CIF Director of Main Contracting Paul Sheridan: How construction contractors can influence Ireland’s Climate Action Plan

by | Aug 30, 2022

Construction contractors connect our people, support our way of life and are a critical engine of Ireland’s economy. They underpin business activity and growth across all our indigenous sectors from transport, education, health, aviation, marine, energy, manufacturing and ICT to commercial services.

They also construct and shape the very fabric of Irish communities, such as active travel greenways, bus corridors, railways, schools, retail, sport and healthcare facilities, tourism and much, much more.

Construction contractors are problem solvers and collaborators. They have a pivotal role in helping the Government to achieve its economic, social and most importantly, Ireland’s environmental goals.

Construction contractors will be a key supporting partner in the Government’s Climate Action Plan. The CIF supports the National Development Plan and recognises the importance of the Government’s National Investment Framework, in choosing the right type of infrastructure based on sound criteria. CIF members are working to align their supply chain to the EPA Public Green Procurement Guidelines to reduce embodied carbon.

They are also fully supportive of the circular economy and creating the necessary infrastructure to reduce, reuse and recycle construction waste. There is a huge amount of knowledge, experience and expertise amongst construction contractors that can benefit public policy and procurement. This can further help make the shift towards environmentally friendly solutions that are more efficient and effective.

CIF Director Paul Sheridan. Picture: Maura Hickey

We need more engagement, innovation, flexibility and better decision making amongst clients and their design teams.

While the construction sector acknowledges it must play an active role in the reduction of carbon emissions emanating from construction works, the sector is unique in that the life cycle emissions of many construction projects – from greenways, cycleways, water, energy and public transport infrastructure to retrofitting, factories and modern real estate development – provide long-term and sustainable benefits to society.

Sustainability in construction, is about performance. To create a sustainable construction industry, we therefore need a greater focus on quality in the award of contracts and the whole life cycle costs of the constructed asset.

Government and private clients need to move from a transactional approach to construction to one built on true partnership with the industry.

This partnership must be based on mutual understanding, effective risk management and a focus on project delivery through collaboration.

It is in the interest of our country that there is a healthy, vibrant and sustainable construction industry to deliver on the National Development and Climate Action plans.

Our members want to be part of constructing a sustainable future for Ireland, which can be delivered if there is:

  • A clear pipeline of construction ready work
  • A pragmatic and proportionate approach to procurement strategy
  • Equitable risk management, using standard forms of international contracts

The most important thing is that we are communicating, listening and understanding each other. The CIF and its construction contracting members are ready to work in partnership with the Government and their private clients to deliver on sustainability.

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