Climate Change and the Construction Industry

Climate Change and the Construction Industry

02nd February 2015

We’ve been hearing a lot about climate change in recent months and, here in the UK, we’ve been seeing the effects for ourselves over the past few years.  We’ve had some pretty harsh winters and last summer was the warmest we’ve enjoyed for many years.  We’ve also seen flooding across the country on an almost unprecedented level.  Most of us have noticed quite a change in climate in our own lifetimes and a massive 15% of us in Britain reckon that climate change is a major threat.  It affects all of us, from presidents to popes, with Obama recently enlisting the pontiff’s help to highlight the need to protect the environment in the coming years.

Today, we’re taking a look at what climate change means for the construction industry.  In recent times, we’ve focused on reducing greenhouse gases and reducing our carbon footprint and the Climate Change Act was parliament’s way to help the UK meet its targets to reduce greenhouse gases by 80% by 2050.

With weather conditions likely to get worse before they get better, it’s essential that we take action now, not just to try to reverse climate change, but also to protect our homes, our businesses and our way of life from the adverse weather conditions that have caused so many problems and disruptions in recent years.

Businesses are likely to undergo five yearly assessments to ensure that they are doing everything necessary to reduce their impact on the environment.  This means taking a close look at current regulations in order to ensure compliance at all times. 

We will also need to improve our drainage systems here in the UK in order to reduce flooding wherever possible.  We’ve all been horrified at the scenes we’ve seen in the news reports with vast tracts of land underwater, homes being ruined and families being evacuated to safety.  We need to consider permeable paving for driveways, car parks and other areas – this allows the water to drain away much more effectively, reducing the risk of flooding.

We also need to consider the way in which houses and businesses are constructed – we need to reinforce walls, enlarge pipe works and use more efficient windows in future construction projects.  We need more research into how a building will behave under certain weather conditions so that we can avoid disaster wherever possible.

In short, we need to be rethinking the way in which we build – houses, businesses, schools, pavements and road surfaces – we need to be looking at innovative techniques and materials that will help us to build sustainable development that will stand the test of both time and weather in order face the future with confidence.

This means that the construction industry is likely to see a wide range of new techniques and materials being developed in the coming years as we strive to protect our homes, our towns and our cities from the effects of climate change.