Changing the way things have always been done is a huge obstacle, especially in an industry that is traditionally slow to adopt new advancements in technology. These challenges, be it budget, policies or education, are all interconnected and need to be viewed holistically if the industry is to drive a greener future.
Although there have been movements of change in connected industries – for example, RIBA’s (Royal Institute of British Architects) 2030 Climate Challenge – the government has been slow in developing new policies to help the construction industry transition organisations onto a more sustainable path.
According to the UKGBC, embodied carbon from the construction and refurbishment of buildings currently makes up 20% of UK built environment emissions, yet they are currently unregulated and only typically measured on a voluntary basis. Without these regulations in place, it’s difficult for architects, builders and developers to understand what’s expected in terms of sustainability.
Additionally, a sustainable building usually requires more approvals and clearances, which means more time and often more financial resources are needed to create them. When you compare this with the ease and cost of using more traditional resources, and also consider the absence of incentives encouraging sustainable construction, it’s unsurprising that the industry has been slow to adopt circular approaches.