Green is no longer ‘just an option’

Construction is a major contributor to the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions and the government is determined to address this. Scaffolding businesses will be expected to take steps to help improve our environment. Lawrence Pearce, assisted by Chrissie Parkes, from Holmes & Hills Solicitors, suggests that reviewing your contracts is a good starting point.

The Grass Is Greener

The Environmental Bill 2021-22 has seen an increased determination by the government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to an ambitious ‘zero’ by 2050. According to the UK Green Building Council, the construction industry is responsible for 10% of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions and, as such, any actions (as well as inactions) by the construction industry is likely to significantly impact upon the attainment of this goal.

In recent years, there has furthermore been an improved social awareness amongst society of the plethora of environmental issues impacting our planet. This increased awareness has resulted in a universal social conscience geared towards achieving a more sustainable world.

The construction industry therefore not only faces increased governmental pressure to reduce greenhouse emissions but also calls from the public to actively demonstrate a commitment to doing so. Employers, Developers and Main Contractors are actively seeking to publicly advertise the changes they are making to be more sustainable and are now applying pressure to the supply chain to have an environmental policy.

Initially, this was nothing more than a token requirement in the tender process, but more and more contracts are making it an express provision that the sub-contractor must not only have an environmental policy, but this policy must be available on request or worse, that it is a condition precedent to payment that a copy has been provided!

So, What Does This Mean For Your Scaffolding Business?

With construction companies vying to show they are environmentally conscious and committed to the collective effort to reduce their contributions to pollution, sustainability is a ‘hot topic’.

In that vein, many of the big construction players are implementing environmental policies which include ‘sustainability statements’ of their dedication to avoiding any negative impact of their businesses on the environment.

Consequently, scaffolding companies are following suit and likewise adopting environmental policies to demonstrate comradery with likeminded ‘eco-friendly’ prospective construction employers.

Environmental policies include promises to consider such things as:

– To observe relevant statutory duties of care under the Controlled Waste Regulations 1992, the Environmental Protection Act 1990 & the Control of Pollution (Amendment) Act 1989; etc

Thus, scaffolding companies who are able to demonstrate a shared environmental objective through the adoption of the relevant sustainability statements, will be more appealing to employers than companies who cannot.

Stand Out as Green

The Construction Team at Holmes & Hills are noticing more and more of the main contractors are requiring that sub-contractors have environmental policies and sustainability statements in place before agreeing to engage their services.

This not only highlights the importance of having the relevant documents to comply with the contractor’s contractual terms, but also the absolute necessity of having contracts reviewed thoroughly by construction specialist legal professionals.

As dedicated construction lawyers, we regularly assist scaffolding companies in reviewing contractual terms to ensure that they are aware of their duties and are not tripped up by onerous contractual obligations. A contractual oversight is the difference between being paid in full for your services versus being underpaid or not paid at all; to be forewarned is to be forearmed.






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