Roadmap for construction

Roadmap for construction

BLOG · BY TTF CEO David Hopkins · 4 June 2020

One of the clarion calls from all quarters during this pandemic has been to “Build Back Better” – to change our current patterns and places of work toward something more sustainable, and embrace some of the more innovative trends which have gained momentum.

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On Monday the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) released the Roadmap to Recovery, which aims to drive the recovery of the construction and built environment sectors following the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn. It also aims to channel some of the momentum of a sector coming back to life.

As the CLC rightly states, construction is a driver of economic activity in the UK, employing more than 3.1m workers and operating in every corner of the country. This strategy aims to increase prosperity across the UK while embracing de-carbonization, modernisation through digital and manufacturing technologies, and delivering better, safer buildings.

Many of the points included in the strategy are not new, rather they reflect things the timber sector and others have long called for such as changes to procurement to encourage whole-life thinking, and a consistent pipeline of work to encourage investment. Other points seek to put in action long standing Government aims.

There are three stages in the plan, restart (0-3 months), reset (3-12 months), and reinvent (12-24 months). They align broadly with the actions already being taken by the timber sector, for example, such as the work we’ve done to broaden our distance learning options.

Longer term there is more potential. The full implementation of a presumption for offsite methods, and the embedding of net zero carbon ambitions in planned new housing developments would be good news for the timber sector, while a bigger push to encourage domestic and commercial RMI, are all elements we’ve long called for at the TTF.

Just last week an article I wrote for Offsite Magazine discussed the natural advantage timber should have in this new policy environment. An emphasis on speed creates a preference for off-site, and emphasis on off-site creates a preference for timber.

One of the areas where we will be focusing as the TTF in coming months is ensuring that the de-carbonization agenda is integrated into these offsite models. Here is where timbers low carbon advantage truly takes hold. I queried the CLC’s COVID-19 steering group on this point just this morning and received a positive response from Minister Nadim Zahari MP, that all of the measures within the Roadmap would be “heavily green tinged”.

This certainly sounds positive. Net Zero 2050 will only happen through the changes we make now. In the meantime, I encourage our members to read through the plan, and do feel free to share with us your own thoughts or suggestions. We will continue to make the point to Government that, using timber, we can achieve our carbon reductions NOW, and will keep the pressure on. But, we do recognise that achieving our goals nationwide will be a long journey, so actually having a roadmap for once is a useful first step.