Distribution logistics for sustainable supply chains

Making a sustainable supply chain

There is a growing demand across all industries to make supply chains more sustainable but doing so is a lot easier said than done and can often come at great costs. Stakeholders, investors, governments and even customers are now demanding more than ever that businesses are as environmentally friendly as possible and having a sustainable supply chain is a huge step towards reducing the impact a business has on the environment.

What is a sustainable supply chain?

When people refer to having a sustainable supply chain, they are normally refer to an organisation that consider the environmental and human impact of their products’ journey through the supply chain, from raw materials sourcing to production, storage, delivery and every transportation link in between. Areas to look at are energy usage, water consumption and waste production while having a positive impact on the people and communities in and around their operations

What are the benefits of a sustainable supply chain?

Sustainable construction / Wind Turbine Farm

The backing for sustainable supply chains is growing, more evidence is coming out all the time about the benefits which include reduced costs after start up, conserving resources, optimising processes, uncovering product innovations, increased productivity and promoted corporate values.

In most cases an organisations supply chain is the biggest driver in their environmental footprint. Supply chains often involve energy-intensive production and transportation as goods are made and moved around. This means that organisations can make the biggest difference in their environmental output by making changes to their supply chain rather than other business operations.

It might win you more business. Lots of clients are now looking at the sustainability of the businesses they are working with as they are demanding higher standards of environmental management.

Use accreditations to support your business.

Obtaining an Internationally recognised standards, such as ISO 14001 can provide clients with evidence of your commitment to reducing your environmental footprint. ISO 14001 is a management system that helps you identify gaps in your business where you could make green efficiency savings and is often a requirement in business tenders.

Depending on the size of your business, you may not be required to have an ISO. There are however more affordable options that are better suited to smaller contractors. SMAS Worksafe are a registered member with SSIP, which is a health & safety accreditation, but we are also able to review environmental documentation you might have. Find out more about our packages and how they could help your business with showing off your compliance.

What challenges do organisations face?

Biofuel drums / sustainable supply chain

There are plenty of hurdles in making a sustainable supply chain. Firstly, supply chains can often be very complex and involve people and organisations in different areas of a country or even overseas. This makes it incredibly difficult to pass messages and training onto all areas of a supply chain and make sure that everyone involved is doing their bit to improve sustainability.

Secondly is the cost, changing process and materials is often costly for businesses and the more environmentally friendly materials and process often come at a premium cost. Setting up new pipelines, sourcing new materials, setting up training etc is likely to cause significant upfront costs to a business however these processes may end up saving you money in the long term. But it’s hard for businesses to be certain that the upfront cost is an investment worth making.

In a 2018, a report from Economist Intelligence Unit and LLamasoft found that 38% of companies felt higher costs make it harder to adopt sustainable supply chains. Other options that were causing difficulty were monitoring complex supply chains (29%), organisational structure (24%) while lack of customer interest (20%) and lack of expertise (18%) were other factors behind not moving towards a more sustainable supply chain.

Construction Worker Using Drill To Install Window

Construction expected to surge but what trades will be in demand?

Following a slower year for construction in 2021 following the Coronavirus pandemic, the construction industry has returned to full swing and is expected to surge over the next 5 years which according to the CSN industry outlook could see a 4.4% yearly growth rate requiring over 200,000 more workers in that period to meet the demands.

The construction is expected to be infrastructure and new housing, whilst repairing and updating old homes will also make up a large part of the work required. In 2019 the UK government set the target of becoming carbon net-zero by 2050 and have announced this year that they hope to cut emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels, which would take them over three-quarters of the way to reaching the 2050 target.

Construction infrastructure

The goal is seen as one of the most ambitious climate change targets ever and as part of this initiative all homes and businesses will have to meet rigorous new energy efficiency standards to lower energy consumption and bills, helping to protect the environment.

These new standards include radically improving the energy performance of new homes with low carbon heating, reduce emissions and be zero carbon ready by 2025. This would see roughly a 75-80% reduction in carbon emissions to the current level of housing and older housing will be modernised with there being a significant improvement on the standard for extensions, making homes warmer and reducing bills. The requirement for replacement, repairs and parts to be more energy efficient, including windows and building services such as heat pumps and fixed lighting.

