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Introduction to sustainable construction and sustainable buildings

Updated: Aug 28, 2023

abstract illustration to show sustainable construction.  People are moving buildings  around a lush, green landscape

‘Sustainable construction’ and ‘sustainable buildings’ are two of the hottest topics of recent years. They are likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. Quite rightly, property developers are concerned with minimising the impact of their construction projects on the environment. They wish to produce buildings that will prove to be sustainable over the long run.

This is the first in a series of articles that will serve as a roadmap to sustainable buildings. Over the coming weeks, we will provide you with all the information you need, including a downloadable checklist and ebook, to implement sustainable construction, whether on a new build project or on the refurbishment of an existing building. Subscribe to our newsletter to make sure you never miss an instalment.

Build, build, build!

The construction industry is a hugely important sector worldwide, contributing around 10% of global GDP and employing over 7% of the total workforce. With a growing population and exponential development of technology, construction projects are getting bigger and more complex. Some nations rely on construction as one of their main sources of income while others use it to demonstrate their wealth and technological advancement.

construction workers in PPE stand in front of a sustainable construction site. A mega structure is being built with giant machinery

When Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that we should ‘build, build, build, Build back better, build back greener, build back faster,’ he showed that the construction industry is just as crucial to the UK. The UK construction industry generates over £110 billion each year, which represents over 7% of the GDP.

As a reaction to rampant development, environmental awareness has been rapidly increasing over the past couple of decades. All industries have shown that they can reduce their impact on the environment by implementing new rules and by changing their work culture. Sustainable methods have been developed in every sector in order to limit their impact on the environment. However, it is only in the last 10 years or so that the construction industry has really started to consider its own environmental impacts.

a 3D model of a sustainable building. It is surrounded by plans and charts that demonstrate the intention to use sustainable construction methods

Can construction be sustainable?

In the eyes of many people, construction and the environment are complete opposites and cannot be implemented at the same time. They believe that, in order to build in a certain location, trees and greenery should be replaced by concrete structures, using big machinery to destroy the habitat of local wildlife. In actual fact, sustainable construction has evolved to become one of the top requirements of megaprojects in the UK and has proven to be very efficient. This broad field has been developing over many years to result in the best possible outcomes.

Sustainable construction begins with the careful consideration of the materials used to build the structure. Next, the delivery process must be efficient and non-polluting, Finally, the building must be sustainable in use. All the stages of the construction process have been refined to enable the production of sustainable buildings.

Planning your sustainable construction project.

Over the coming weeks, you will gain all the information necessary to understand the ins and outs of the sustainable construction process. We will show you how you can implement such an approach in your own projects.

example of a sustainable building showing a wall of windows and a grass roof. In the foreground is soft landscaping with many green plants

First, we will concentrate on the sustainable construction delivery process. You will learn all the essential elements that you must have in order to lead a sustainable approach, including how to select your materials, what processes to follow, and much more. You will learn about the BREEAM sustainability assessment method so that you can understand how to achieve sustainable construction delivery. This method evaluates the procurement, design, construction and operation of a development against a range of targets based on sustainable values.

You will understand how to achieve a sustainable construction project, from inception to project delivery.

Achieve a sustainable building.

The second part of this series will be focused on ‘sustainability in use’. In other words, how to achieve a sustainable building. You can make changes to your buildings, old and new, to significantly improve sustainability in their daily usage. You will learn about methods such as green energy, waste management plans, and reduction of energy consumption.

the hand of an energy efficiency dial is pointing to A+++, demonstrating how sustainable the building is

By the end of this series you will have all the knowledge you need to implement sustainable construction projects and deliver sustainable buildings.

Don’t miss out on the next chapter. Subscribe to our blog and have this information delivered directly to your inbox.


Peter Bou Assi.

Peter is Assistant Project Manager at Iconic Project Management. He is a civil engineer with an extensive background in the construction industry and a solid project management knowledge. He has worked on multiple projects with international companies where he contributed to their successful completion.

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