What are the drivers to reduce carbon - Senior management perspective
The processes we need in place to measure and reduce carbon, are also required to reduce safety risks and track what gets procured and installed.
Although carbon reporting is not yet statutory, safety-related elements are, so it makes sense to include the properties/activities that help lower carbon emissions in the information we require from supply chain members – both upstream and downstream.
The implementation of the UK Building Safety Act has demonstrated that developers and contractors can be required to provide information about the products, materials and activities they delivered retrospectively – even 30 years. The lack of such information is being considered a “Defect” and can fall under the “Defective Premises Act”.
Failure to demonstrate compliance can lead to prosecutions – even criminal.
It is difficult to predict what prospective legislation around carbon will be introduced, but the new NEC X29 climate change clauses are an indication of the direction of travel.
So, putting to one side the ethical rational for reducing carbon in construction, there is a strong financial and contractual rationale.
Funders and investors have already recognised this and are offering projects better interest rates if they can demonstrate better ESG. Once it is more easily measured, insurers will follow with reduced premiums.
Procurement frameworks are already scoring environmental performance, so there is a clear benefit in having the records to prove compliance.
Buildings as a Material Bank (BAMB)
As base materials and resources become less available, the market for recycled building materials will grow and the BAMB concept will become a reality. However that will require reliable and auditable information about the products and materials that have been used.
Given that most of the products are composites, or assemblies of products, the future value of that product may need to be considered, in case one of the elements contaminates the product, from a recycling perspective.
All of this is very complicated, with many moving parts that can influence decision-making.
However, this isn’t impossible to address. In other Regulated industries (yes, building became Regulated in the UK on 28th April 2022) like food, all of the ingredients of every seeded loaf are tracked and available if anyone needs to do a deep-dive. The same with aviation.
The same will be in place for construction, so we might as well get on with it.
So, the financial and contractual drivers are clear.
As a by-product, our reputation, both corporate and personal, improves and we become a more attractive employer.
Safer, more sustainable buildings.
What’s not to love?