In her recent article, Kirsty Shearer, development director of Pan-European construction and fit-out specialist at Agilité Solutions, discusses the question of sustainability in construction. Despite the recent prevalence of the importance of sustainability in industry, Kirsty poses the question of whether this principle be a lasting topic of conversation and concern, or just ‘another corporate buzzword.’
See below for the full article.
Sustainability in construction – just another a corporate buzzword?
There’s no escaping the fact that sustainability has well-and-truly found itself a seat at the boardroom table. Even prior to the events of 2020, clients presented briefs which centred around a project’s carbon footprint – but is the notion of sustainability a longstanding principle that’s here to stay, or just another corporate buzzword?
Of course, the ability to develop a sustainable design solution is only ever going to be as strong as those setting the brief, outlining the budget, and making the final decisions. But, when considering sustainability within the built environment, it’s important to look beyond the physical elements of construction.
It’s clear the ambition to curate holistic design is on the up – and we need to be creating commercial spaces which fit the bill in terms of function, form, and wellbeing.
While an overnight shift to homeworking gave the commercial landscape a complete shake-up, it also forced employees to consider what they want from their career, employer, and place of work. The requirement to create a workspace that answers the needs of all who use it – be that retail, leisure, hospitality, or office staff – is firmly at the top of many priority lists.
Including a nod to sustainability in your company’s value proposition should hopefully be a given, but bringing those ideas to life rests firmly on the shoulders of the people who live and breathe them. Therefore, building your recruitment strategy around finding candidates who share your way of thinking, is key.
Company leaders should not simply look to fill vacancies with people who have the right qualifications, experience, or background – there are plenty of capable people out there. Rather, make it a priority to employ rounded individuals who are open-minded about bringing something new to the table, and truly embrace the opportunity to push the envelope while driving positive change.
Simply recruiting someone based on their ESG commitments isn’t where investment should start and end, though. Offering continued training around what it means to be sustainable to colleagues – perhaps through CPD-accredited courses – will pay dividends in the long run.
Switching lengthy proposal documents for concise PDFs, embracing 360-degree photographic reports, and implementing virtual walkthroughs and handovers are all solutions which are here to stay. And, to take that one step further in terms of operations, consider the potential of using green power to heat offices and reducing non-essential travel, and offsetting the environmental cost of commuting – both in-country and overseas.
Of course, as a global population – never mind industry – we still have a long way to go. But as the people behind buildings which might outlive us all, it’s our responsibility to create them with the future firmly in mind.