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Sustainable construction strategy unveiled

The building industry is aiming to reduce work-related deaths by 10 per cent year on year after this week’s launch of the joint industry/government Strategy for Sustainable Construction.

The plan includes targets to improve the productivity, efficiency and sustainability of UK construction.

Targets include recruiting 230,000 additional trained construction workers by 2010, cutting the number of work-related deaths, supplying an extra 13,500 apprenticeship placements by 2010 and ensuring 25 per cent of materials used in construction projects are responsibly sourced by 2012.

Business minister Shriti Vadera said: “With the current pressures such as the cost of fuel presenting an extra challenge for the industry, it is even more important that we encourage the sector to perform as efficiently and sustainably as possible.

“Improvements in these areas will save costs and increase profitability in the long term.

“This strategy will provide greater certainty over what is expected from the sector in future, from training and developing skills to tackling the challenges of climate change.”

To coincide with the launch of the strategy, the Strategic Forum for Construction published its Construction Commitments  to promote best practice, plus four-year targets to ensure their delivery.

The forum includes the Construction Industry Council, Construction Confederation, the National Specialist Contractors Council/ Specialist Engineering Contractors Group and the TUC.

Key government departments have already signed up to the commitments, which include best practice on procurement, such as collaborative working across the supply chain and whole-life costing.

Mike Davies, forum chairman, said: “I have been really encouraged by the way that industry and the Government have worked together to develop this strategy.”

Paul King, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, welcomed the strategy, but added: “This can only be the first step. We need to see a ramping up of ambition, within government and across the industry.”