Net Zero in Construction

Construction Industry Call Upon Government to Introduce Sustainable Supply Chain Legislation Ahead of 2030 Net Zero Emissions Target

 

On May 25th, we joined forces with fellow industry experts to discuss paving the way towards the target of reaching net zero emissions in construction by 2030. This target can be achievable, but we are in need of wider industry collaboration so we can meet this target as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, the industry seems reluctant to implement these changes until absolutely necessary. Government support could help facilitate reaching this target by 2030 or sooner. This can be achieved through government building laws and regulations on using renewable and sustainable building materials.

We rely upon clients and companies alike to share the same vision that we do; for an eco-friendly and kinder future with the aid of the construction industry. It’s difficult with the knowledge that that cement contributes 8% towards 40% of carbon emissions in the construction industry, yet action hasn’t been taken at pace. What’s tough to comprehend is that we already have a sustainable solution at our fingertips, in the form of timber frame, which has been approved by building regulations and is used to construct many homes across the UK.

We are aware that a lot of people within and outside of our industry understand the various benefits of using timber frame such as their sustainability properties, cost-effectiveness, and assistance with time efficiency, in comparison to concrete and other harmful materials.  As expressed by Richard Swayne, our managing director: “The benefits for building with timber frame are widely known, if the government is truly behind building back greener, then buildings constructed from timber frame should be subsidised or at the very least incentivised.”

We’ve already seen promising movements across the UK, such as Scotland using timber frame for 80% of new-build homes, and Wales who are dedicated to building all affordable housing with timber frame by 2022. This is the progression and motivation we need on a larger scale; if several more followed suit, we could make the prospect of a greener future occur at an astonishing rate, we need to work in unison.

Building planners and architects have a great deal of weight behind the pace of change. We believe the UK can set a reputable sustainable building standard. The Victorian, expensive and unsustainable building methods no longer have a place in our construction industry like they have in the past. All parties in the supply chain need to be looking fervently to the future if change will be made for the better by 2030.

The pandemic has given many of us time to reflect and observe how taking a pause on normality has positively impacted ecosystems across the world. We need to play our part and do what we can to maintain these encouraging developments.

Panellist Andrew Carpenter – Chief executive of the Structural Timber Association also touched on the subject of how the pandemic has opened many of our eyes and how as an industry we mustn’t regress back to the way we previously operated: “There has never been a better time to change how we build our homes in the UK. The pandemic has given us time to stop and consider our industry’s impact and as the world regains some normality, we, as an industry, should want to move forward rather than simply returning to how we have always done things, as it is clear from the figures that this is devastating the planet.”

Time is of the essence if we are to tackle this issue head-on and make an impact in the future of sustainability within the building and construction industry. We must shift along with our everchanging society as they move towards reaching the objective of net zero emissions, currently our industry is stuck in the past. As quoted during the conference by Andrew Carpenter – Chief Executive of the Structural Timber Association: “If we can’t do it now, we never can”.

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