Make cash flow for green construction

Make cash flow for green construction

BLOG · BY TTF CEO David Hopkins · 09 June 2020

The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) in their Road to Recovery last week set out a 12-month recovery plan, and much of the industry has embraced the plan in principle. There is a lot to admire, from ambitions towards greater use of offsite methods, through to accounting for carbon and whole-life benefits, not just upfront costs. All of these shifts should favour timber.

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However, looking to the past we should know words can often be divorced from action. This is particularly the case for sustainable construction.

While building codes provide a useful model for developing policies that support low carbon construction, these are often slow moving. Indeed, the Roadmap itself still seems to see low-carbon goals as a future target not an immediate possibility. What should be created now is an embrace of existing innovation by national and local government in how they award contracts.

Government spending should provide a powerful incentive for good behavior and good outcomes, but without an appreciation of the full costs, including on the environment, it will still create a ‘race to the bottom’ – a term aptly used in the Hackett Review almost two years ago.

The CLC Road to Recovery looks to drive industry transformation from 12+ months. This includes the full implementation of a presumption for offsite, and net zero carbon targets. However, the plan also calls for the creation of a robust demand pipeline from 3+ months. This should not be out of sync. We must call on this construction pipeline to be tied to these transformation goals from its earliest creation to incentivise sustainable, low-carbon manufacturing and construction solutions.

By advocating for government spending to be tied to transformation we can make sure that rhetoric and reality are one and the same – a space where timber must be embraced as the existing solution. The Government goal is for net zero by 2050. That means utilizing existing solutions to achieve net zero now!