13 July 2021

Construction groups unite to hit net-zero target

The UK's Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), working as part of an international coalition of built environment professional groups, has jointly published for consultation the 'world’s first international standard for reporting carbon emissions across all areas of construction'.

© Brett Jordan

The consultation will seek input from industry on how to make sure carbon emissions factor directly into the extensive decision making that goes behind planning construction projects. This is to be followed with new RICS guidance on how to assess embodied carbon.

While RICS has also led a group of construction sector bodies in the development of an emissions database for logging the climate impact of all projects in the UK. Measuring carbon, and then logging and analysing the data will aid industry to move forward in lessening their environmental impact.

Under development  in partnership with BRE, CIOB, CIBSE, UKGBC, ICE, IStructE, RIBA and The Carbon Trust, the new built environment carbon emissions database will allow professionals to log construction projects – whether that’s new homes, offices, or infrastructure – when ready later this year.

The database will give an indication of how much carbon has been emitted during the manufacturing and construction process (the upfront embodied carbon), along with future maintenance, energy use and demolition, and enable designers to identify and avoid carbon-intensive products in favour of more sustainable materials that will help the UK get to net-zero by 2050.

Following the consultation, final standards are expected to be published in November 2021. This will form part of a toolkit for decision makers to minimise the carbon footprint of all construction projects.

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