Chief construction advisor Paul Morrell has warned the industry needs to show greater cooperation to take advantage of low carbon construction opportunities.
Speaking at Ecobuild 2011 Mr Morrell said that the traditional construction industry method of working in ‘silos’ whereby the supply chain is not integrated will be the biggest obstacle to low carbon building.
He said: “There is a massive separation from architects, engineers, project managers to contractors who make little or no attempt to integrate with the supply chain.
“The onus is now on the customer to say ‘I want a school’ and demand an integrated response. The industry will find that working together will take waste out of the supply chain and make economic sense.”
He added that the Innovation & Growth team report on low carbon construction in December advocated taking time to make the right decisions, staying ahead of international competition but also recognising that if the international community doesn’t follow suit it is wasting time.
Author and broadcaster Anthony Hilton told the audience he would like to see pension and insurance funds to set new standards and start to finance a new rental housing sector, similar to those seen in Germany and France.
Mr Hilton said that the UK was faced with a “bizarre housing market” where the percentage of owner-occupiers was not changing but more and more money was going into the industry.
He said that while it has made sense to buy in the past as house prices have gone up, he believed that providing more rental accommodation would make the market less expensive.
Mr Morrell added that regulation must lead the way in terms of stimulating innovation and that industry will respond to it.
He said: “We can either start a whole series of complicated initiatives or say, here is a picture of there we want to go and the industry will get clever.