With these ambitious targets in place there is going to be a huge demand on workforce to carry out the changes. This does however represent a huge opportunity for construction to modernise, attract a more diverse talent pool and up skill its existing workforce but is a tough ask with many businesses still suffering from the effects of the pandemic.

On top of this commercial demand there is huge demand for trades people in residential homes following the shutdown caused by the pandemic, with lots of people looking to refresh their homes with extra money they might have due to the lockdown or simply wanting to update the home they have been confined to for much of 2020 and 2021.

But with all this construction planned, what trades are likely to see the highest demand?

Interior renovation, construction

It is expected that all trades will see higher demands over the coming 5 years, but with the targets for reducing CO2 emissions set by the government, there will be a need for workers to understand the modernisation that will help to meet these goals.

Infrastructure and house building are the two main areas that will see the biggest investment over the coming 5 years. Projects like HS2 will lead to growth in those regions and the maintenance of existing property to meet the governments CO2 goals will also be a large contributor to the demand for work.

According to CSN, the most in demand trades are forecast to be in wood trades & interior fit-out (5,500 per year), other construction professionals and technical staff (5,150), construction managers (3,600) and electrical installation trades and (3,400). There will also be a demand for non-construction, office-based professional, technical and IT support staff (7,850).

After a tough year for construction, there is light at the end of the tunnel as we return to normal working life and set out on reaching the goals for a sustainable future and hitting net-zero targets.

Work with harmful materials. Shadow DOF. Developed from RAW; retouched with special care and attention; Small amount of grain added for best final impression. 16 bit Adobe RGB color profile.

Regulations and legislation for hazardous substances

Hazardous substances are commonly used in the workplace but what are the regulations and legislation that you should be following to make sure that any risk to your workers are reduced or dealt with.

When it comes to hazardous substances there are 3 main pieces of legislation that you should be aware of. These are as follows:

  • Control of substances hazardous to health (COSHH)
  • Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR)
  • The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012

COSHH:

Work with harmful materials. Shadow DOF. Developed from RAW; retouched with special care and attention; Small amount of grain added for best final impression.

COSHH is the law that requires an employer to control substances that could be hazardous to health, and this includes nano-materials. Here are a list of bullet points you can work through to help with reducing risks involved with using hazardous substances:

  • finding out what the health hazards are
  • deciding how to prevent harm to health (risk assessment)
  • providing control measures to reduce harm to health
  • making sure they are used
  • keeping all control measures in good working order
  • providing information, instruction and training for employees and others
  • providing monitoring and health surveillance in appropriate cases
  • planning for emergencies.

Most businesses will use substances or materials made from several substances that could cause harm to employees, customers, or the public. Not all hazardous substances are marked and obvious so make sure to check any new products you might use, and risk assess the accordingly.

Further information can be found on HSE’s COSHH website.

DSEAR:

Metallurgical plant, hot metal casting

DSEAR requires an employer to control the risks of fire and explosions.

Dangerous substances can put those who come into contact with that environment at great risk. This could be customers, employees, or the public. DSEAR puts the responsibility on the employer or those who are self-employed to make sure that all risks to those who could be harmed are suitably controlled.

Dangerous substances include anything used or present at work that could, if not properly controlled, cause harm to people as a result of a fire or explosion or corrosion of metal. They can be found in nearly all workplaces and include such things as solvents, paints, varnishes, flammable gases, such as liquid petroleum gas (LPG), dusts from machining and sanding operations, dusts from foodstuffs, pressurised gases, and substances corrosive to metal.

Employers must:

  • find out what dangerous substances are in their workplace and what the risks are
  • put control measures in place to either remove those risks or, where this is not possible, control them
  • put controls in place to reduce the effects of any incidents involving dangerous substances
  • prepare plans and procedures to deal with accidents, incidents and emergencies involving dangerous substances
  • make sure employees are properly informed about and trained to control or deal with the risks from the dangerous substances
  • identify and classify areas of the workplace where explosive atmospheres may occur and avoid ignition sources (from unprotected equipment, for example) in those areas

The Control of Asbestos Regulations:

Man clearing asbestos from old roof / Hazardous substances

The control of asbestos regulations came into place on April 6 2012, and were released to update the previous regulations to take into account the European Commission’s view that the UK had not fully implemented the EU Directive on exposure to asbestos (Directive 2009/148/EC).

