Government’s brief for chief construction adviser role criticised for too little focus on sustainability

A group of sustainability experts have rounded on the government’s brief for the position of chief construction adviser for not taking sustainability seriously enough.

In the letter, published in this week’s Building, the group, which includes high-profile architects, consultants and engineers, stated: “The government must take this golden opportunity to require the chief construction adviser (CCA) to address not only construction, but also the operational performance of buildings.”

The news comes as the Department for Business and Innovation has begun interviews for the £120,000 role after receiving a high level of interest.

Signatories to the letter include Bill Bordass, technical director of the Usable Buildings Trust, Robin Nicholson, director of Edward Cullinan Architects, and Chris Twinn, associate director of Arup.

Twinn said the government was focusing too much on the process of building. “Ultimately, if the CCA focuses just on the pile of bricks we aren’t going to get the buildings we need.”

If the CCA focuses just on the pile of bricks we aren’t going to get the buildings we need

Chris Twinn, ARUP

The letter also criticises the outsourcing of construction, which it says takes away the ability of government to control the kind of public buildings that are built. It refers to outsourcing as a “shortsighted and immoral policy”.

However, the government has said one of the CCA’s first tasks would be to lead a report into how the construction industry can become more sustainable.

A spokesperson for the business department said: “The CCA will have responsibility for promoting innovation and sustainability in the industry.”

An appointment is expected at the end of the month.