This week in the recipro office, we have been reading an interesting article in the National Federation of Builders excellent magazine, InSite. The article discusses the issue of sustainability in these troubled economic times. The first part follows here:
At this years Ecobuild conference and exhibition, the housing minister Margaret Beckett laid out some of the challenges facing her department and the industry in relation to climate change, zero carbon and planning communities.
The minister recognised the importance of balancing aspiration and ambitious target setting while not making unreasonable or unrealistic demands of the house building or construction industries. New build and existing stock each present a different set of challenges. Outside the decisions taken on a unit level, judgement has to be used on whether the technologies and techniques being used are appropriate for the location – how do homes being built fit into the development and the surrounding environment?
The pot of gold at the end of this particular rainbow is that proper planning and investment in sustainable construction can help create jobs, cut costs, reduce carbon emissions and reduce waste. However, this is still a niche market where fixed costs remain high because we have not yet begun to realise economies of scale, where there is still relatively little that is definitive because the industry is still learning about what works, and where whole life costs are not always taken into consideration.
The construction industry adapts and innovates to meet challenges; it always has. But this time, the challenges are different. The elephant in the room that is impossible to ignore is the credit crunch. How can the industry continue to build responsibly and sustain itself while keeping control of costs?
Obviously, we feel that recipro can play a huge part in helping to lower costs, whilst being sustainable in the construction industry. As supporters of the project, the NFB also believe this. Watch out for the second part of this article, coming soon!