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Future of Construction

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INDEPENDENT PUBLICATION BY 27 / 03 / 2016 #0367 raconteur.net Although this publication is funded through advertising and sponsorship, all editorial is without bias and spon- sored features are clearly labelled. For an upcoming schedule, partnership inquiries or feedback, please call +44 (0)20 8616 7400 or e-mail info@raconteur.net Raconteur is a leading publisher of special-interest content and research. Its publications and articles cover a wide range of topics, including business, finance, sustainability, healthcare, lifestyle and technology. Raconteur special reports are published exclusively in The Times and The Sunday Times as well as online at raconteur.net The information contained in this publication has been obtained from sources the Proprietors believe to be correct. However, no legal liability can be accepted for any errors. No part of this publication may be repro- duced without the prior consent of the Publisher. © Raconteur Media ELISABETH BRAW Europe correspond- ent at Newsweek, she writes regularly about sustainability for Guardian Sus- tainable Business. EMMA CRATES Regular contributor to The Construction Index and former features editor of Construction News, she specialises in in- novation in the built environment. CELESTINE CHEONG Freelance environ- ment communi- cations specialist, she writes for a range of business and environmental publications. FELICIA JACKSON Editor at large of Cleantech maga- zine and author of Conquering Carbon, she specialises in low-carbon economy. ALISON COLEMAN Writer and editor, she is a contribu- tor to Forbes, The Guardian, Director, Economia and Employee Benefits. JIM McCLELLAND Sustainable futur- ist, his specialisms include built envi- ronment, corporate social responsibil- ity and ecosystem services. MIKE SCOTT Freelance journal- ist, specialising in environment and business, he writes for the Financial Times, The Guard- ian and 2degrees Network. STEPHEN COUSINS Award-winning sus- tainable construction writer, he is a regular contributor to RIBA Journal, Modus mag- azine and Construc- tion Manager. DISTRIBUTED IN RESEARCH PARTNER BUSINESS CULTURE FINANCE HEALTHCARE LIFEST YLE SUSTAINABILIT Y TECHNOLOGY INFOGRAPHICS raconteur.net/future-of-construction-2016 RACONTEUR PUBLISHING MANAGER Nathan Wilson DIGITAL CONTENT MANAGER Sarah Allidina HEAD OF PRODUCTION Natalia Rosek DESIGN Samuele Motta Grant Chapman Kellie Jerrard PRODUCTION EDITOR Benjamin Chiou MANAGING EDITOR Peter Archer CONTRIBUTORS Ingenious solutions to the impact on buildings of climate change are redesigning lifestyles Digital technologies, including virtual reality, are revolutionising the way buildings are made Billionaires are building basements in posh London, but going underground poses problems REBUILDING UK'S RUN-DOWN URBAN LANDSCAPES ADAPTING BUILDINGS TO CHANGING WEATHER MERGING THE PHYSICAL AND VIRTUAL WORLDS ONLY WAY IS DOWN WHEN YOU CAN'T BUILD UP The regeneration of towns and cities is entering an era of transformation 03 05 06 08 FUTURE OF CONSTRUCTION Construction is facing a new era of green builds As the UK construction industry strives to rebuild itself to deliver the new homes and infrastructure the country needs, new money and new metrics apply OVERVIEW JIM McCLELLAND I t's the economy, stupid!" Given that we are in the middle of the presidential primaries in the Unit- ed States, the classic campaign slogan of the Bill Clinton era offers an apt retort when asked to name the factor most likely to shape the future of construction. In the modern marketplace of 2016, howev - er, that answer arguably only begs another question: "Which one?" In an industry notorious for putting cost ahead of anything else, money is no longer what it was; no longer the only trade cur - rency. This is because construction also op- erates now in a number of new and emerging growth economies – the low-carbon econo - my, circular economy and digital economy – where value is not counted exclusively in cash. In political terms, construction made one key new economy debut on the world stage in Paris, last year. On December 3, the first-ever Buildings Day took place at the COP21 climate change negotiations, in - itiated by the World Green Building Coun- cil (WGBC), United Nations Environment Programme, France and other partners. For the industry, this laid down a major economic marker, explains WGBC chief ex - ecutive Terri Wills. "Buildings Day was global recognition that growth in construction need not come at the expense of the environment, and that the industry can actually thrive eco - nomically through more innovative and responsible approaches that address cli- mate change," she says. "The Paris agreement is the strongest signal yet that a low-carbon economy is in- evitable. For construction companies, that means taking a leading approach to green buildings or risk being left behind as mar- kets shift." Paris was no mere public relations stunt for construction. Commitments were made to register, renovate