Why not a scrappage scheme for your boiler and roof?

Recently Sustainability West Midlands was asked to provide its views on whether green thinking would help get the construction industry during the recession .

Drawing on our network of members within the policy and construction worlds we came up with the answer ‘maybe’ but the Government could do more to continue to stimulate the industry – so why not a scrappage scheme for your old boiler, roof, and radiators creating jobs and cutting carbon at the same time.

The recession will continue the process of the ‘greening’ of the construction industry. Construction firms competing for public sector contracts as the private sector slows, will find criteria around sustainability becoming more important. The stepped approach of the code for sustainable homes and other standards will provide the certainty for continued investment in new building products and services. To address the challenges of price, skills, sustainability standards, and once the market picks up – scale – then off-site manufacturing will become the norm.

This does not address the social element of sustainability, that the construction industry was a key trainer and employer of local labour, and the new greener industry will probably require less labour. This is where the industry needs to work with Government to create the same certainty around the standards required for retro-fit as there is for new build.

Retrofit – not just for carbon saving, but also weather proofing for our changing climate, and more adaptable use of space for our ageing population. This will be labour and skill intensive; it will involve larger scale programmes than currently proposed, drive innovation and keep the cost down. Given the importance of construction to our region, this is an area the West Midlands needs to lead on.

So for the next budget why not a scrappage scheme for my old boiler, radiators and roof – trialled in the West Midlands, then nationwide by 2012?