Particular concern about the construction industry’s ability to retrofit and maintain low carbon buildings in central London has prompted the creation of the Skills for a Sustainable Skyline taskforce.
The taskforce will run for three years and will be chaired by Chris Hayward, deputy chairman of the City Corporation’s policy and resources committee.
The taskforce will support the City Corporation’s ambitions to reach net-zero carbon emissions across operations by 2027 and net zero for the Square Mile by 2040.
The plans is to bring together leaders from across the commercial built environment sector with representatives from local authorities, central government, employers, industry bodies and training providers.
The City of London Corporation said that it was stirred to action by the findings of a poll of over 100 industry professionals which revealed that 91% said the commercial built environment sector lacks sufficient skilled workers to achieve net zero targets and 87% agreed that there was a growing ‘green skills’ gap in the commercial built environment.
Chris Hayward said: “Central London urgently needs a larger skilled workforce to decarbonise its commercial buildings and this taskforce will lead the way in finding solutions to fill this skills gap. We must work at pace to attract new talent as well as upskill and reskill the existing workforce as we look to meet our ambitious climate action goals.
“The areas which we have identified as having the greatest scope for improvement are the full development lifecycle, including design, retrofit, construction and maintenance.”
City Property Association chief executive Charles Begley will serve as deputy chair. He said: “Advances in technology and innovation are opening up a wider range of job opportunities within the built environment, with the drive towards greater sustainability being embedded from financing to fit-out, as well as the long term operation of a building. However, there is evidence of a growing skills gap which threatens to impede progress in achieving London’s net zero carbon targets.
“We need to understand the barriers in attracting the diverse workforce the industry requires, and find solutions to help promote the reskilling and upskilling of existing workers, whilst raising career awareness amongst Londoners, particularly those from underrepresented demographic backgrounds.”
The taskforce’s strategy steering board, which will meet for the first time in May, comprises:
- Bola Abisogun, founder & chairman, DiverseCity Surveyors
- Tim Balcon, chief executive, Construction Industry Training Board
- Julia Barrett, chief sustainability officer, Willmott Dixon
- David Frise, chief executive, Building Engineering Services Association (BESA)
- Martin Gettings, vice president, Brookfield
- Alison Gowman, trustee, Trust for London
- Emma Hoskyn, UK head of sustainability, Jones Lang LaSalle
- Sir Stuart Lipton, co-founder and partner, Lipton Rogers
- Carol Lynch, chief executive, Construction Youth Trust
- Iain McIlwee, chief executive, Finishes & Interiors Sector (FIS)
- Fiona Morey, pro vice-chancellor, London South Bank University
- Benjamin O’Connor, director, New London Architecture
- Stephen Pomeroy, founder and chief executive, Built Environment Communications Group
- Hannah Vickers, chief of staff, Mace
- Danna Walker, founder, Built By Us.
After 2025, the taskforce is expected to share its research with other UK cities that have high concentrations of commercial buildings, including Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester and Glasgow.