Confused policy hampers sustainable buildings

19 April 2007
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20 April 2007 | Paul Snell

A lack of responsibility for sustainable procurement among government departments is causing the public sector to miss targets on the sustainability of its buildings.

A report, Building for the future: sustainable construction and refurbishment on the government estate, released today by the National Audit Office (NAO), found 80 per cent of new or refurbished buildings would not meet government sustainability targets. These include maximising the use of sustainable materials and reducing energy consumption.

The study also said perceived conflict between value for money and sustainability meant value was being lost from the £3 billion investment in sustainable buildings. It also said use of OGCbuying.solutions' "quick wins", a list of sustainable products, was still not consistent in construction projects.

The NAO recommended the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs, the OGC and possibly the DTI ensure there is a clear understanding on the division of responsibilities that is expected. It also said the OGC should clarify its guidance on whole-life costing, to be used on all construction and refurbishment projects.

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