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Round Table: Setting a course for net-zero construction

Who is really responsible for effective delivery?

I had the privilege of recently chairing a virtual round table for Futurebuild on the subject of Setting a course for net-zero construction, but who is really responsible for effective delivery? I was fully prepared to hear a cross section of views on how, as an industry, we are planning to meet UK Government targets for net zero carbon in construction, and I wasn’t disappointed. I was blown away by the unanimous stance that as an industry collaboration is more important now than ever before. If there was ever a time when we need to become unified, it is now.

Climate change is a global emergency that goes beyond national borders. Investing in net-zero climate solutions creates universal value and reward.

Buildings account for more than one-third of global carbon emissions, it is therefore vital we prioritise net-zero buildings today to protect our planet and future generations.

So, what part does the construction industry have to play in this? As an industry we are placing our focus on building resilient buildings and infrastructure, adapting techniques and materials through greener construction methods and tapping into the renewable energy sector.

In this virtual session, it became very apparent that we must first educate on what net zero really means before we can take impactful actions. The government targets are a good start, but more effort is needed to clarify what, when and how.

Dr Vicky Hutchinson, Director of the Environment Practice at Atkins, made a strong case for the government having an important leadership role, and why we need stricter regulation. Clear government direction is more likely to attract the funding needed to drive innovation from private investors and developers and I fully agree. Buy-in from all parties is needed and funding is essential.

Collectively we discussed climate emergency problems and solutions, what’s coming next and who should be taking the lead.

You can read the full findings of the round table discussion on the Futurebuild website.

I’d like to say a big thank you to the wonderful contributors on our round table line up:

Leigh Hughes, CSR Director, Bouygues UK
Dr Vicky Hutchinson, Director of the Environment Practice, Atkins
Dr Oliver Jones, Research Director, Ryder Architecture
Elaine Lewis, Managing Director, Cadventure
David Mason, Environment Technical Director, Skanska
Colin Nicholson, Commercial Director, Airey Miller
Richard Twinn, Principal Consultant, Cundall