Asbestos is responsible for almost 4000 deaths per year in the UK. It was used in a range of building but was commonly used in commercial buildings that were constructed before the year 2000.

The legislation now states that the “duty holder”(who is responsible for the building, so may be the owner or the person in charge of maintenance) must conduct an assessment as to whether the building contains asbestos. If asbestos is present but in good condition and undisturbed it can be left but will need to be closely monitored to avoid it becoming an issue. If asbestos is found within the property and has been disturbed, then you will need to have it removed. Anyone carrying out the work should be properly trained in handling the material and should be aware of the risks involved.

Summary:

COSHH, DSEAR and the control of asbestos are all important when it comes to keeping your workforce safe from hazardous substances and other laws such as the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 set out the responsibility for employers to protect their workers and the public from the effects of exposure to hazardous substances.

Risk assessment management process

How to write your risk assessment

A risk assessment is a useful tool to help employers meet their responsibility of making sure that their staff, the public and anyone else coming into contact with their site or workplace is safe and secure. Risk assessments allow employers to highlight the dangers that people may face and puts in place measures to reduce or in some cases completely remove the risks.

Risk assessments help employers to take control of risks. There is a lot of pressure and responsibility on employers to make sure all those who enter the environment they’re responsible for is safe and risk assessments are the foundation of spotting and reducing any risk.

It is also a legal requirement for any business that employs more than 5 people to hold a valid risks assessment. It is important that risk assessments are carried out and recorded thoroughly as they form the basis for health and safety policies and procedures.

What are risk assessment templates?

Risk assessment templates are an effective risk management tool. They normally come in the form of a document that breaks the full assessment down into different stages with space for you to record hazards and the people who are at risk.

Templates will also include a risk matrix – these are simply so you can record the level of risk and the likelihood of the risk happening. Once you have identified and evaluated the risks the template will direct you to record the existing control measures and any other measures that could be put in place to reduce the risks.

Do you need to use a template?

No, there is no requirement for an organisation to use a risk assessment template, they are simply there to help guide those who are unsure through the initial processes. You can create your own structure for carrying out and recording assessments, the templates are just there to make it easier for those who may be unsure.

Templates may help you save time and normally are structured in a way that makes it easy to record your findings and therefore easier for those in the business you’re sharing it with to understand.

What to watch out for when writing your risk assessment

If you’re using templates to write your risk assessment it is important not to copy the example answers and findings that may already be filled in.

The risk assessment needs to be your own, as every business will have slightly different risks and likelihoods. Copying a risk assessment will not only be no help for your business but it also won’t meet any of the legal requirements.

How should a risk assessment be structured?

Risk assessment management process

There is no one structure fits all when it comes to producing a risk assessment, which is often why you will find varying templates for different industries. Your risk assessment will vary depending on the work you carry out, the size of your business, the materials you use and the legislation you need to comply with.

Risk assessments for new workplaces or businesses may also differ from assessments carried out in areas that have been previously assessed.

However, you will need to follow the steps below:

  1. Identify the hazards
  2. Consider who is at risk
  3. Evaluate risks and the actions to control them
  4. Record findings
  5. Regular review of risks assessments

How to find templates

If you’re not sure how to structure your risk assessments or where to find the correct template for your business SMAS Worksafe can offer you guidance and support.

Our templates allow you to complete your assessments to a high standard and record findings in a clear manner. SMAS Worksafe members can download our risk assessment form via our portal. Members will also have access to various other templates to help with your businesses environmental, quality, anti-bribery and financial standing policies.

You can also download and view risk assessment templates and examples on the HSE website.

A variety of signs on a construction site fence.

Accreditations in construction, which ones do you need?

Accreditations in construction. Which ones do you need?

There are various types of accreditations in construction and knowing which ones your businesses needs to hold can confusing. There are various kinds of accreditation for those in construction, varying across different aspects of the business such as, health & safety, environmental, quality management etc. 

It is not uncommon for accreditations to be a requirement that is asked for during the tendering process, whilst others may not be required but can be a huge benefit to your businesses reputation. 

In this article we will go through the most common types of accreditation for those in the construction industry, where they are required and what kind of businesses would benefit from having them. 

