Group wants incoming administration to set high standards

The Building Research Establishment (BRE) has called on the major parties to commit to issuing a new white paper on building standards within six months of the next election. 

In its Manifesto for 2024, published today (Thursday), the group called on the next government to outline a new strategy to power investment in better buildings by providing long-term certainty for owners, occupiers, supply chains, and investors. 

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Source: Jean Goldsmith

Gillian Charlesworth, chief executive of the BRE

It suggested that a new strategy for the built environment should include an embrace of AI and digital twinning to enable improvements to planning and retrofit. 

It also urged collaboration on research and development between the government and the UK’s net zero sector. 

This might include working with green entrepreneurs at early stages of development to ensure products meet sustainability standards. 

>> The race is on… Countdown to the general election part one: Project delivery, housing and planning, net zero

So-called ‘micro’ investment zones were also recommended as a way of supporting dedicated specialist research and development in net zero technology, while the group also recommended that the Treasury Green Book specify ambitious standards for new construction projects.  

The BRE also asked the next government to set a clear timeline for the next stage of the Future Homes Standard beyond 2050 and for the development of a net zero-ready EPC system for homes. 

Gillian Charlesworth, chief executive of BRE, said: “As the UK’s second largest source of carbon emissions, the building sector is in urgent need of decarbonisation, but not enough is yet being done.  

“With a General Election on the horizon, it is essential that all political parties pledge to take radical, long-term action to achieve this.  

“In order to solve the dual challenge of decarbonising the sector while also fixing the housing shortage, a new government needs to commit to proposals which take a holistic approach to the problem, ensuring outcomes are improved for individuals, communities, and the wider UK economy.” 

Election focus 

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As thoughts turn towards the next general election, the UK is facing some serious problems.

Low growth, flatlining productivity, question marks over net zero funding and capability, skills shortages and a worsening housing crisis all amount to a daunting in-tray for the next government.

This year’s general election therefore has very high stakes for the built environment and the economy as a whole. For this reason,

Building is launching its most in-depth election coverage yet, helping the industry to understand the issues in play and helping to amplify construction’s voice so that the government hears it loud and clear.

We kick off this month with a three-parter looking at the state of play across three key topic areas.

Building is investigating the funding gaps facing the next government’s public sector building programmes, looking at the policy options available to the political parties. 

In the coming months our Building Talks podcast will focus on perhaps the hottest political topic: the housing crisis. The podcast will feature interviews with top industry names who side-step soundbites in favour of in-depth discussions.

As the main parties ramp up their policy announcements, we will keep you up to date with their latest pledges on our website through our “policy tracker”.