Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering

2009

Dr Ian Holton

Thesis

Developing a Sector Sustainability Strategy for the UK Precast Concrete Industry

Project Title

Developing a sector sustainability strategy for the UK precast concrete industry

Company

British Precast Concrete Federation

Supervisors

Academic:
Professor Jacqui Glass
Professor A.D. Price

Industrial:
Mr M A Bell
Mr S Bell

Director of Research:
Professor Andrew Dainty

Research Period

2004 - 2008

Developing a sector sustainability strategy for the UK precast concrete industry

Context/Background

The UK Government believes that sustainability is of increasing importance to the efficient, effective and responsible operation of business, because it provides a focussed way of addressing a range of economic, social and environmental issues. (DTI Sustainable Construction Brief, July 2003). To support this view, the Dept. of Trade and Industry (DTI) have published a strategy for sustainable construction and encouraged the development of sector strategies across the construction industry.

The UK cement and concrete sector acknowledges that it has a responsibility to improve the sustainable performance of its products and has identified two ways in which this can be achieved:

1. Promoting and assisting the sustainable design and construction of concrete structures and infrastructure.
2. Ensuring responsible concrete product manufacture by developing measurements of sustainability and targets to improve performance.

(Sustainable Development in the Cement and Concrete Sector, BCA, 2003).

The UK precast concrete industry produces a wide range of products for the construction industry, worth an estimated £2 billion annually. On behalf of the sector, the industry’s trade association, the British Precast Concrete Federation (BPCF), joined the DTI’s ‘Pioneers Group’ in November 2002 to signal its willingness to develop a sector sustainability strategy applicable to the precast concrete industry. This project, supported by the BPCF’s governing council, will help to develop and deliver that strategy.

Aims and Objectives

The overall project aim is the development of a sector sustainability strategy for the UK precast concrete industry.

Objectives identified towards achieving that aim are expected to include:

  • Understanding and mapping the processes involved in precast concrete production;
  • Developing an appreciation of the precast supply chain and the sustainability issues associated with it;
  • Assessing other sector sustainability strategies;
  • Investigating a range of ‘triple bottom line’ issues;
  • Establishing useful indicators and targets for the sector;
  • Developing consensus with industry stakeholders;
  • Drafting the strategy documentation.

Method and Current Status

The research will be of broad application because it will address a number of key issues that are key to developing a sustainability strategy for this type of industrial sector, for example, how to:

  • identify an appropriate balance between the triple bottom line issues (economic, environmental and social aspects);
  • establish useful indicators and targets for the sector;
  • compile meaningful sector-wide data in such a diverse industry;
  • map what sustainability means and what it looks like; and
  • develop consensus with industry stakeholders up and down the supply chain. The project started in October 2004 and is currently in its initial data gathering phase.

Benefits/Expected Outcomes

The research will be of benefit to individual precast manufacturers, trade associations and those measuring the progress of manufacturing industries towards sustainability goals such as government and environmental agencies. Architects, Engineers and Clients will also be interested in the research as sustainability moves up their agendas.

Holton, I., Glass, J. and Price, A.D.F. (2008). Developing a successful sector sustainability strategy: six lessons from the UK construction products industry. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 15 (1), pp. 29 - 42.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/csr.135

Holton, I., Glass, J. and Price, A. (2009). Managing for sustainability: findings from four company case studies in the UK precast concrete industry. Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol. 18 (2), pp. 152-160.
doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2009.09.016

Holton, I. … et al. (2008). Facilitating progress towards a more sustainable precast concrete industry in the UK. In: Dhir, R.K. … et al. (editors). Precast Concrete: Towards Lean Construction. Proceedings of the International Conference held at the University of Dundee, Scotland, 8-9 July 2008, pp 427-438.

Holton, I. … et al. (2007). The development of sustainability objectives, indicators and targets for the UK precast concrete industry. In: Jacobsen, S., Jahren, P. and Kjellsen, K.O. (editors). Proc. International Conference on Sustainability in the Cement and Concrete Industry, Lillehammer, Norway, September 2007, pp 514-525. ISBN 978-82-8208-001-9.

Holton, I., Glass, J. and Clarke, M. (2007). Case studies demonstrating reductions in the consumption of natural resources and energy by the UK precast concrete industry. In: Jacobsen, S., Jahren, P. and Kjellsen, K.O. (editors). Proceedings of the International Conference on Sustainability in the Cement and Concrete Industry, Lillehammer, Norway, September 2007, pp 501-513.

Holton, I. … et al. (2006). Identification and prioritisation of sustainability issues for the UK precast concrete industry. Corporate Responsibility Research Conference 2006, Dublin, September 2006.
http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.458.7934&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Holton, I. … et al. (2005). Developing a sector sustainability strategy for the UK precast concrete industry. Proc. 18th BIBM International Congress, Amsterdam, May 2005, pp 175-176. BFBN, The Netherlands. ISBN 3-7625-3607-4.

 

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Loughborough University
Leicestershire
LE11 3TU

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