – 16:00
No Child Left Behind
Steve Walley, Managing Director – London Stone

16:00 – 16:20
Panel discussion


Wednesday 23 February

Net Zero – written in stone
9:00 – 10:20
The UK government became the first major economy to enshrine in law a 2050 Net Zero target for greenhouse gas emissions. The target cannot be reached without a significant contribution from industry. This session looks at how progressive companies in the stone industry are working towards it.

9.00 – 9.05
Introduction by Susannah Streeter

9:05 – 9:25
The case for British stone – shaping a low carbon future with Portland stone
Michael Poultney, Managing Director – Albion Stone

9:25 – 9:45
Embracing sustainability – Polycor’s race to be carbon neutral by 2025
Bryan Thorburn, Director of Business Development Europe & The Middle East – Polycor

9:45 – 10:05
A Contractor’s journey to net zero – the value of repurposing materials
Robert Greer, Technical Director – PAYE Stonework & Restoration

10:05 – 10:20
Panel discussion

Innovation for sustainable design – back to basics, post-tensioned stone and lightweight facades
11:00 – 12:25
Using structural stone to build with can make good sense, both environmentally and economically. Post- and pre-tensioned stone has enabled designers to achieve elegant solutions and provide a low carbon alternative to concrete. And innovative designs of lightweight frames supporting thin stone cladding mean the main frame of a building can be lighter, saving materials and cutting costs throughout the build.

11:00 – 11:05
Introduction by Susannah Streeter

11:05 – 11:30
Climate change and a new stone age
James Simpson, OBE, Consultant – Simpson & Brown Architects and Chairman of the Building Limes Forum

11:30 – 11:50
Low tech material with high tech engineering
Pierre Bidaud, Creative Director – The Stonemasonry Company

11:50 – 12:10
Natural and engineered stone facades – sustainability, buildability and aesthetics
David Wilson, Architectural Consultant – Shackerley

12:10 – 12:25
Panel discussion

The natural solution for sustainable hard landscaping
13:00 – 14:20
The completion of BS 7533 Part 101 2021 on the design of pavements is a significant development in hard landscaping and a major achievement for the use of stone. What could be more natural and sustainable than using stone from the land in landscaping? It can aid drainage and biodiversity by improving habitats for wildlife, and create pleasant amenities for people to spend their time in.

13:00 – 13:05
Introduction by Susannah Streeter

13:05 – 13:25
Setting the new paving standard with BS7533- 101 and understanding its environmental considerations
Steve Burton (GMICE), Technical Director and Phil Crichton (DipLA, CMLI), Specification & Technical Consultant – Steintec

13:25 – 13:45
Inspiring creative urban spaces through innovative, ethical and sustainable hard landscaping
Anthony Collins, Sales Director – Hardscape

13:45 – 14:05
The green road – sustainable solutions to keep hard landscapes looking their best
Filippo Rampado, UK & Ireland Manager – Fila Surface Care Solutions

14:05 – 14:20
Panel discussion

Digitalization of stone
15:00 – 16:40
Digitalization is playing its part in sustainability by reducing waste – of product, of machinery down time, of unexpected delays, of communication errors. But when it comes to computers don’t blink or you’ll miss the next breakthrough.

15:00 – 15:05
Introduction by Susannah Streeter

15:05 – 15:25
On-line, on-site, on-target – the connected contractor
Mark Dellar, Business Unit Leader – Vetter UK

15:25 – 15:45
The digital route to sustainable construction
Robert Merry, Director & Principal Consultant – Stone Consultants

15:45 – 16:05
Lasers, point clouds and 3D views – the quick and accurate way to record buildings
Graham Sykes, Technical Director – Architectural & Heritage Scanning

16:05 – 16:25
Digitally connected fabrication – templates>designs>robots>customer communications
James Weston, Lean Manager, and David Roy, Director – Natural Stone Surfaces

16:25 – 16:40
Panel discussion