The climate emergency is impacting countries all over the world, and governments are signing up to ambitious zero carbon targets. One of the biggest challenges will be to decarbonise existing infrastructure; in the domestic sector alone there are around 29 million homes which need to be retrofitted in order that the UK’s net zero targets be met.

And although these are targets set by government and supported by initiatives such as the UK Infrastructure Bank, it isn’t governments which are going to do the actual work of decarbonising our existing environment. That challenge – and opportunity – will be, in large part, for the construction industry to meet. And while some technologies have become mainstream, such as solar panels and electric vehicles and chargers, there’s a feeling that the industry is currently in something of a technologies race.

The race to sustainability

In a fragmented industry, it stands to reason that there are competing companies and technologies currently in the early stages of research, design, and testing. There are also countless ways, both small and large, in which the construction industry will have to change in order to meet zero-carbon targets. For example, companies will have to find alternatives to standard building materials, consider the sustainability built into their supply chain, and find creative solutions to what is one of the biggest issues for many – transport. With a net-zero emissions target to reach within the next 25 years, innovation is going to be the watchword of the industry for the next few decades to come.

Not every company is able to innovate though: around 99% of the construction industry is made up of SMEs, and they have limited time, budget, and resources. It will be far easier for large companies and groups such as United Capital to fund upskilling and reskilling, invest in electric cars and vans, and become THE renewables partner for their clients, than it will be for smaller companies to quickly adapt.

The construction partner of the future

According to the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, “the affordable housing sector will likely lead the way over the next few years” and that makes our future hugely exciting, if not a little challenging. Teams across United Capital will be reskilled so that we can continue winning large contracts in the renewables sector, and that will be possible because of the size and scale of our group.

When it comes to what the construction industry of the future will look like, not everything is certain. But clients old and new can trust that companies across the United Capital group will be ready to partner with them in implementing our zero-carbon future.