Chief construction adviser Paul Morrell has published his interim findings putting forward proposals for the construction industry to deliver the UK's low carbon reduction commitments.
As chair of the Low Carbon Construction Innovation and Growth Team (IGT) which published the 'Emerging Findings' report on March 17, Paul Morrell said the report highlights the challenge for the industry and its customers to work together to cut costs, stimulate innovation and develop a clear proposition for low carbon retrofit and new build.
In his analysis Paul Morrell said: 'As the IGT emerging findings highlight, few businesses have an accurate understanding of the sheer scale of the undertaking ahead'.
He went on to refer to a key barrier being the 'growing need for a general up-skilling of people in all parts of the supply chain to address the design, construction and operation of low carbon, energy efficient buildings.'
The Emerging Findings report sets out that over the next 40 years, the Low Carbon Transition Plan is a business plan for construction. The IGT's final report will be presented to government at the end of 2010.
This interim report is intended to engage the industry with what it describes as 'tentative' findings - propositions rather than recommendations for consultation during the year.
The report has made one recommendation to government: to commission a program manager to prepare a detailed execution plan and oversee the execution of the physical work assumed in the UK low carbon transition plan. He/she would be steered by the IGT, and have access to all government departments and agencies with a stake in each tranche of work.
The report has 18 proposals. These include:
- The government should in the short to medium term, consider the potential for the procurement of all publicly-funded construction programmes to be used as test beds for transformation of the industry.
-Major construction companies should explore scope for the voluntary posting of Display Energy Certificates in their own buildings, following the practice now mandated for public sector buildings.
- The industry, via a collaborative forum, should produce a tighter definition of precisely how an integrated supply chain should come together.
- Integrated teams should come together to develop proposals for a building type (e.g. eco-schools) to show how with the right procurement and contractual agreements, a zero carbon building can be built for the same price as a building built only to current Building Regulations.
- A means of capturing and more widely disseminating best practice from major projects should be developed.
- Each local authority should produce a renewable energy strategy and stock audit that considers new developments together with existing buildings, with a view to providing the opportunity to deliver energy and heat solutions for both.
-Professional bodies should propose the necessary regimes and funding to enable a more rapid cycle time for best practice, codes and standards.
As part of background research for the report, the IGT found the current count of reports and initiatives, undertaken by government departments, NGOs or other special interest groups, to be currently 200 and rising.
The report stated 'what is harder to find is the [whole] picture itself - that is, a timed (and funded) plan by which construction and its product will be moved from the status quo to a series of actions and behaviours that will meet the commitments in the Climate Change Act.'
Paul Morrell said: 'To be fit for purpose, the industry first has to be fit. It has been weakened by the fall in its workload since 2007, and by the consequent loss of capacity. Innovation, the development of skills and investment in business and industry improvement all feed off workload and this calls for policies that allow and encourage the industry and its customers to be an engine for economic growth.'
To view the report click here