Construction News

Thu October 18 2018

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Stansted stresses CSR in call for contractors

6 days Companies bidding to build London Stansted’s new arrivals terminal are being asked to commit to a range of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability initiatives as part of the project.

CGI of the new arrivals terminal, designed by Pascall+Watson
CGI of the new arrivals terminal, designed by Pascall+Watson

The airport has triggered the tender to find a contractor to work on the latest phase of its transformation project. It is investing £600m over the next five years in a new arrivals terminal and reconfiguration of the existing Norman Foster designed terminal into a departures-only facility to help to unlock the airport’s spare runway capacity.

Stansted will name its chosen contractor in December and construction work on the 34,000 m2, three-storey arrivals terminal will begin early 2019.

The arrivals terminal, designed by Pascall+Watson, is due to open in 2020, with the improvements to the existing terminal completed in 2021.

As part of the tender process prospective bidders are being asked to support the airport’s sustainability and CSR strategy and propose initiatives that “will leave a positive impact on local people and the economy during the construction” – as is vogue.

Programme delivery director Paul Willis said: “Corporate social responsibility is at the heart of everything we do at London Stansted and as our £600m transformation project develops we want potential suppliers to embrace our CSR strategy and commit to making a lasting difference in the areas surrounding the airport. During the tender process we’re asking bidders to demonstrate how they will deliver a range of environmental, economic and education initiatives, using their experience from their own similar successful infrastructure projects.”

Since the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012, bidding for construction contracts isn’t what it used to be. The law was meant to help local firms compete against majors by putting a value on their contribution to the local economy and society. In fact it merely created a CSR industry and the big corporates have continued to clean up.

While Stansted Airport is in the private sector and not subject to the Social Value Act, it is committed to best practice.

Contractors today feel compelled to continually prove their ‘social value’. Their publicity now tends to focus more on their training and employment record than on their technical achievements and build quality. In the decade before, boasting had centred on commitment to the green agenda and carbon reduction. This has now taken a back seat to education and training initiatives. R&D, once considered to be the future, no longer seems to get a look in.

Stansted’s CSR programme includes the on-site Stansted Airport Employment Academy, Aerozone education centre and the newly opened Stansted Airport College. The airport’s publicity material states: “These trailblazing facilities sit alongside the airport’s graduate and apprenticeship programmes to help people find work and bridge the current skills gap in STEM subjects and provide a pipeline of future talent. The airport also recognises that small businesses make a significant contribution to the local and regional economy and has made commitment to sourcing local goods and services wherever possible.”

We can expect the winning contractor to be the one that best mirrors this position while also pitching a competitive price.

MPU

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