Government invests in sustainable building research

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Government funding totalling nearly £4m is to be invested in eight major new research and development projects that aim to rethink building processes in the UK.

The aim is to help to deliver zero and low carbon buildings more consistently.

The grant funding, from the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board will give the construction companies, developers and architects leading the projects "the opportunity to explore and test the viability of new integrated ways of working that will improve build consistency, cost-effectiveness, speed and sustainability".

Iain Gray, the Technology Strategy Board's chief executive, said: “The government has challenged industry to reduce construction costs by up to 30%, which would enable low carbon buildings to be constructed for the cost of a standard building.

“The work we are funding will encourage the UK construction industry to undertake a fundamental rethink of current ways of working and enable businesses to explore potential commercial opportunities created by novel design, procurement and construction processes.”

The grant funding from the Technology Strategy Board totals £3.78m and the overall value of the R&D, including contributions from participating companies, is £7.6m. Individual grants to each project range from £150,000 to £780,000.

The grant awards follow the conclusion of the “Rethinking the Build Process” competition for collaborative research and development, which was managed by the Technology Strategy Board through its Low Impact Buildings Innovation Platform (Libip).

Libip aims to help the UK construction industry deliver buildings with a much lower environmental impact.

Since the government has set a target of an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions in the UK by 2050 and 45% of total UK carbon emissions come from buildings, delivering low carbon new buildings, and reducing the environmental impact of existing buildings, is a major challenge.