InSite | Building Construction & The Environment

Building construction and the environment

Building construction and the environment by Gemma Devaney In Industry News

It is no secret that construction projects have an impact on our environment, whether it be as a result of the mining process to source materials, the transportation of these materials or the construction process itself. In recent years, an increased focus has been shifted on how the world’s leaders are planning to tackle climate change and environmental damage caused. Some experts believe the world has done very little to address climate change, however, is this really the case? As structural warranty providers, we look to the building construction industry in particular to learn more about its impact on the environment and what’s currently being done to tackle it. To find out more, continue reading.


Every construction project results in the emission of harmful gases, such as methane and carbon dioxide, which is known to make the Earth warmer over a long period of time, as well as other harmful waste products that pollute the air and contribute to climate change. The most harmful aspect of construction, however, is the operation of heavy machinery in mining projects, whereby raw materials are extracted from the Earth for use in projects. In addition to contributing to climate change on a global scale, construction projects can have an impact on local environments and nature, through water pollution, chemical spills, and general wastage.


Another major contributing factor is the use of materials. According to the UK Green Building Council, the construction industry uses over 400 million tonnes of material per year, many of which are known to have an adverse effect on the environment. One of the main areas of innovation in recent years to tackle this, however, has been the use of green building materials in new projects. Green materials are local and renewable from the ground, such as clay, sand, and stone, therefore, costs and environmental impacts can be reduced.


As well as tackling the use of materials, the construction industry is also doing its bit to reduce emissions moving forward. On 29th November, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark, confirmed an agreement to halve emissions in the built environment by 2025, as well as reduce the cost of construction by one-third.


It is clear to see that the industry is doing what it can to tackle global warming, however, in order to reduce the environmental effects of the construction industry further, a collaborative effort is required. Currently, legislators are working to create regulations surrounding construction waste management and many global firms are making the effort to limit the impacts of their construction projects. Through the Premier Guarantee Product Approval register we are working with numerous developers and manufacturers to approve the use of green building products in the UK Structural Warranty market, such as modular and panelised systems, which involve a lot less wastage compared to traditional methods.


Before climate change was focused on as a major issue, life may have seemed much simpler and easier for construction companies. Today, more and more firms are being asked to stomach the costs of proper recycling and more complex construction practices to ensure their offering is as environmentally-friendly as possible. 

The pressure is working, however, as many firms are stepping up to the plate in a bid to reduce costs and reduce the impact their projects are having on the world. This being said, further cooperation is required between firms, decision-makers, and the public in order to fund research for better methods. Working together is the only option to enable a brighter, more eco-friendly future for construction projects.