SSIP

SSIP (Safety Scheme in Procurement) is a standard for health & Safety recognised throughout the UK. It is commonly requested by those within the house building industry but can be used for any sector to show health & safety compliance. 

SSIP is completed online and will not require any on site auditing in order for you to pass. Depending on the member scheme you choose the number of questions may vary but for all schemes you will need to meet the core criteria

If you are required to hold an SSIP certificate, SMAS Worksafe can help you to become accredited. For more information visit our packages page

CSCS

CSCS cards provide proof that individuals working on construction sites have the appropriate training and qualifications for the job they do on site. By ensuring the workforce are appropriately qualified the card plays its part in improving standards and safety on UK construction sites.

Holding a CSCS card is not a legislative requirement. It is entirely up to the principal contractor or client whether workers are required to hold a card before they are allowed on site. However, most principal contractors and major house builders require construction workers on their sites to hold a valid card.

CPCS

CPCS (Construction Plant Competence Scheme) is a card scheme that was devised to prove the skills of plant operators. It’s based on a combination of professional competence and health and safety awareness – both essential qualities for plant operators.

All Build UK sites will require you to show your CPCS card and it is being enforced by most employers to show their skills. In some cases an employer might not ask for a CPCS card and certification may be enough to prove your skills. 

ECS

The Electrotechnical Certification Scheme (ECS) is the sole ID and competence card scheme for electrotechnical operatives in the UK and is recognised and endorsed by the industry.

Holding an ECS card proves your qualification status, main electrical occupation, identity, your health and safety awareness, as well as any additional disciplines in which you are skilled to work.

ECS is a partner of the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS), so anyone in an electrotechnical-related occupation who’s told ‘you need a CSCS card’ will likely need to provide a ECS card.  

SSSTS

Site Supervision Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) is a course is designed for workers who are set to take on supervisory responsibility at an organisation and need official training and qualifications for the role. 

The course will help individuals to understand: 

  1. health and safety law and how it applies to supervisors
  2. your supervisory responsibilities in controlling site safely
  3. risk assessments and the need for method statements
  4. effective site inductions, toolbox talks and method statement briefings
  5. monitoring site activities effectively
  6. timely intervention when bad practice is identified.

Once passed, the certificate will last for 5 years and you will then need to take a refresher course (SSSTS-R) to maintain certification. If your initial certificate expires you will be required to retake the full course.

SMSTS

The Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) is an industry recognised course providing companies who need to meet the ever increasing demand for evidence of health and safety compliance with all the relevant knowledge to meet today’s legislative demands.

The course will give you a full understanding of: 

  1. how to implement all health, safety, welfare and environmental legislation affecting your daily work
  2. how to set up new guidance and industry best practice
  3. your duties and responsibilities with regards to health, safety, welfare and the environment

Once passed, the certificate will last for 5 years and you will then need to take a refresher course (SMSTS-R) to maintain certification. If your initial certificate expires you will be required to retake the full course.  

ISO 14001

ISO 14001 helps businesses of all sizes across all sectors make their day to day operations more sustainable. Sustainability can ultimately save money, improve brand reputation, engage employees and build resilience against uncertainty as well as the ability to rapidly adapt to change. 

Designed for any type of organisation, regardless of its activity or sector, it can provide assurance to company management and employees as well as external stakeholders that environmental impact is being measured and improved.

An ISO is not a require but is recommended for any business that wants to set up, improve and  then maintain an environmental management system to conform with industry regulations and requirements. 

If you are interested or require help with an ISO 140001, you can go to our sister company QMS who will help you meet the criteria and guide you through the process. 

ISO 9001

ISO 9001 is the internationally recognised Quality Management System (QMS) standard that can benefit any size organisation. Designed to be a powerful business improvement tool. 

This standard is based on a number of quality management principles including a strong customer focus, the motivation and implication of top management, the process approach and continual improvement. 

While no company needs an ISO, they may see the benefits of having one when tendering for work. 

If you are interested or require help with an ISO 9001, you can go to our sister company QMS who will help you meet the criteria and guide you through the process. 

Lots of aspects from ISO 9001 can be transferred into ISO 14001. Combining the management systems can increase focus and remove any room for confusion. 

