Stern Report points to lack of co-ordination and training as causes of poor quality buildings

A government report on the economic impact of climate change has criticised the training and organisation of the construction industry.

The Stern Report, by Sir Nicholas Stern, the World Bank’s former chief economist, says the lack of co-ordination between elements of the industry creates poor quality, energy-inefficient buildings.

It says architects and other consultants require more training on the principles of sustainable design and efficient technologies, and that policies need to be put in place to inform decisions made at the design stage of a building.

As a result of the report, the government is working on plans for a climate change bill that would set carbon reduction targets and establish an independent body to advise on and monitor the government’s policies on the subject.

The report comes as discussion intensifies within the industry of ways to limit carbon emissions.

Stern criticises architects, saying more training on sustainability is required

As part of its 99% campaign, Building is canvassing the industry to find out what financial incentives could be used to create a lower carbon economy.

And the Construction Products Association is to launch an initiative next week that allows developers to offset emissions from new buildings by making improvements to existing ones, for instance by installing cavity wall insulation.

Other incentives include:

  • Reduced business rates once energy efficiency improvements have been made
  • Lower stamp duty for more efficient buildings
  • An extension of the enhanced capital allowances, whereby firms receive 100% tax relief in the year they spend money on energy efficiency improvements.
The Stern Report calls for increased taxation to tackle global warming but also suggests that certain sectors, including the construction industry, would benefit from incentives.

It singles out the renewable energy sector as one that should receive loans, subsidies or tax rebates to encourage innovation, and it adds that a stronger microgeneration industry could help cut emissions.