Public procurement key to low carbon construction

18 March 2010

18 March 2010 | Jake Kanter

The UK government must use its buying power to drive sustainability across the construction sector, according to the industry’s new ‘czar’.  

A review, led by the government’s chief construction adviser Paul Morrell, found 40 per cent of new builds are purchased by the public sector so it is a “powerful force for influence and change”.

It said procurement can help construction meet its carbon reduction commitments - a scheme introduced by the government to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 1.2 million tonnes of carbon by 2020.

The report, which contains interim findings ahead of a full review later this year, said through the “right procurement and contractual arrangements” a zero carbon building could be constructed at the same price as a standard building.

The chief construction adviser must work with the OGC to help departments put in place the right purchasing processes to guarantee this outcome, it said. Collaborative procurement and framework agreements will also be key.

“No one should underestimate the sheer scale of the opportunity the transition to a low carbon economy will offer the construction industry,” said Morrell.

“The industry and government need to rise to this challenge. Only by working together will the full benefits accrue to the UK economy and help drive the growth and new jobs.”

Construction sector insiders told SM last year that driving change in public sector procurement should be a priority for the government's construction czar.

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