Responsibilities for the combined standards might include:

  1. Drafting a policy statement and quantifiable objectives
  2. Setting up organisational charts and job descriptions
  3. Providing adequate resources
  4. Managing documentation for both standards in a single document control system
  5. Appointing a management representative as well as coordinators for the quality and environmental managements systems

When adding ISO 14001 components to those of ISO 9001, planning must be expanded to deal with environmental impacts, and the inspection and test systems modified to cover environmental conformance. The organisation must meet the environmental expectations of customers and the government, and it must incorporate environmental management elements into internal audit programs and training sessions.

CAS

The Common Assessment Standard is an accreditation designed to standardise the pre-qualification process, helping both clients and contractors improve supply chain efficiency, reduce supply chain risks, and find reliable business opportunities.

Launched by Build UK with the support of CECA in 2019, the Common Assessment Standard has fast become the construction industry’s gold standard for pre-qualification.

The standard is available for all businesses sizes and helps contractors to display compliance across wider criteria such as environmental, financial standings and modern slavery. 

PAS 91

PAS 91 is a standardised pre-qualification questionnaire which has been developed to reduce the need for suppliers to complete a variety of different pre-qualification questionnaires for different, and in some cases, the same clients.

Developed by the British Standards Institute (BSI), the question set has been commissioned by Government and is a recommended common minimum standard for construction procurement.

PAS 91 was originally introduced as mandatory for central government contractors but is now recommended for all principal contractors. 

Asbestos Awareness

Asbestos awareness training should be taken out by anyone that may come into contact with asbestos during the course of any work that they undertake, not just for those who will remove asbestos.

For those that may come into contract with asbestos, this would only need to be asbestos awareness training as opposed to the more detailed training for those that carry out unlicensed or licensed work on asbestos.

If you’re looking for asbestos training visit our partners UKATA. They are a leading asbestos training authority with training centre all over the UK. 

Construction work at night / road workers

Construction in the dark

Construction in the dark is a task that many construction workers in the UK are likely to have face at some point in their careers. This could be to undertake road works during the night or in winter when the daylight hours are shorter and those working past 5PM are forced into working in low light and darker conditions.

Working in the dark is therefore commonplace in the UK but that does not diminish the risks the workers face whilst working in poor visibility and employers and site managers should make sure that their workforce is equipped for working in dark conditions.

Worker risks:

worker using jackhammer / Working at night

One area that needs to be considered when workers are operating in the dark is that they are less likely to be alert to dangers. A lack of light will obviously lead to poorer vision, this requires greater concentration for the person to focus on the task, these risks are likely to be magnified in high-risk situations where concentration is key or with tasks that require high attention to detail.

For those that are working nightshifts, especially those that are strung together, fatigue can be another cause of increased risk. Often workers will offer to work nights to allow them more time with families or to free up their day for leisure. This however can lead to them being extremely fatigued whilst working. It’s important that those who work nights do their best to get the same amount of sleep during the day as they would on a normal evening. Creating a quiet, dark room for sleeping during the day will help improve their ability to sleep during the day and reduce the risk of fatigue during working hours.

Vehicles & Machinery:

Orange excavator digger working at night on the street

The next area of risk is perhaps the most serious. Using vehicles and machinery in low light greatly increases the risk to the operator and those around them. Most vehicles have blind spots and those used in construction often suffer from this hindrance to a greater extent due to their shape and sometimes the equipment they’re carrying.

All these issues are magnified when working in poor visibility and therefore making sure all workers are alert and wearing high visibility clothing is crucial to helping the driver spot fellow workers.

For those who are operating machinery, making sure suitable lighting is in place is paramount. Often using machinery comes with enough risks but using them in poor lighting greatly increases this risk. Make sure that if you’re operating machinery, you are happy with the lighting conditions and do not carry out work in which you have poor visibility.

Poor artificial lighting:

Although this is not as common, in some cases the artificial lighting used can often cause more issues than it is solving. Too much artificial light can cause glare, especially for those who are working with metals and reflective materials.

If the artificial light is too bright or causing lots of glare, workers vision may be impeded and it can also lead to headaches and stress, which will both increase the risks of mistakes, poor quality work and low productivity.

Managing night work:

To help reduce risks to your workforce, here is a checklist that managers can use to identify risks and safety practices that should be considered.