or certify more than 1.25 billion square metres of green build - ings – almost double the size of Singapore – over the next five years. At present, the building sector is said to represent 30 per cent of global CO 2 emissions and playing its part in limiting global warming to two degrees will mean a reduction of 84 giga - tonnes of CO 2 by 2050, despite population grow th and urbani- sation – the equiva- lent of not building 22,000 coal-powered energy plants. Numbers on the delivery side are en - couraging, though, with figures from Dodge Data & Analytics showing global green building continues to double every three years. In many ways, this global megatrend should play to the strengths of UK construction in particular. "The UK is undoubtedly a mature market for green building, ranking highly in global indices. Leading companies now re - alise the strong economic, social and envi- ronmental benefits," says Ms Wills. While UK construction might be in the vanguard of low-carbon economy mar- kets, its investment in the circular econ- omy is less advanced, in the opinion of Duncan Baker-Brown, an architect at BBM Leading companies now realise the strong economic, social and environmental benefits of green building wards mainland Europe, to Belgium and the Netherlands." For Munish Datta, head of Marks & Spen- cer's Plan A sustainability programme, the challenge of new economies going forward lies in the need to scale operations and make best use of current capabilities – ef - fectively doing more with what we have. "Most of the technology the construction industry requires to harness a more envi- ronmentally and economically sustainable future exists today. Bringing innovators together with building designers, con- structors and occupants is key," he says. For M&S, initiatives such as the Big In- novation Pitch run with leading industry event Ecobuild, offer the high street retail- er the chance to engage direct with the cur- rent crop of innovators and UK small and medium-sized enterprises Mr Datta is a lso excited about cross-dis- ciplinar y digita l economy hook-ups he sees happening. "Pockets of the con- str uction industr y are star ting to har- ness creative solutions that are digita lly minded, for example the Digita l Catapult Big Data Exchange and Building Infor- mation Modelling (BIM). They're a lso using climate science to mitigate future risks, adapting buildings to f looding or overheating," he says. Change is coming, like it or not, insists Guy Hammersley, executive director of the Building Research Establishment and BRE group director for BIM, who speaks frankly about the industry's lack of options. "The digital revolution is here in every aspect of our lives. I am reminded of a strapline from the 1990s: Innovate or Liquidate – if we don't embrace change, then the outcome is inevitable," he says. "What I do see in the UK is a real impet - uous by innovative companies to embrace BIM, aided by the government mandate and driving change which may well make the UK a global leader." Such forward momentum offers a much-needed boost to market confidence in UK construction capacity and skills, concludes London sustainable develop - ment commissioner Paul Toyne. "The sector needs to show investors that it is a competitive 21st-century industry embracing the use of digital tools, innova - tion and collaboration to deliver the best solutions for customers and their end-us- ers," says Dr Toyne. Whether contributing to the £92-billion annual industry output on smart cities or high-speed infrastructure, via off-site methodologies or ethical sourcing, the three million employed in UK construc - tion now operate in a multi-economy age, whatever their job title. This is a world where waste, carbon and data are the new money; circularity, efficiency and connec - tivity are the new metrics. It is still con- struction, only better. Share this article online via raconteur.net UK CONSTRUCTION OUTPUT GROWTH Source: Markit/CIPS 2016 Sustainable Design and senior lecturer at the University of Brighton. Responsible for the radical Brighton Waste House, Mr Baker-Brown is writing a book entitled The Re-Use Atlas: A Designer's Guide Towards the Circular Economy and views UK perfor - mance thus far as a positive start, but only a qualified success. "I have found a number of inspiring case studies in the UK – Carmody Groarke's Maggie's Centre, LYN Atelier's Hub 67 – as well as organisations such as Recipro that redistribute unwanted construction mate - rial," he says. "Top-tier contractors also appear to be receptive to the concept, with networks emerging such as the Supply Chain Sus - tainability School underlining this point. However, if you want to find real cut- ting-edge examples of 'cradle-to-cradle' construction, then you need to look to- UK construction purchasing managers' index, where 50 separates growth and contraction Growth slowed to a ten-month low in February 2016, led by the weakest rise in housing activity since June 2013 2006 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016

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