Handbook to Help Construction to Decarbonise Launched

A DECARBONISATION handbook to help main contractors achieve net zero carbon has been launched by the National Federation of Builders’ (NFB) Major Contractors Group (MCG).

Launched by Mark Wakeford, Chair of the MCG, at the NFB’s Large Contractors Forum on 2 December, ‘Transforming Construction: Delivering a Low Carbon Future contains practical actions for main contractors to implement in their own businesses.

Gillian Keegan MP Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills HM Government ( UK Parliament 2020)

With a foreword by Gillian Keegan MP, Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, the handbook is designed to help main contractors step up to the plate and deliver the country’s net zero carbon ambitions.

Low carbon transformation

The handbook’s launch is being published ahead of the UK hosting the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) next year. It is meets the current demand for low carbon transformation that is being driven by the construction industry.

NFB research reveals 80% of main contractors actively want to start the journey to net zero having either produced a business decarbonisation strategy, or are planning to do so.

The COVID-19 pandemic has not dulled the industry’s commitment to a low carbon future with the survey also revealing nearly half of businesses thought it was more important than ever, and none thought it was less important. This is in line with the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) whose industry recovery plan recommits the sector to net zero.

Staged action

The MCG handbook presents staged actions for contractors covering:

  • developing teams to lead change
  • reducing the carbon footprint of staff and corporate
  • recording, accounting and reducing emissions associated with construction projects
  • reducing embodied carbon
  • reducing carbon emissions through building performance
  • reducing carbon through procurement

In addition, the handbook features case studies from businesses helping contractors identify an example which fits with their own stage of decarbonisation. A case study from Skanska illustrates how it has implemented full carbon accounting and is certified to PAS 2080, a standard for whole-life carbon management in infrastructure. Skanska can accurately assess the amount of CO2 equivalent gases emitted for each £1 million of Skanska UK’s revenue. This has reduced from 351 tonnes of CO2e per £1m in 2010 to 215 tonnes of CO2e per £1m by 2018, with the aim to reduce to 130 per £1m by 2030 and 0 by 2045.


In August 2020, the NFB became the first trade body representing main contractors to sign up to the #ConstructionDeclares movement. Signing up to this global petition that is ‘uniting all strands of construction and the built environment’ is a commitment to take positive action in response to climate breakdown and biodiversity collapse. This handbook signifies the MCG’s intent to deliver on that pledge. Find out more and sign up at: uk.buildersdeclare.com.

Find out more about the NFB and MCG, and download a copy of Transforming Construction: Delivering a Low Carbon Future’.



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