  1. Require daytime managers to periodically work at night – managers who have experience with the challenges of managing a site during the day may have additional input on how to reduce risks of a nightshift.
  2. Continue to evaluate your working environment – conduct comprehensive reviews of your workplace. Consider any near misses or accidents you may have had. Review lighting, temperature and poor airflow which may lead to fatigue.
  3. Put shift work safety at the forefront – Make sure that your sites are mandated and discussed at safety meetings. Also, include a seat for someone who works night shifts.
  4. Promote sleep and napping – Promoting the importance of good sleep following a night shift to help reduce risks to themselves and others. The appeal of having the ‘day off’ can lead to workers operating on next to no sleep.
  5. Allow short breaks – Working at night requires added concentration and over the course of a shift this can lead to greater risk. Allow workers 30 minutes of extra break so they can have a rest, eat, and recover.
  6. Access worker schedules – No shift work is optimal, but those who are required to go from nights to days and back to nights are likely to suffer from poor sleeping patterns. Allow these workers a day off in between shifts or consider changing their shifts less often.
  7. Monitor overtime – If you have workers who are offering to do nights as overtime, make sure to monitor the hours they’re doing. If they are following day shifts with nights, then you may have to tell them to reduce the work they’re doing and allow them a break.
  8. Standardise shift changes – Issues can often occur on sites where one set of shift workers end, and another starts. Poor communication can lead to issues being missed and risks increased.
  9. Don’t forget the drive home – After the shift has finished, workers will also have to drive home. Following a nightshift, the chances of falling asleep at the wheel increase. Make space for workers to nap before commuting home and promote car share to reduce the number of cars on the road.
SMAS Worksafe / AJC Group annoucement

The AJC Group choose SMAS Worksafe for supply chain management

SMAS Worksafe are delighted to announce that The AJC Group have chosen to make SMAS Worksafe their SSIP Scheme of choice.

The AJC Group are one of Dorset and Hampshire’s leading property development companies. With over 40 years combined experience within the industry, they are committed to delivering lasting change, transforming lives and landscapes through the construction of high quality private and affordable homes.

As from 1st October, all contractors and suppliers working with The AJC Group will be required to hold a valid SSIP certificate with SMAS Worksafe as a minimum requirement.

“AJC are always looking at new and improved ways of working more efficiently with our Contractors to ensure their health & safety. The partnership we have with SMAS Worksafe to manage our Contractors’ Health & Safety Stage 1 requirements is something that we feel can help reduce the stress on us, knowing SMAS Worksafe are managing our contractor’s health & safety gives us great peace of mind.” George Bravington – Health & Safety Advisor, The AJC Group.

SMAS Worksafe will shortly initiate an onboarding campaign for all contractor and suppliers who work with The AJC Group and support them through the process of obtaining an SSIP certificate with them.

“We are extremely pleased to have gained The AJC Group as a new client. The partnership shows our continued commitment to helping house-building clients manage their contractors to create a safe workplace.” Mark Claridge – Partnership Manager, SMAS Ltd

To find out more about how SMAS can support your supply chain procurement and management systems contact Mark at markclaridge@smasltd.com or 01752 393404

Sustainable Construction / Solar Pannels

Sustainable construction

The construction industry is one of the largest sectors when it comes to using materials and having an impact on the environment and there is a huge push on sustainable construction, with the aim of becoming net zero by 2050 looming over all developments. But what are the keys to sustainable construction and what challenges are we going face trying to achieve the ambitious goal of becoming net zero by 2050.

 

Why sustainability in construction matters

The construction industry is at the forefront of building new societies and creating the future world we live in. Due to the constant need for construction and the impact it has on the future of our planet, making the construction industry sustainable is vital for the future health of our planet.

In fact, the building and construction industry accounts for an incredible 40% of CO2 emissions and according to the Supply Chain Sustainability School, building and construction works in countries which are part of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) use:

  • 25-40% of total energy
  • 30% of raw materials
  • 30-40% of global greenhouse gas emissions
  • 30-40% of solid waste generation.

 

Building a sustainable construction industry

 

To create a truly sustainable construction industry the first step that needs to be taken is the sourcing of materials and making sure that where

Sustainable Construction, Low angle green apartments

possible the materials used to build our future have come in some capacity from our past, such as recycled materials. As mentioned previously, construction is responsible for 25-40% of the worlds energy usage and therefore finding a renewal energy source is another big step in helping to create a sustainable site.

