Sustainability in Construction

The UK government's decision to reduce greenhouse gas emission rates to half of 1990 levels by 2025 has greatly affected the government's construction strategy. As outlined in the Infrastructure and Projects Authority's Government Construction Strategy: 2016 - 2020, the government aims to become an exemplary client of the construction industry, befitting its role as the biggest client of the sector.

In line with that, the government will implement various measures to increase the efficiency of its procurement and supply chain processes. It also aims to improve upon the utilisation of digital technology to manage properties and buildings, including using Building Information Modelling (BIM) Level 2 software in all government properties by 2016. The BIM strategy, alongside the Design for Manufacture & Assembly (DfMA), was successfully rolled out during the construction of a-270 bed facility for Alder Hey in the Park in Liverpool which concluded in October 2015

The private sector has also been aggressive adopters of sustainable construction practices. Despite being constrained by the additional cost of building management software and higher-cost recycled building materials, a number of construction companies have forged ahead over the past decade by voluntarily trying to reduce and better manage construction waste, implementing energy efficient solutions for their properties, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Many are even using green certifications as a selling point to B2B and B2C consumers.

The construction industry remains the biggest producer of commercial waste in the country (40%), so concerted efforts are being taken to try to tackle the issue. However, the industry is hoping that by adopting on-site material re-use strategy and deploying environmental management systems solutions like BREEAM or ISO14001 will improve the efficiency of developers and contractors.

Going forward, the industry as a whole is looking very closely at 3D printing technology, which has the potential of drastically reducing wastage and improving raw material efficiency in construction projects.