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Sustainable construction backed as economic

CONSTRUCTION CHIEFS were last week accused of rejecting the business case for sustainable solutions at a debate at construction research body CIRIA.

The audience voted overwhelmingly against the motion: 'The business case for sustainable construction is not convincing'. But another show of hands showed that most people thought the decision makers in their company were not convinced.

Big construction firms that claim sustainability is a high priority were accused of hiding behind 'special' projects, while normal practice lags far behind, speaker for the motion and Rethinking Construction chairman Alan Crane claimed.

Crane said that if the case were proven, everything from building regulations and planning permission to government procurement strategies and client briefs would specify sustainable solutions.

Speaking against the motion, Waste & Resources Action Programme's Steve Creed cited projects that saved money by using sustainable solutions.

'Everyone won, ' he said, 'how can anyone say there is no business case'. The challenge is not in proving the case, rather spreading the practice, he added.

HSBC investment banker Mike Tyrell said that a business case for sustainability in a company only comes with the commitment to apply it on every project. 'Say savings through increased water, waste and energy efficiency on a project are £50,000. So what? However, tell me that your company applies the same principles to every project, and now as an investor I'm listening, ' he said.

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