Climate change and sustainability issues for Construction

The following Construction practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Climate change and sustainability issues for Construction
  • Climate change risks and ramifications for construction contracts
  • Extreme weather risks
  • Increased pressure from government/public sector
  • Net zero clauses in construction contracts
  • Non-contractual practices and key challenges of implementing net zero strategies
  • Adopting green practices in construction
  • Challenges for employers: financial and time costs of implementing net zero practices
  • Challenges for contractors: adoption of unfamiliar practices

Climate change and sustainability issues for Construction

This Practice Note considers the effect of climate change and the push by the UK and other governments around the world to achieve net zero, on the construction industry and the drafting of construction contracts.

Climate change risks and ramifications for construction contracts

It is well known that climate change poses many risks across a number of sectors, with an increased likelihood of extreme and unpredictable weather events including floods, drought and extreme heat which would consequently would cause poverty for hundreds of millions of people, decrease biodiversity and species extinctions. As a result of this threat, governments around the world are taking steps to achieve ‘net zero’, which refers to a state where greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are balanced by GHG removal, ensuring an overall net zero emission, over appropriate timescales. See also Practice Note: Sustainable business—decarbonisation and net zero.

The motivation for ensuring that construction projects are carried out and delivered in an environmentally friendly way and achieve net zero range from social responsibility reasons to more practical reasons.

Despite international government agreements and commitments to tackle climate change such as the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Agreement, statistics from 2020 showed that emissions and temperatures continue to rise. The severity of the effects of climate change has also started to

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