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I was privileged to grace the Thomas Allen podcast of International Construction. The topic was on Sustainable building vis a vis the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The real question was how can the construction industry be sustainable in the confines of the SDGs.


In September 25 2015 States met and adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This was set as the New Sustainable Development agenda. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were set and each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years, for the goals to be achieved, everyone needs to play their part; including us in the construction sector, the government and private sector.


Some legislations across the globe and the cost pressures associated with projects has led the construction industry to seek ways to reduce its carbon footprint in the confines of the SDGs. Agreed, the construction industry has a lot to do considering its impact in the world. According to PriceCooperWaterHouse, buildings represent a 1/3 of energy and materials consumed worldover.


With solutions being discussed and implemented and much investment poured into Research and Development, some construction industry players are coming up with sustainable environmental initiative that does not affect the costs of projects.


Here are some examples of Construction industry players coming up with sustainable environmental initiatives.


Sustainable assessment method for Civil Engineering works

FCC Construction a Spanish based construction company has come up with SAMCEW (sustainable assessment method for civil engineering works) an award-winning initiative. The crux of the initiative is to improve its working not only on environmental level but also on socio-economical side.


The impact of this initiative affects the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

· Goals 3 - Good health and well being,

· Goals 7 - affordable and clean energy and goal 8 decent work and economic growth

· Goal 9 - industry innovation and infrastructure.


This is a good demonstration of what the construction sector can do.


Recycling of Concrete aggregates

Lafarge Holcim is also doing a good job in implementing SDGs in the construction sector. Its initiatives are aimed at covering the entire construction chain. The aim is to transform in fields like carbon savings, energy efficiency in buildings, responsible sourcing of construction materials and common methodologies and tools to measure sustainable performance. Creative

efforts are also seen with the recycling of concrete, aggregates form demolition waste and reclaimed asphalt paving (aggneo)


Restoring Natural Infrastructure

A national summit was held in the US by Caterpillar which helped to create a white paper titled; Restoring Natural Infrastructure: Strategies for thriving Communities, Business and ecosystems.


Water Sustainable usage

Coming home the University of Stellenbosch conducted research on water sustainable usage in the construction industry. The research stresses on variable speed drives equipped with intelligent control systems featuring advanced communication capabilities such as BACnet and Modbus protocols. These systems offer seamless building management integration and maximises pump efficiency and prevents wear and tear in commercial buildings.


Sustainable City

A sustainable city called Lusail is being built in Qatar's vision 2030. The project will change the Middle Eastern state to a sustainable society in achieving its SDGs.


The construction industry has a huge task to achieve a sustainable future for us and the next generation. Its starts by localising the SGDs by starting right where you are.

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About Samuel Charandura

Samuel Charandura is a human rights and youth advocate.He is experienced in the construction sector having worked on numerous projects big and small across South Africa.He is also a law researcher with interests in Human Rights and construction law.He is the Founder and CEO of legal rights for construction workers (legalrico) an organisation that seeks to empower youths in construction through implementation of Sustainable Developments Goals.