Futurebuild 2019: engineers must optimise whole project lifecycles to solve climate change problems

A call for the industry to focus on broader issues and impacts, and not just on monetary value. 

Day three at Futurebuild 2019. Image credit: Futurebuild
Day three at Futurebuild 2019. Image credit: Futurebuild
The construction industry needs to measure impact across the whole project lifecycle to effectively address climate change challenges, an ICE representative told Futurebuild attendees yesterday.  

“Using the tools that we, as engineers, have to optimise the lifecycle is incredibly important if we’re going to achieve anything,” said ICE Council Member Emma Kent, speaking on a panel at the industry conference in London. 

Other panellists included representatives from the CBI, RIBA, RICS, and the British Property Federation (BPF). 
   
Kent advocated the use of technology, including data and smart assets, in monitoring and generating results across a project’s entire lifecycle. 

She also called for the industry to focus not just on monetary value, but to look at “project outcomes or system outcomes in a broader sense”. 
 

Solving the UN SDGs 

Referring to lessons learned from ICE’s Global Engineering Congress last year, Kent explained that the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are like a “Venn diagram” and advocated for a “systems management approach” that recognises SDG interdependencies.  

She added: “Because the SDGs are so big, we need to set in place some targets and tools to measure progress.” 

Earlier in the session, keynote speaker Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency and UK commissioner for the Global Commission on Adaptation, referred to ICE’s 2018 State of the Nation report in her address. 

“According to ICE, over 45% of infrastructure projects will be financed by the private sector,” she said, emphasising the need for government and industry to work together on sustainable development and climate resilience. 
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