Who would have guessed that, with all the challenges facing our construction sector (health & safety, skills shortages, cost inflation to name but three) climate change would become
the main preoccupation?
The difference is that, unlike all the other problems, the clock is ticking on this one and if we don’t fix it in time the sky will fall in – metaphorically or maybe even literally.
There’s nothing like a deadline to focus the mind and the UK’s legal commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 is a big one. It is also less than 30 years away.
That is why there is so much work being done to remove carbon from the construction process – one of the biggest producers of greenhouse gas emissions.
But construction is also pretty good at missing deadlines: the bigger and more complicated the undertaking, the more likely it is to overrun. Hence, I doubt the UK will be net-zero by 2050.
But it won’t be for want of trying. Decarbonisation is woven like a thread through this issue of the magazine, from the efforts to clean up concrete (p49) and the call for energy-saving retrofit (p41) through to the now-routine claims made by equipment manufacturers such as in our Plantworx preview on p53.
Net-zero is front and centre wherever you turn and, deadline or not, no other challenge has produced such a frenzy of research and development in the construction sector.