​AIQS urges construction industry to integrate carbon budgets

The Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (AIQS) is calling for the construction industry to factor in embodied carbon budgets for all future construction projects, in an attempt to achieve national carbon emissions targets set by the government.

The goal of reducing upfront carbon emissions by at least 40 percent has been given a 2030 deadline by the Albanese Government. Under the proposal, all new builds and major refurbishments would be required to have an embodied carbon budget integrated into the projects’ construction cost budget from the outset, to ensure the best possible balance between cost and sustainability outcomes. “This approach allows for the development of an optimal balance between cost and sustainability,” says AIQS Director Simon Squire.

“To have effective control of carbon reduction, measurement is imperative.” Within a project, a quantity surveyor is involved in developing an initial baseline estimate for the cost and upfront carbon emissions. “To achieve a 40 percent reduction in Scope 3 carbon emissions from 2020 levels, it is crucial for the client to establish the right target in the project brief and involve the supply chain early in the design phase with the right professionals,” Squire says.

Green Building Council of Australia’s Chief Impact Officer, Jorge Chapa, says all personnel within a construction project are responsible for a reduction in carbon emissions. “A quarter of a building’s emissions are locked in on the first day the occupants walk through the front doors. Every project team gets just one shot to reduce the upfront carbon of their next building, so we welcome all efforts to ensure carbon reductions are considered at the outset of all projects,” he says. Squire believes the time is now for budgets to be introduced.
"The construction industry is encountering challenges and recognising the importance of changing course to achieve reductions in upfront carbon emissions. It is time for the wider construction industry to balance its view on cost and environment.”