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Report recommends use of integrated teams to deliver a sustainable built environmentApril 2009

SEC Group president Lord O’Neill of Clackmannan during the launch of the SEA report in the House of Lords

The traditional procurement practices employed by the construction industry act as a barrier to the delivery of sustainable buildings, according to a report launched last week in the House of Lords.

The report - entitled Sustainable Buildings Need Integrated Teams (pdf 521 KB) and published by the Specialist Engineering Alliance (SEA) - promotes a vision for the achievement of sustainability across the built environment.

It also insists that the "large number of interfaces" between the parties to the construction process, coupled with "high transaction costs and risk of duplication and re-work", militate significantly against the proliferation of sustainable buildings.

On the basis of a careful review of best practice advice, industry case studies and previous reports from organisations including the National Audit Office and the Office of Government Commerce, the SEA document recommends the appointment, at the start of a project, of "an integrated project delivery team with in-depth knowledge of the construction process".

And it goes on to highlight the extent to which value to the client can be improved by the creation of an integrated team that can "design in sustainable solutions" and "design out waste and inefficiency".

The Sustainable Buildings Need Integrated Teams report is the work of an SEA Integration and Sustainability Working Group, which comprised representatives of the contracting, consultancy and manufacturing sectors.

The group was chaired by Lord O'Neill of Clackmannan, president of the Specialist Engineering Contractors' (SEC) Group.

The SEA is made up of members from:

  • Building Services Research and Information Association (BSRIA) 
  • Specialist Engineering Contractors (SEC) Group
  • Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE)
  • Federation of Environmental Trade Associations (FETA)
  • Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE)
  • Association for the British Electrotechnical Industry (BEAMA)