The National Federation of Builders’ (NFB) has called on the construction sector and any future Government, to act now if they are to meet the 2050 zero carbon target. With construction directly influencing 47% of UK carbon emissions and 61% of UK waste, the sector is a critical part of the radical change needed.
The NFB Major Contractors Group (MCG) launched its ‘Transforming Construction for a Low Carbon Future’ report, warning that the construction industry must be transformed within a generation, otherwise it will have failed the country and the Government will fail in its zero carbon ambitions.
Speaking at the launch, NFB’s Chairman, Nick Sangwin, said, “This report is not a document to sit on shelves gathering dust, it is designed to galvanise the sector into action, to see the opportunities and to lead the way towards zero carbon by 2050. It is critical that those within the construction sector are stepping forward and implementing a real step-change in the way they do business.”
Mark Wakeford, Chair of the NFB’s Major Contractors Group, commented: “The year 2050 might seem a long time away but it’s really not much time to radically change our industry. We must start now and the Government, in whatever guise they return, must lead the way and make this a firm priority post-election. Anyone still operating the same way as they are today in 20 years’ time will be lucky to still be in business. There are no excuses: Government, contractors, the supply chain, manufacturers, designers and the trades must all embrace the challenge now, as highlighted in our recommendations.
“To make this happen, domestic housing requires a Government spend of £15 billion a year, industrial and commercial property and infrastructure requires up to £10 billion a year, flood defences £1 billion a year, and the power sector £20 billion a year. But it’s about more than just money: the transformation required in the construction industry is multi-faceted and it is critical that Industry and Government take a joined-up approach to bring together developments in skills, procurement, design, products and materials, transport and more.
“The report we are launching is a call-to-arms, we’re telling the Government and the industry alike to wake up to the reality of zero carbon and act now.”
While the Report warns against the risks of not acting now, it also spells out the huge opportunities that exist across the sector, including domestic, industrial, flood defence, the power sector and transport. It looks at funding streams, the transformation of skills, procurement and design, and innovative approaches to reducing carbon emissions and waste. The report has contributions from a wide range of organisations with an interest in the sector, including: the CBI, the CITB, Constructing Excellence, the Institution of Civil Engineers, Laing O’Rourke and Nottingham City Council.
Find the interactive report at https://www.builders.org.uk/nfb-groups/nfb-major-contractors-group/mcg-carbon-report-november-2019/
NFB has reacted to the Government’s recent announcement of the successful contractors to win places on the £30bn framework for public sector construction. Chief Executive, Richard Beresford, commented:
“What’s disappointing is that despite the Government knowing how late payment can seriously damage smaller businesses, as many NFB members will testify, these awards show that late payers are still winning public sector contracts. With small businesses paying the price for the Government’s inaction, the Crown Commercial Service must ensure that that it champions best practice and doesn’t give late payment another free pass.
“Despite small and medium-sized enterprises training four in five construction apprentices, being the UK’s predominant rural employers and making up 99% of the construction industry, only 44% of contract winners were SMEs. While this is an improvement on recent years, with seven lots still to be awarded, the Government must do more to make sure a greater number of construction SMEs are able to compete for work.”