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Sun November 01 2020

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Industry unveils five new Action Plans to improve sustainability in the construction sector

22 Oct 10 The construction industry today unveiled a series of five Action Plans aimed at helping to improve sustainability within the construction sector and reduce its waste arising; which currently contributes one third of the UK’s total annual waste arising.

The launch took place at BEST, the Building Environment Solutions Technology at Birmingham’s NEC. 

Two of the new Action Plans have been developed from the Defra ‘roadmap’ process. This began in 2007 when Defra launched 10 pilot product roadmaps as part of its Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) Programme. The selected products were drawn from wider product groupings shown to have significant environmental impacts. 

The Plasterboard Sustainability Action Plan and the Windows Sustainability Action Plan are the result of a DEFRA-funded collaboration with the construction industry to examine and document the sustainability impacts of these construction materials throughout their entire lifecycle. They identify the actions currently taking place to address these, and highlight the areas where further work is needed.

Outlining the importance of the new guides, Lord Henley said; “The Sustainability Action Plan  for plasterboard and windows and the Resource Efficiency Action Plans for joinery, flooring and packaging, are good examples of the initiatives the construction industry has developed to take responsibility to address the challenges of sustainability, at various lifecycle stages. 

“The Plans are the result of extensive debate and collaboration and will help us achieve the overarching objective of leading the world in sustainable construction, production and consumption.” 

As part of the Strategy for Sustainable Construction, the Construction Products Association supported the preparation of three further Action Plans in conjunction with relevant trade associations and WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme). Entitled  Resource Efficiency Action Plans, these were funded by WRAP and BRE Trust.

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They include: 

• The Joinery Resource Efficiency Action Plan, prepared by the British Woodworking Federation (BWF), the Construction Products Association and BRE in consultation with a stakeholder group drawn from across the entire wood sector;
• The Flooring Resource Efficiency Action Plan, prepared by the Contract Flooring Association (CFA) with support from BRE; and
• The Construction Products Packaging Resource Efficiency Action Plan developed in association with members of the Packaging Stakeholder Group (PSG) and prepared by BRE.

Jane Thornback of the Construction Products Association said, “The Resource Efficiency Action Plans were prepared concurrently and together form a wealth of new knowledge, practical recommendations and actions which can be implemented by industry with the support of trade associations, industry partners and Government bodies.”

The Resource Efficiency Action Plans identify key aspects of a product’s lifecycle where improvements lead to better sustainability. The new guides are part of a growing library of material-specific Action Plans which will be managed by WRAP. Partnerships have been set up with industry bodies to act as custodians of the action plans and to implement them.

Mike Falconer-Hall, Programme Manager Materials Recycling WRAP said, “These five Action Plans show how seriously the construction industry is addressing the important issue of sustainability and resource efficiency in key materials and products. They have been made by industry, and will benefit industry widely.”

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