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The country’s largest housebuilder is hard at work to be the UK’s most sustainable

The country’s largest housebuilder is hard at work to be the UK’s most sustainable

Barratt Developments PLC

4 min read Partner content

Everyone agrees that we need to build more homes. As the country’s largest housebuilder, Barratt Developments is playing its part in this.

Everyone agrees that we need to build more homes. As the country’s largest housebuilder Barratt Developments is playing its part in this. Last year we built almost 18,000 new homes and have retained our 5 Star customer satisfaction rating for the eleventh year in a row – the only major national housebuilder with such a strong record of building high quality homes and satisfying its customers.

However, building new communities cannot come at the expense of the existing environment. This is why we also want to be the country’s most sustainable housebuilder. We have just become the first housebuilder in the UK to announce science-based targets for reducing carbon emissions. We plan to reduce our direct carbon emissions by 29% by 2025 and our indirect carbon emissions by 11% by 2030. These new science-based targets are needed to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change.We will drive this fall in emissions by reducing our diesel use, trialling new technology such as solar assisted generators and building even more energy efficient homes.

Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, said: “As the country’s largest housebuilder Barratt is taking a very positive step by being the first major housebuilder to publicly set science-based targets for reducing carbon emissions. It’s vital that companies take responsibility for their impacts and how they operate as businesses. We would like to see many more do it, building on the 30% of FTSE companies that have some form of science-based target.”

It is not just carbon emissions where we are trying to be more sustainable. We know we need to use our resources more efficiently. We focus on recycling our construction waste – 97% of which we divert away from landfill. And our graduates recently introduced a WasteWise project to reduce waste generated in our offices. This has helped to avoid the disposal of 89,000 plastic cups and 26,700 plastic bottles each year.

If the housebuilding industry is to hit the government’s target of delivering 300,000 homes a year, another key focus has to be on combating the skills crisis. The Construction Industry Training Board estimate that an extra 195,000 workers will be needed and a new report launched in Parliament this month from the Home Builders Federation states that over 8,000 new recruits are needed for every 10,000 extra homes built. Quite simply we won’t be able to keep on building more homes without more people coming into the industry.

One of the ways we can manage this issue is by looking at new ways to build homes using Modern Methods of Construction (MMC). By using MMC it means we can build homes more quickly, and with fewer people. This helps to take the pressure off key trades where we see particular shortages such as bricklayers, carpenters and electricians.

Investing in MMC is a key part of our future strategy for delivering homes across the UK. Our previous target was to build 20% of our homes using MMC by 2020. However, as we achieved this a year early we have now set a new, more challenging target – to build 25% of our homes using MMC by 2025.

We are also part of a Government funded project called AIMCH, which is investigating the impact of using more advanced technologies to build new homes. By investing in these modern methods of construction now we are hopefully making ourselves more resilient to deliver the high quality homes the country needs in the future, as well as helping to reduce waste.

Beyond using new technologies, another area we are working hard at is to bring new people into the industry by investing in people, training and skills. We have recruited almost 1,300 new apprentices, trainees and graduates to our Future Talent programmes since 2014 – approximately 7% of our workforce is employed within one of these roles.

We recently began the industry’s first residential bricklaying and carpentry apprenticeships by utilising the government’s new Apprenticeship Standards. These intensive courses reduce the normal training time by up to six months, meaning new recruits can be on site in just a few weeks. We are also investing heavily in making Barratt a more attractive company to work for with new Diversity and Inclusion policies such as enhanced maternity and paternity pay, paid carers’ leave and paid assisted fertility leave.

Since Barratt began in 1958, we have built nearly 500,000 high quality new homes across England, Scotland and Wales. We remain committed to leading the industry in quality, customer service and sustainability as we help to tackle the country’s housing shortage.

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