The Supply Chain Sustainability Portal - What's it All About?

The Supply Chain Sustainability Portal - What's it All About?

19th November 2015

All of us who work in the construction industry will be aware of the shortage of skills in our sector – there have been plenty of news reports on this subject.   It’s an issue that we’re deeply aware of here at Safety Fabrications and one that we’ve covered in the past in our blog posts.  It’s a problem that was highlighted in a recent survey carried out by the British Chamber of Commerce and the skills gap is being blamed as one of the major causes of the recent decrease in output in the construction sector here in the UK. 

The UK government’s Code for Sustainable Homes provides a single national standard for the design and construction of sustainable new homes.  Having introduced policies in the National Planning Policy Framework to explain how developments should be planned to reduce carbon emissions and protect the environment, the UK government:

·         Requires local planning authorities to ensure that new developments are energy efficient

·         Requires all new homes to be zero carbon from 2016 and may extend this to include all other buildings from 2019

·         Introduced the green deal to help people pay for home improvements using savings on their energy bills

·         Improved Energy Performance Certificates in order to make them more user friendly and more informative.

As part of a strategy to address the shortage of skills, there’s now a free online tool that’s been designed to raise awareness of energy efficiency and sustainability in the house building sector.  It’s called the Supply Chain Sustainability Portal and has been created by the Supply Chain Sustainability School with funding from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) with the aim of making sure that the UK construction industry has the right skills to encourage growth.  With an increase in contractor clients demanding better standards of sustainability, contractors are including sustainability capability into their tenders.

Users carry out an initial self-assessment that provides them with a 10 point plan of study.  Training is then delivered through a combination of e-modules and workshops which are designed to develop their skills while also enabling the UK to meet environmental targets and increase growth in the house building sector.  It’s expected that the initiative will prove to be a resource that will help to maintain a focus on quality and efficiency throughout the supply chain as the UK government strives to achieve its target of building a million new homes by 2020.

Applying sustainability to the construction of homes is a crucial factor in tackling climate change and resource security according to sustainable architect, Duncan Baker Brown who was speaking at the launch of the new portal.  However, he warned that this initiative will only be successful if it has the support of agencies that support better education around these issues while creating networks of suppliers, providing materials, services and products that are necessary to fulfil these ideals.