Construction industry leaders call for change to achieve net zero targets


Public sector procurement authority, SCAPE, alongside some of the UK’s largest contractors and consultants, have written to the Construction Minister Lee Rowley MP to explain how the public estate can achieve its ambitious net zero targets

Industry leaders including Arcadis, Ashe Group, Fairhurst, Faithful & Gould, G.F Tomlinson, Jeakins Weir, John Sisk & Son, Lindum Group, Mace, McLaughlin & Harvey, Morgan Sindall, Perfect Circle, Seddon, Sweco UK, and Willmott Dixon propose traditional industry approaches to procurement and call for build to be radically overhauled to devise an approach for public sector construction that is focused on zero carbon.

The letter

The letter argues that whole life carbon assessments should be made a statutory requirement for the delivery of new-build and refurbishment projects in the public sector, with decisions based on the lifecycle carbon of the building or infrastructure project, not cost.

According to the letter’s signatories, project teams basing decisions on cost alone are inhibiting low carbon construction.

Data gathered by SCAPE suggests that on average it takes as little as six years to receive the payback on operational savings created by sustainable building design, with only a marginal increase in capital cost.

The letter emphasised that it is crucial to the future standards of public sector buildings and infrastructure that there is carbon-led collaboration across the supply chain.

Acting as delivery partners within SCAPE and SCAPE Scotland’s construction, consultancy and civil engineering industries, the firms involved are responsible for covering £18bn worth of public sector projects to be delivered in the next five years.

SCAPE is used by more than 1,200 public bodies across the UK and ensures that organisations are helped to procure projects in a way that meets their sustainability and climate goals.

In order to achieve the government’s net zero targets by 2050, SCAPE have developed a dedicated Net Zero website navigation tool which explains how to access the guidance required.

 “Achieving this doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel”

Mark Robinson, group chief executive at SCAPE, said:

“Tackling carbon intensity across the public estate has become mission critical. As a leading voice for the public sector and in collaboration with our construction and consultancy partners, we have a duty to forge an industry-led response to tackle the environmental challenges we currently face.

“The Construction Playbook represents the first building block to achieving a low-carbon future and we want to work with the minister to help further its aims and ambitions by setting new statutory obligations within UK procurement legislation.”

“Achieving this doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel – a lot of the immediate answers are hiding in plain sight.

“We must work together as an industry to rethink our traditional approaches and ensure that net zero carbon is considered an integral part of our decision-making process.

“The government plays a huge role in delivering this change and by working together to share best practices, we firmly believe that we can deliver on the commitment to achieve net zero carbon by 2050.”



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