During projects themselves, care must be taken regarding waste, not just the amount of waste but also how it is being disposed. Can the materials be recycled and used further down the line? Is there a way in which we can dispose of the materials in a less impactful way to the environment? These are questions you should be considering if you’re responsible for the removal of materials.

You should also consider how you’re impacting the environment whilst carry out work such as creating dust, destroying natural habitat and the energy consumptions you’re using. The thought of sustainable construction is to create an environmentally friendly construction site and well as finished project.

 

What are the challenges?

Adapting to these new methods is something that is going to take time and won’t happen overnight. Not only will they take time to implement and change, but they are also expensive. Using renewal materials and sourcing renewable energy all comes at great costs and although might save you money in the long run, businesses will often take a large financial hit to change from the current processes.

 

Government plans

Sustainable Construction - turning down CO2 dial

Building a sustainable future is something the UK government is doing its best to tackle. They have set out plans which would see the United Kingdom be net-zero in carbon emissions by 2050. The ‘net zero’ plan would see any emissions balanced by schemes to offset an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, such as planting trees or using technology like carbon capture and storage to negate the negative effects if CO2.

As part of this initiative all homes and businesses will have to meet rigorous new energy efficiency standards to lower energy consumption and bills, helping to protect the environment.

These new standards include radically improving the energy performance of new homes with low carbon heating, reduce emissions and be zero carbon ready by 2025. This would see roughly a 75-80% reduction in carbon emissions to the current level of housing.

Existing homes will also be subject to higher standards. There will be significant improvement on the standard for extensions, making homes warmer and reducing bills. The requirement for replacement, repairs and parts to be more energy efficient, including windows and building services such as heat pumps and fixed lighting.

construction building site foreman / contractor

How to source reliable contractors?

Finding reliable contractors is the one area in which all clients and house-builders need to get right. Having issues in your supply chain means work may be finished to a poor standard which will cost you time and money, neither of which will be something you can do when you’re pushed for time to get deadlines met.

The positive sides to finding a good contractor are often great, once the relationship and trust between you has been built you will have often found someone for future projects that you know you can rely on and over time this can lead to a group of contractors that you can use over and over on all your sites.

So how do you find good contractors?

Portals

One of the first areas to look out for clients is via an accreditation portal such as the SMAS Worksafe portal or SSIP portal.  If you’re a client that requires contractors to be accredited to a specific level, then going to a portal is the best starting place.

Once you’re in the portal you can now start to refine your search by the trades you require and look for other areas of compliance that you might require, such as environmental or quality management. We recommended choosing businesses with quality management systems in place, a business that is driven by high-quality work is often likely going to save you time in any snagging processes and are less likely to need their work to be redone due to poor standards.

 

Networking

Contractor and client networking event

Another way to find contractors is through networking at events such as Construction Connects, hosted by SMAS Worksafe. At these ‘meet the buyer’ events, you will have the chance to attend and set up a stool for contractors to come in and talk to you about what upcoming jobs you have and what trades you’ll need for the job or future jobs.

Often these events are local to an area in which you have upcoming projects, so it is a great way for you to easily get more contractors in your contact book and that are interested in the type of work you’re offering. Attending events like this can save you a lot of time browsing portals and searching the web.

 

Try and find a reference

Group of contractors laughing on a wall during break

If you have identified a few contractors that seem suitable for the role and you’re unsure as to which to go with you can ask other clients, you know or some of your current contractors to see if they have had any experience working with them on previous jobs.

You may have contractors working on your site who have experience working with them and they will be able to give you a perspective on their standards of work and how they were to work with. Bringing in a contractor that your current contractors struggle to work with could cause some delays or friction on your sites.

 

Do your research

The final step in your vetting process if you’re still unsure is to do your own research. Look at their website and their reviews and see if you can find any feedback or examples of jobs, they have done in the past that are similar to the one you’re asking them to do.

Not only will you be able to see their reviews and if there are any trends within their reviews, but you’ll also get a feel for the company, what are their ethos and morals? Do they demand high standards?

If you can get the process of sourcing contractors right and you’re able to build up mutual respect you might find yourself with a contractor for life. Then going forward you’ll know you can rely on them to get the work done to a high standard and in good time and develop a strong working relationship that will help both parties.