ICT, sustainability and contracts

I met Building sustainability blogger Phil Clark last week for a coffee, and he was good enough to talk about our conversation on Zerochampion. As well as talking about sustainability, the potential contribution of collaboration technologies and the environmental downsides of ICT, we also talked more generally about collaborative working and contracts.

Being involved in Constructing Excellence in recent years, I am well aware of developments of more collaborative forms of contract (see NEC case study in Building, for example, and my post on Trust and the team). As Phil writes, there are some fascinating possibilities if you begin to look at contracts, technology and sustainability.

With some construction industry customers stipulating use of collaboration technologies as part of their terms of appointment of contractors and consultants, there is already an implicit expectation, I think, that teams will generate less paperwork, reduce mistakes and rework and improve individual productivity. All of these can help reduce carbon footprints, but the actual benefits are not always easily quantifiable (how do you estimate the carbon impact of a problem avoided, for instance?). BIM was a topic we talked about in this context, but – as I’ve said before – we are still some way from widespread adoption of BIM across the AEC sector in the UK.

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