The upgrade to low carbon of the UK’s built environment will provide 40 years worth of work for construction industry SMEs, according to a government report
Headed up by government construction tsar Paul Morrell, the study suggests an emerging retrofit industry could springboard into existence more than 200,000 small businesses.
Needed is a ‘quantum change’ in the industry’s response to the climate change challenge of reducing UK carbon emissions by 80 per cent before 2050.
However, Morrell has also advised government that it needs to work closely with industry to stimulate growth in the market for energy efficiency improvements in existing building stock.
He said: ‘There are no easy answers. Meeting the low carbon agenda is both a challenge and an opportunity for the construction industry.
‘I hope this report will mark the start of a detailed collaboration between industry and government to address this complex issue.’
Andrew Stunell, Communities Minister, said: ‘As we look to make building regulations easier to understand and follow, [Morrell’s] recommendations will certainly be worthy of serious consideration.
‘The Government wants to make it easier for house builders to go green. That’s why we’re already scrapping a myriad of regulations so the construction industry has one simple and concise set of guidelines for environmental assessments, making it user friendly, removing excessive red tape while also ensuring that the environment can be protected.’
John Alker of the UK Green Building Council welcomed the report and recognised the potential for architects to win work in the sector.
He said: ‘Architects have always been and will be one of the key players in the delivery of low carbon homes and buildings.’
He added: ‘The need for government to take a leadership position is the real challenge. [It] will require [the government] to intervene in the market which will be the only way for industry to deliver on this.
‘There has already been market failure on a grand scale.’