GBCSA / Green Building / Meet the Members: In Conversation with Gavin Kode

Meet the Members: In Conversation with Gavin Kode

September 28, 2020

We recently welcomed Gavin Kode to the Board of the GBCSA. He is the Deputy Director-General of Provincial Public Works in the Western Cape Government Department of Transport and Public Works. We asked him a few questions, to get to know him better.

  1. Where do you go for inspiration?

The simple answer would be that I go into ‘nature’ but, to give it more context, I go out to sea or to the top of a mountain or I run in the forest. I often come back with answers to questions I didn’t even know I had. During the lockdown, we saw many instances of nature reclaiming from the urban space or recovering from our human impact on nature. Nature is amazing – it is common grace and a gift from God.

  1. What is the best part of your work day?

Any part of the day when I get something done. I have learned that very little happens by simply being put into the system, so now I never wait for it to happen. We each have to provide the fuel for it, and drive it to completion. When I eventually see the fruit of my investment, that’s the best part of the day, whatever time of the day that might be.

  1. What achievement are you most proud of?

While it was initially conceptualised by my predecessor, the Western Cape Government annual Property Efficiency Report required significant drive and direction to have reached its 8th publication in 2019. Our original management rationale for publishing a report of this nature was the measurement of property performance data, the regular and rigorous monitoring of that performance data, and the management of the opportunities that arise. This is, and remains, the primary principle on which our immovable asset management is undertaken. We have expanded both the reach of the survey and extent of the properties we report on, as well as the way in which we manage all the public immovable assets under our control. This may seem obvious for those in the private sector. However, having this tool, and the efficiency levers that it highlights and makes available, is a significant achievement for government and capability in government.

  1. What do you think is the most urgent global environmental challenge facing us?

We have many global environmental challenges. All of us working in the sustainability space understand these all too well, as well as the linkages between them. I do not think that we can solve the greatest or the most urgent of these and think that this alone will save us. We are in critical need of inspiring leadership, at all levels and in all places, and to appreciate that we need to act holistically and on many fronts. Only this can achieve a critical mass in turning the tide on the destruction of our only planet. For this, we need ordinary leadership to step up in an extraordinary way.

We are all leaders. We can, and must, all take action. My greatest wish is for leaders of nations to inspire change across the board and to drive this inspiration and example in their nations. Unless it starts at the top, it will never truly become pervasive, all-encompassing, and effective.

  1. What do you feel is the biggest issue in the green building industry that we have to overcome, and any ideas on where to start in tackling it?

Many new buildings are being designed, built and operated sustainably, or certainly more sustainably than before. However, the world has a massive portfolio of existing buildings that waste resources and operate unsustainably. As I said above, I believe that leadership can solve this and create the future that we want and need. It is said that ‘With great power comes great responsibility’. If leaders accept this responsibility, this issue can be tackled successfully.

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