With growing awareness of the impact of construction on the environment, a spotlight has been cast on the role of Engineers in mitigating the destructive effects of climate change and loss of biodiversity. It is clear that we need to take responsibility for the impact of our work, and we believe this brings a timely opportunity for systemic change.
Through the Climate and Biodiversity Emergency Declaration we have committed to take practical steps to meet the aims within the declaration. Our Action Plan lays out these steps and sets targets to deliver on our commitment.
- Raise awareness of the climate and biodiversity emergencies and the urgent need for action amongst our clients, collaborators and supply chains.
- Advocate for faster change in our industry towards regenerative design practices and a higher Governmental funding priority to support this.
- Establish climate and biodiversity mitigation principles as a key measure of our industry’s success: demonstrated through awards, prizes and listings.
- Share knowledge and research to that end on an open source basis.
- Evaluate all new projects against the aspiration to contribute positively to mitigating climate breakdown, and encourage our clients to adopt this approach.
- Upgrade existing buildings for extended use as a more carbon efficient alternative to demolition and new build whenever there is a viable choice.
- Include life cycle costing, whole life carbon modelling and post occupancy evaluation as part of the basic scope of work, to reduce both embodied and operational resource use.
- Adopt more regenerative design principles in practice, with the aim of providing structural engineering design that achieves the standard of net zero carbon.
- Collaborate with clients, architects, engineers and contractors to further reduce construction waste.
- Accelerate the shift to low embodied carbon materials in all our work.
- Minimise wasteful use of resources in our structural engineering design, both in quantum and in detail within structural sustainability and tackle these issues - both internally within our business and to influence the wider construction industry.
We have set out actions to address the declaration aims, these are grouped by category with a stated target and target date for each action, and the key categories include:
Education: To raise awareness internally and externally with colleagues and clients
Undertake research to produce guidance notes, presentations and workshops to raise awareness of the declaration.
Introduce a sustainability section into submissions, stage reports and internal QA processes for all projects.
Through discussion, collaboration and sharing of information, improve our collective knowledge base within the construction industry.
Tools and Systems: To assist in carrying out our work in a sustainable manner
Develop tools to inform the impact of our design.
Develop systems to help us review and improve our approach to sustainable design.
Reset specification standards to reduce the environmental impact of our work.
Collaborate: Work with fellow design professionals, clients and wider construction industry to develop and promote sustainable practices.
Produce publications and contribute to parallel conferences and campaigns.
Lobby for change.