Our Zero Carbon Construction Site Diary

Our Zero Carbon Construction Site Diary

As we progress on our Zero Carbon Constuction Site, we will upload regular updates here, outlining some of the key decisions we've had to make, our successes, the barriers we've faced and the solutions we've developed. Click on the images below to read our diary entries. 

The table below captures our ongoing learnings from our Towards a Zero Carbon Construction Site work. We will continue to update our diary, sharing our progress towards a zero carbon construction site. 

November 2021:

Key learning

Our action

A zero carbon construction site needed to be part of the conversation as early as possible with the customer, designer, and supply chain

Learning filtered back to the rest of the business.

More time and resource are needed up front to examine all the options and assess their carbon impact.

We have put in place a Delivery Group to oversee the decision-making process and corral expertise from across the UK businesses.

The procurement resource has also been increased specifically for this scheme.

A new Net Zero Champion and Carbon Manager have been put in place.

Solar-hybrid is definitely something that we can be confident about using on site.

However, it takes more space than standard generators, which needs to be planned for from the beginning and which also limits their use to smaller sites.

Learning filtered back to the rest of the business.

Until there is more available as standard, we need to plan further ahead to secure the most carbon efficient heavy plant than we would do with standard machinery.

Learning filtered back to the rest of the business.

Discussions ongoing about the use of retrofitted heavy plant and what our hierarchy of carbon efficient plant should look like, taking circular economy considerations into account.

December 2021: 

Key learning

Our action

We’ll be assessing the effectiveness of the CCC model, the impact on carbon emissions and the benefits delivered for our customer and our supply chain partner, but our hypothesis is that this could offer significant benefits

We will document the benefits the distribution centre model brings and will share the findings internally

To be able to gain the full benefit of the CCC model, we need to be able to include the details in subcontract enquiries issued to the supply chain currently, to ensure they engage with our successful partner.

Decisions need to be made more quickly to reap the full benefit.

Using a PPE recycling scheme has the potential to save tonnes of waste from going to landfill if extrapolated over the whole business.

Once the trial has concluded, the results will be shared with the rest of the business to ensure as many schemes as possible benefit.

There are more sustainable PPE options available.

We’ll be assessing the new PPE and taking feedback from those using and wearing it. Learnings will then be shared with our supplier and the Procurement Team. They will then hopefully be used as Standard/Core Products, if there is no compromise on current standards of PPE.

We need to work collaboratively with our customers and designers to ensure that as we transition to digital tools, that information generated from day one of the design process is compatible with the desired modelling and management tools for construction and operation.

This is a journey we have already started – trying to define minimum digital standards from the onset of a project to ensure that all parties gain the benefit of a truly digital collaborative experience. We will continue to work with customers and to disseminate learnings across our business.

Defining what the net zero aspirations for a project are, and what will be included in the carbon footprint reporting, right at the concept stage of a project is so important.

We will continue to work collaboratively with our customers and continue to push for early engagement at the concept stage of new projects. 


March 2022:

Key learning

Our action

On cost for zero carbon construction sites we are in a period of transition as we move away from red diesel. As the technology solutions become more readily available we will see a series of changes i.e. the move to battery powered tools. To ensure these transitions can be delivered at zero cost, we need to look at the whole cost not just the red diesel cost but its transportation / refuelling / containment etc. If we have a mains connection the charging infrastructure can be installed and the costs shared across the supply chain for charging.

Learning shared with the Sustainability and Procurement teams and filtered back to the rest of the business.


Topsoil is a precious resource and every effort should be made to reuse 100% of it. We have c.50 tonnes of soil allocated to local allotments and schools charitable initiatives as SEPA have agreed we can use the Greenfield soils protocol, meaning we can work with the material as a clean material and not a waste. We need to continue to collaborate with other UK regulators so that this valuable resource is classified as a material that can be reused and its inherent value is not lost by being classified as a waste.

We will continue to Think Global, Act Local and try and maximise the local reuse of any surplus materials from the project.

In order to secure sufficient people with the skillsets we need to undertake zero carbon construction, we need to work more closely with academia, CITB, the Supply Chain Sustainability School, Construction Scotland and others, to work out how we best future proof the future construction industry and help upskill the whole sector.

Learning filtered back to the rest of the business, specifically Group HR.

Where one part of the business and our supply chain partners work on an innovative, sustainable solution, we need to ensure that we are capturing and sharing the learnings and skills as widely as possible to ensure that we are able to deliver these solutions efficiently for all our customers and that handover to the customer is as seamless as possible.

Learning filtered back to the rest of the business, specifically the Sustainability team.