How innovation shall drive the outcomes of PAS 2080

Author: Tim Embley, Group innovation and knowledge manager

Back in 2013, the government published Construction 2025, a strategy for the construction sector that set out a vision for the industry in the decade ahead. Among the strategy’s targets were a 33% reduction in construction costs and a 50% reduction in time from inception to completion of projects.

In addition, it stated that the industry should become dramatically more sustainable, in order to achieve a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment.

Now, with the publication of PAS 2080, we have a blueprint to help us meet those sustainability targets. PAS (Publicly Available Specification) 2080 is the world’s first specification for managing whole life carbon in infrastructure. It sets a consistent approach for everyone involved in infrastructure to manage carbon, and identifies responsibilities and requirements throughout the value chain.

Both Construction 2025 and PAS 2080 highlight the importance of innovation in achieving efficiency and sustainability targets. Construction 2025 predicts “a UK industry that leads the world in research and innovation, while PAS 2080 identifies the value of innovation at every stage in the project lifecycle. For example, at the Strategy stage, when the customer initially defines the outcomes they are looking for, the standard advocates embracing a culture of challenge and change, and
encouraging and incentivising innovation throughout the value chain. 
And at the Brief stage it says customers should engage constructors early to assess innovative construction techniques and materials,
and engage product/material suppliers early to showcase low carbon alternatives.

This culture of engagement, innovation and challenge continues throughout Concept and Definition and into Delivery, where PAS 2080 also highlights the importance of embracing innovative construction techniques.

Innovation, collaboration and challenge go hand in hand, and a culture that encourages all three is far more likely to result in a more positive and efficient working environment. We can inspire each other through collaboration and sharing ideas.

I see Climate Week as the ideal opportunity to challenge our current way of doing things and to inspire others to work with us in a more resource efficient way.

The little things – or the small ‘I’ of innovation – where you make an incremental improvement that reduces the impact on resources can make a significant contribution if we all contribute. The big ‘I’ of innovation could require more than you, and this is an opportunity to bring experts in from your network. Providing space for others to engage and bring suggestions could bring significant commercial benefits.

You might be thinking: “where do I start?” One idea would be to pick an area where a lot of money is being spent, and brainstorm ways of making it more efficient by challenging traditional approaches. Or you might just start with a “Climate Moment” to discuss what climate means to people. You could introduce this time for people to reflect at the start or end of a meeting. A discussion around climate could result in a change in behaviour – for example switching from a diesel car to an electric car. Just being aware about what we do and the impact our decisions have on the environment is really important.

This Climate Week is a great opportunity to start thinking differently, to challenge what we do as individuals and as a company, and to work collaboratively to encourage innovation.


To discuss how innovation can drive the outcomes of PAS 2080 in your organisation email