Decarbonisation Plans


The Decarbonisation team at Max Fordham includes M&E engineers with over 20 years’ experience of sustainable building design; specialists in moisture modelling, fabric performance, acoustics, infrastructure, and heat pump design; qualified architects; and specialists in applying for and securing government decarbonisation grants and funding.

Kiru Balson


Principal Sustainability Consultant

I have always been inspired by creating buildings that truly express what they are intended for. As physically and environmentally comfortable spaces for people, materials are the messengers that help architects deliver this vision. I enjoy collaborating with diverse stakeholders to develop sustainable architecture that delivers intended outcomes for the users and the environment.

I am a Chartered Architectural Technologist with a Masters in Energy Efficiency and Sustainability from Oxford Brookes University. I joined Max Fordham LLP in 2020. Prior to this I worked at BRE for over 12 years as a Senior Sustainability Consultant holding a range of responsibilities including project management, client liaison and technical delivery.

My role as a Sustainability Consultant is critical in enabling integrated design thinking, in its true sense, and finding solutions that are both viable and sustainable over the long term. I develop project specific sustainability frameworks and undertake appraisals for whole life carbon and circular economy. I coordinate input of these sustainability aspects through all stages of a project – from concept through to aftercare.

Bill Watts


Director, Decarbonisation Leader, Partner

Elegant services design means delivering solutions that are cost-effective, use materials efficiently, require the least energy to run and are easy to operate. Good for the client now and further down the line.

Within the design team I bring a view of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to innovation, with reference to current regulations and the wider context of future energy requirements.

I’m interested in finding the right solution for the building, no matter what type. This means being open to innovation at the same time as having the detailed knowledge to assess what is appropriate and identify why it will work.

Even if buildings can’t directly bring about social change, we have a responsibility to create environments in which people feel comfortable, so shifts in perception can happen. Success is a well-used, well-loved space; one with longevity.

Hero Bennett


Director, Sustainability Leader, Partner

I help clients to explore, define and achieve their sustainability aspirations. My work helps form excellent sustainable design that is appropriate for users, the site and the wider environment.

My experience gives me a broad understanding of what sustainability issues need to be considered during design. Having taken projects from design to site as an Engineer, I can appreciate some of the practical difficulties in delivering sustainability targets.

Communication throughout the process is key to overcoming these difficulties. I’m trained to facilitate sustainability discussions to set the aspirations and brief, communicate design options and help the team choose effective design strategies.

I also have experience explaining sustainability externally, through both public consultations and in presenting 'The Sustainability Matrix', a communication tool developed by Max Fordham and published in the Architects Journal in 2010. The work is varied; from looking at material selection for a private house to developing a masterplan’s sustainability and energy strategy. I’m interested in it all.

I am also experienced in Passivhaus design.

Andrew Leiper


Director, Net Zero Carbon Leader, Partner

Successful delivery of a project is roughly one third engineering, one third organisational and one third communication skills.

Collaborative working is a part of the process and one that I enjoy as initial concepts develop into the detailed design and installation of mechanical and electrical services. I design efficient integrated building services which, although more or less invisible to the eye, affect how the space feels and make buildings come alive.

If a certain amount of warmth and light is provided passively by the building, my engineering complements and enhances what's there to ensure the environment is comfortable. It also provides the necessary interfaces to power, water and data.

Efficiency is about having the right level and type of mechanical intervention in the project. Integrating the services allows for flexible use of the space and a cleaner aesthetic. Whether it is a leisure centre, housing scheme, gallery or workspace, these principles remain the same.

Phil Armitage


Director, Fee Bidding Leader, Partner

On all projects I champion passive design, energy efficiency and architectural sensitivity. I gain immense personal satisfaction from collaborating with a team to produce beautiful and functional buildings.

Our Practice fosters the intellectual freedom to think outside the box; an ethos that I’ve both benefitted from and now encourage. While I established my mechanical, electrical and environmental engineering skills working across the cultural, workspace and residential sectors, I also worked on projects which challenged me to push the boundaries of environmental design.

For example, the seafront location of The Landmark, Ilfracombe, allowed me to use natural ground water as a low energy cooling source for the first time – a system that’s been applied again and again.

Since then, I’ve led teams that have successfully delivered low energy and integrated designs for laboratories, theatres, galleries, classrooms, homes and hotels.

Henry Pelly

BA MSc MPhil

Principal Sustainability Consultant, Partner

There’s something satisfying about being in a well-conditioned space, where the temperature is just right, the air is fresh, the light-level appropriate.

But the things that make a difference to how a building feels are not immediately obvious to the eye. It’s about having the right systems in place and the processes that support efficient building operation that make the difference.

My background is in psychology, environmental design and architecture and I think this is a potent combination for making better buildings. Design can influence human behaviour, but the complexity and reality of human behaviour should also influence design.

I advise design teams on how they can apply sustainability concepts and methodologies to produce better buildings; buildings that work. BREEAM is one of the useful tools that can help meet this end. When approached in the right spirit as a holistic and robust standard rather than another form of compliance, it provides an excellent framework to ensure that the details that deliver better building survive to the end of the construction process.

Decarbonisation Plans