Construction Sustainability Doesn’t Need to Cost (you/or) the Earth!

The subject of sustainability within Construction and Facilities Management is vast and complex. Huge strides have been made in terms of Social and Economic sustainability which, of course should be celebrated. The progress made within Environmental, although commendable, is not enough and the time to take action is now!

The Construction industry has a huge part to play in not only reducing the environmental cost of the ongoing impact of our activity on the world around us but, also reducing the environmental cost of creating the built environment surrounding us. It’s an issue that Procure4’s Property Expert, Ben Smith is passionate about.

An estimated 48% of the UK’s annual carbon emissions come from the built environment. Responsible clients and companies have sought to dramatically reduce their energy consumption in order to reduce operational costs.

“The vast majority of clients have moved to LED Lighting, factored in the energy consumption of their plant and equipment into investment decision making, and many strive to achieve BREAAM or SKA which is fantastic However, more radical action is needed and procurement can make a real impact through the deployment of alternative sourcing strategies and supply chain management techniques” said Ben.

“Most people would be concerned to learn that 32% of all UK landfill waste is driven by the Construction sector and, most horrifying of all is that it is estimated 13% of all products delivered to site are never used and sent to Landfill according to Technology Strategy Board (Innovate UK)”

“It’s a complex issue but, with a solid plan, a little risk shared across the supply chain and ultimately different ways of thinking, the changes individual companies implement will truly make a significant impact on the future of our planet”

So, here are Procure4’s three tips that won’t cost the earth, or indeed your business:


1.            Revive Your Tired Logistics Model

Consolidation and Reverse logistics is not a new concept, but it’s adoption in certain sectors has been slow because its perceived as complex or risky. But with the right planning and commercial arrangements it can deliver significant cost benefits, either through a reduction in wastage or a dramatic reduction in the number of deliveries to site, lower costs, reduced carbon emissions and increased efficiency.

At a simplistic level a consolation centre where suppliers deliver goods in bulk, which are then picked and delivered to site is a possible solution. The reverse being waste, unused materials or old equipment is removed from site simultaneously reducing emissions through the transport of goods, but also reducing the number of deliveries. Half a tin of paint, unused tiles from the box etc. are also sent back and then redistributed to the next site.

Whether it be a retail roll out or a construction job, the use of this model can deliver both cost savings and reduce the carbon impact.


2.            Revolutionise Your Design Thought Process

Build into design decisions sustainability at its very core. By selecting a material or finish not purely based upon the unit cost or it’s aesthetic, but based upon its longevity and the wider supply chain.

Buying an item locally or within the UK has its benefits but from a carbon perspective that’s only part of the story.  The materials for that one product may have travelled across the globe, the energy used to process it from its raw state into a material for use could be as high as 90% of the energy consumed in the overall process.

At Procure4 where possible, we work with manufactures throughout the supply chain to deliver products and introduce suppliers that mitigate this potential environmental impact, while still meeting the client’s requirements in full. 


3.            Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle

Sometimes the best ways to reduce costs are the simplest. When scoping a programme or job ask the three R’s. At a simplistic level - a chair, it’s old, a previous design standard and it’s clearly had a hard life.

  • Reuse -  Can it be refurbished off site and used to replace a broken chair within the estate?
  • Repurpose -  Is this of use to a charity, local community centre or local government?
  • Recycle -  Instead of placing it in a skip and not knowing it’s resting place, can we take control of its final resting place?

Using reclaimed or recycled materials for fit out is also very much ‘on-trend’. These materials, although in demand are often cheaper to source and install.

These three tips are just the start. To find out how conscious procurement can save your business costs, and the environment, speak to the Property Team at Procure4.

You will be surprised at how quickly we can create real value for your organisation through People Powered Procurement. Click here to contact us today.