Leaders from several major firms including developers Grosvenor, contractors BAM, architects Allies & Morrison, and global consultancy Arup are backing the need for embodied carbon to be regulated in the UK. This comes after a group of construction industry sustainability leaders launched a proposal for an amendment to the Building Regulations under the name of “Part Z”, in order to demonstrate a mechanism for introducing embodied carbon into law.
The authors, who include FCBStudios Associate Tim den Dekker, have published the proposed amendment and approved document online at www.part-z.uk, and are calling on industry leaders to visit the website and add their support for the need for embodied carbon regulation.
Peter Clegg, Senior Partner at FCBStudios said “Embodied carbon regulation is essential if we are to create a level playing field to enable the construction industry is to make its contribution to meeting our governments climate change targets over the crucial next decade. We can hope for carbon capture and a rollout of renewable energy, but any new building we build now will have released between 50 and 75% of its lifetime carbon before it is even occupied, so our focus has to be on the embodied carbon in construction. Regulation will help the industry focus on a new generation of low carbon materials.”
Will Arnold, lead author of the document and Head of Climate Action at the Institution of Structural Engineers added: “Over the last two years, developers, designers and contractors have come together from across construction to tackle the climate crisis at an unprecedented pace. We are ready for embodied carbon regulation and we hope that the government will engage with industry to introduce Part Z into law.”
The proposed amendment comes one month after the Climate Change Committee delivered their 2021 Progress Report to Parliament, recommending that the government sets out plans for phasing in mandatory whole life carbon reporting and limits for all buildings, roads and infrastructure by 2025.
The UK is in the unique position of already having most of the tools in circulation. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ whole life carbon assessment guidance document has been used as the industry standard since 2017, and a free to use Built Environment Carbon Database is currently being developed by the industry (www.becd.co.uk) in the hope of adoption by the government for Part Z assessments.
With such tools either in use or in development, and with both the private and public sector already assessing carbon on an increasing number of projects, it’s hoped that the government will see Part Z as an ‘easy win’ for the UK’s COP26 plans, and its roadmap to Net Zero.
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