Concrete is the world’s most used building material. It is abundant, affordable, locally available and can be used in innumerable ways.
We recognise that there are not one, but two existential challenges facing our world – i) climate change, and ii) the crisis in the natural world impacting its biodiversity.
Optimal building materials Responding to the profound nature of the environmental crisis, questions are rightly being asked by all involved in the built environment about what are the optimal building materials that can help us to decarbonise our world whilst safely fulfilling the requirements of the building projects and infrastructure our world needs to thrive.
Fair assessment We are calling for a fair assessment in construction material choices, avoiding preference for one particular material over another. Materials should be chosen in the context of the whole building to achieve optimum design, performance and sustainability. We call for accuracy and equity, highlighting the need for full accounting of the real environmental and carbon footprint of all building materials, including timber.
Sustainability values of concrete
Concrete offers significant sustainability benefits over other building materials thanks to its innate properties, strength, durability and resilience, its minimal land use responsible stewardship of land, its local availability, its versatility that requires no additional finishes, and in terms of minimising CO2 its recyclability, reusability, ability to recarbonate, and lower the energy needs of buildings.
Whilst timber has a role to play as a building material and some can be shown to be responsibly sourced, it is increasingly being positioned as a more sustainable building material than concrete and an appropriate substitute for all types of construction.
An increasing number of policy and decision makers in the construction sector are showing a preferential bias for using timber as a building material. Evidence shows that this is often based on a number of misconceptions.
The GCCA calls for fair assessment in construction material choices, avoiding preference for one particular construction material over another. Materials should be chosen in the context of the whole building to achieve optimum design, performance and sustainability.