Growing the national construction pipeline

Growing the national construction pipeline 

BLOG · BY TTF CEO, DAVID HOPKINS · 17 March 2021

Despite the progressive tightening of Building Regulations since at least the 1970s, and warnings from the CCC that the UK will miss its future Carbon Budgets, UK buildings remain among the most energy inefficient in Europe.

The Climate Change Committee (CCC) has repeatedly stressed that the widespread deployment of energy efficiency measures across the UK’s building stock will be a key plank for any credible and cost-effective strategy to meet net-zero by 2050.

Despite the progressive tightening of Building Regulations since at least the 1970s, and warnings from the CCC that the UK is at risk of missing its 4th (2023-2027) and 5th (2028-2031) Carbon Budgets without such a plan, UK buildings remain among the most energy inefficient in Europe.

Britain’s 28 million homes contribute 20% of the country’s emissions, and with 80% of buildings in 2050 have already been built, it is simple maths to see why this issue must be given urgency. Unfortunately, efforts from the Government have proven lacklustre so far.

However, one of the most promising strategies to address the retrofit crisis came in December from the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) who have created a 20 year blueprint to transform the nation’s housing stock and make it greener and more energy-efficient.

The CLC National Retrofit Strategy is structured into four phases, and begins with a call for the Government to invest an initial £5.3bn over the next four years to help kickstart the retrofit market, which in the long term will help create 800,000 jobs and £1.4bn yearly savings for the NHS from healthier buildings.

More than 50 organisations from construction, the energy, and water sectors, are backing the CLC’s National Retrofit Strategy – and we join them in advocating for the creation of this long-term pipeline of work for the sector to boost capability.

On the note of the construction pipeline, if we take a quick look at the new build market through the Glenigan Construction Review we can see that residential starts are 12% higher than a year ago, totalling £6,973 million.

It has been impressive to see the value of residential work commencing on-site during the three months to February was 30% higher than a year ago, and 17% higher than the preceding three months. Private housing project-starts are experiencing particularly strong growth, up 31% against the previous year.

These are all promising signs for the market. I will add a note of caution that while the residential sector is showing a fantastic rebound, this rebound is not shared by the non-residential sectors, or when looking to total project-starts in Scotland and Wales.

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