Chief construction adviser Paul Morrell has unveiled the initial findings of his 40-year plan for a low-carbon construction industry.
Mr Morrell is leading the Low Carbon Construction Innovation and Growth Team in a study into how the construction industry can help lower carbon emissions.
Mr Morrell said the emerging findings highlight the challenge for the industry and its customers to work together in new ways to reduce costs, stimulate innovation and develop a clear proposition for low-carbon retrofit and new build. A key part of the announcement was that London will join Manchester as a designated Low Carbon Economic Area for energy efficient buildings.
The interim findings identify four major opportunities for the sector if the challenges and barriers are effectively addressed:
• to carry out a huge programme of work, stretched out over at least the next 40 years;
• to make use of that workload to reform the structure and practice of the industry;
• to export the products and skills of a modernised industry; and
• to excite future generations of potential recruits into an industry with a noble cause.
Secretary of State for Business Lord Mandelson said: “The construction industry is central to the UK meeting our carbon targets and I welcome the findings from the construction IGT which clearly show they are up to this challenge.
“As we have seen as part of our New Industry, New Jobs programme, there are huge business opportunities for growth and green jobs in the low-carbon economy which will benefit construction. To support the industry to take advantage of this we are also setting up a National Skills Academy for green building services.”
Mr Morrell said: “No one should underestimate the sheer scale of the opportunity the transition to a low-carbon economy will offer the construction industry. The requirement for low-carbon construction is probably the biggest change that the industry has faced since Victorian times.
“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 we all seek. The Emerging Findings are the first part of that process.
“They have set out the shape of the dialogue we need to have. I am looking forward to working with the industry and Government to build these into a construction industry-led delivery plan all are willing and able to commit to.”
The final report from the IGT will be presented to the Government at the end of 2010.