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Sustainable Construction

The Strategy for Sustainable Construction

The Strategy for Sustainable Construction is a joint industry and Government initiative intended to promote leadership and behavioural change, as well as delivering benefits to both the construction industry and the wider economy.

It aims to realise the shared vision of sustainable construction by:

  • Providing clarity to business on the Government's position by bringing together diverse regulations and initiatives relating to sustainability;
  • Setting and committing to higher standards to help achieve sustainability in specific areas;
  • Making specific commitments by industry and Government to take the sustainable construction agenda forward.

Why this Strategy is needed

The construction industry is significant: its output is worth over £100bn a year. It accounts for 8% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and provides employment for around 3 million workers. The public sector is a major client of the industry and is responsible for directly procuring about a third of all construction.

The output of the construction industry, be it public buildings, commercial buildings, homes or infrastructure such as our roads, harbours and sea defences, has a major impact on our ability to maintain a sustainable economy overall and has a major impact on our environment. Moreover, it is clear that we cannot meet our declared environmental targets without dramatically reducing the environmental impact of buildings and infrastructure construction; we have to change the way we design and build

The business case for the sustainable construction agenda is based on:

  • Increasing profitability by using resources more efficiently;
  • Firms securing opportunities offered by sustainable products or ways of working;
  • Enhancing company image and profile in the market place by addressing issues relating to Corporate and Social Responsibility.

This Strategy involves a shared recognition of the need to deliver a radical change in the sustainability of the construction industry.

Strategy Development

This Strategy's development was co-ordinated by BERR in conjunction with the Strategic Forum for Construction. However, construction activity cuts across governmental boundaries. In recognition of this, the strategy was co-authored by several other departments, including Communities and Local Government, Defra, DIUS, the Office of Government Commerce and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Industry input has been channelled through the Strategic Forum for Construction.

The final strategy was released on 11th June 2008.

To order a free hard copy of the Strategy for Sustainable Construction please ring 0845 045 0010, contact the BIS publications team at quoting document reference URN 08/973, or follow this link to the BIS Publications web site.

Progress Report on the Strategy for Sustainable Construction

The Progress Report on the Strategy for Sustainable Construction was launched on the 15th September 2009. Overall, progress has been good and encouraging at this early stage of the process. However, with some deliverables progress has been slower than envisaged in the original Strategy and work is ongoing to address these. As delivery of the Strategy continues, further work to build on the successes already achieved will be necessary to reach the overarching goals of the Strategy.

Please see the 'Related Links' section of this page for the .pdf version of the Report.

To order a free hard copy of either the Strategy for Sustainable Construction or the Progress Report '09 please ring 0845 015 0010, contact the BIS publications team at, quoting document reference URN 08/973 for the Strategy for Sustainable Construction, or URN 09/1244 for the Progress Report '09. Or alternatively follow this link to the BIS Publications web site for the Strategy for Sustainable Construction or this link for the Progress Report '09.

Discussion papers:

Design Quality






Social Responsibility

Surface Water Management


Water Use

Facilities Management

Queries on this subject may be referred to John Newman