The Sustainability Strategy

What is it?

A new industry-government manifesto setting out goals for change in areas like health and safety, recruitment and procurement. Notable targets include recruiting 230,000 extra workers by 2010 and payment periods of 30 days for specialist contractors.

Has it got anything to with green issues?

The government is using the word “sustainability” in its broader sense here – as in the longevity of the industry as a whole. But there are some “green” targets in the Sustainability Strategy, like ensuring 25% of construction materials are responsibly sourced by 2012. Not that they want to confuse you.

How will we achieve the targets?

Companies are being urged to sign up to a set of commitments from the Strategic Forum, aimed at enforcing the strategy. These are a re-packaged version of the 2012 Commitments written for the Olympics.

The whole targets thing sounds familiar…

Sir John Egan set targets in his Rethinking Construction report in 1998. But key government departments have signed up to support these latest targets – a move contractors with public sector clients are likely to follow. Some are calling this Egan mark II.

Who is this Egan bloke anyway?

Egan’s background was in the automotive industry and he set out a plan to modernise construction along the same lines, using partnering between suppliers and clients and efficient production methods, like off-site manufacture.

Did we meet Egan’s targets?

Er, no. Research from Constructing Excellence shows we’re behind on most of them.

What should I say when this gets discussed at work?

Say it’s encouraging to see industry and government agreeing on an agenda but you’ll wait and see if these well-intentioned initiatives actually get off the ground. After all, we still have not met Egan’s targets, set 10 years ago.