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Green construction still six months away

KEY PERFORMANCE indicators to measure sustainable construction of post-Egan report demonstration projects will not be ready until the middle of the year.

Movement for Innovation, the pan-industry body steering forward the recommendations of Sir John Egan's Rethinking Construction report, last week admitted that developing the indicators had caused problems.

Chief executive Alan Crane said: 'We are looking at developing a suite of sustainability performance criteria but are finding this the most difficult area to refine into measurement tools.

'We all think it requires at least six months to develop KPIs for environmental performance.' Existing environmental measurement criteria are too complex for the people actually building a project, he claimed.

But he insisted: 'By the middle of this year we will have simplistic performance criteria.'

Sustainability KPIs were a last minute addition to the measurement tools to be applied to 80 plus demonstration projects announced by M4i last November. They were subsequently included only after Egan had been castigated by environmental guru Jonathan Porritt for failing to address sustainability in Rethinking Construction (NCE 3 December 1998).

Crane claimed that improving supply chain management, health and safety and reducing waste would have a beneficial environmental knock on effect .

But Porritt, speaking after a Construction Confederation conference, Constructing a Sustainable Environment, on Monday warned against assuming there was a relationship between better economic and environmental performance in construction.

'You have to spell it out so that action is absolutely clear,' he said. 'Environmental targets are still alien to the industry' but introduction of clear KPIs could go a long way towards stamping out bad practice and encouraging good, he said.

He added it was 'outrageous' the Government was not already measuring the whole life environmental and cost performance of its buildings and demanded fast and dramatic improvements: 'The Government says it will be a best practice client, but it should be now'.

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