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Building services declaration targets “paradigm shift” in carbon plans

BESA is seeking member support for improving uptake of whole life carbon modelling and better collaboration with architects, clients and engineers

Building services sector support is being sought for new construction industry-wide pledges to decarbonise buildings with a more holistic approach to their design and use.

The Building Services Engineers declaration seeks to introduce a “paradigm shift” in industry behaviours that can reduce the current impacts of construction and building services functions on climate change over fears of an irreversible and destructive shift in global temperatures.

Adoption of more regenerative design principles to ensure key building services functions, such as heating and cooling, can be introduced in line with the UK’s stated net zero carbon emissions are among recommendations backed in the declaration.

Another key call is for signees to adopt whole life and life cycle costing, as well as post-occupancy evaluation, as a basic part of any project to understand and mitigate carbon emissions at all aspects of a building’s life.

A need for improved collaboration with all stakeholders such as architects, engineers and contractors and clients is also urged in the declaration as a means to eliminate construction waste.

Signees of the declaration are asked, if any viable choice exists, to commit to upgrading existing buildings for extended use of more energy efficient and lower carbon alternatives, rather than demolishing a structure and building new properties.

Greater government financial support is also demanded in the declaration to ensure the viability ff industry efforts to rethink decarbonisation in a building.

Industry body BESA said it was among the backers of the declaration, which mirrors similar commitments backed by a range of large construction groups and engineering specialists such as Aecom, Mott Macdonald, Arup, WSP and Atkins.

BESA chief executive David Frise said the group’s members were now being asked to sign up to the declaration. The call is viewed as timely considering the UK government has committed with legislation to realising a national net zero target by 2050.

Mr Frise said, “The challenge of the declarations will be to translate them into meaningful action. If the professions responsible for delivering the practical solutions take the lead, the contractors will play their part”.

“We will, therefore, be encouraging all BESA members to sign up and embed these principles in their daily working practices.”

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