Last edited 20 Oct 2016

Low carbon construction IGT

An innovation and growth team (IGT) was established within the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) by Minister Mark Prisk MP on 17 September 2009 to answer the question; ‘Is the construction industry fit for purpose for the transition to a low carbon economy’, and to consider how it might become a world leader in this sector. This was partly in response to the commitment set out in the Climate Change Act to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050.

The review steering group was chaired by Paul Morrell, the then Chief Construction Adviser supported by; industry experts, the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC), the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Emerging Findings were published in March 2010, and the final report Low Carbon Construction was published in November 2010.

The final report suggested that whilst the construction industry in the UK was demonstrating some capacity and inclination to address the challenge of climate change and the economic opportunities that might exist, there were are number of barriers to reform.

The report suggested that; ‘There is a general and growing awareness of the challenge, but few businesses have an accurate understanding of the sheer scale of the undertaking ahead; and there is a level of disbelief about whether or when the difficult decisions that will lead to the necessary changes in customer behaviour will be made.’

The three main barriers were identified as:

  • The need for a clear path setting out the transition to a low-carbon economy.
  • The need for government and the industry to work together to develop this path.
  • The need to incentivise uptake of commercial offers aimed at carbon reduction.

It was proposed that companies in the wider construction industry must:

  • De-carbonise their businesses and their supply chain.
  • Provide people with new and existing buildings that emit less carbon in their construction, operation and decommissioning.
  • Provide infrastructure for the supply of clean energy and support sustainable practices in other areas of the economy.

A series of detailed recommendations to address these issues and the barriers to change was summarised in Annex A to the report, with the key recommendation seen to be stimulating demand.

A government response to the report Government response to the Low Carbon Construction Innovation & Growth Team Report was published in June 2011 setting out an action plan for the move to low-carbon construction, focussing on:

  • The need for a transparent plan.
  • The need to reform public procurement.
  • The need to make the most of export opportunities.
  • The need for a new level of cooperation between government and industry.

This action plan also proposed the creation of a joint government and industry board to take forward the programme, and as a result, the Green Construction Board (GCB) was established.

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