Building homes requires the use of a wide range of materials ranging from bricks to light switches and window frames to taps. The diverse nature of our requirements means that our supply chain embraces companies of different sizes, spread across the length and breadth of the UK and beyond.
Our procurement process assesses the quality, cost, availability, and social and environmental impact of the various materials we use and of their suppliers. Our preference – on both environmental grounds and because of our commitment to supporting businesses in the immediate vicinity of our developments – is for locally sourced goods, including recycled and reclaimed materials, wherever practicable. We regard our principal suppliers as strategic partners who are critical to delivering the quality of homes our customers expect.
Having longstanding and highly valued partnerships in place allows us to work with our suppliers to explore and develop new and enhanced products that will simplify and improve the efficiency and safety of the build process, raise the performance of finished dwellings and reduce the energy requirement of all new homes. This collaborative approach, which has developed over many years of partnering with strategic manufacturers and suppliers, provides the solutions required of modern house building by delivering sustainable, shared, commercial benefits.
A good example of how this approach produces benefits to all parties relates to plasterboard. Our largest supplier, British Gypsum, will shortly begin production of a shorter standard plasterboard. This reflects the fact that many of our house types require only 2300 mm high wallboards but the industry standard was based on 2400 mm long boards. Consequently, 100 mm was cut off the majority of the wallboards used on our sites and this would, because of its nature, require disposal at a specialist facility. Working with other major house builders we persuaded British Gypsum that there is sufficient demand for the shorter boards to be run as a standard product. A further benefit of this change is that the boards will now be lighter and therefore easier to move, which will reduce emissions created by their delivery and reduce the risk of manual handling injuries. We will now attempt to convince our second major supplier to make a similar refinement to their product range.
Nationally and locally we encourage suppliers to use products and materials with superior environmental performance. All of the timber used in our homes – including that used for the construction of timber frames – comes from sustainable sources, the origin of which is assured by schemes such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC) or the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). This provides us with a clear chain of custody. In 2016, our use of soft wood timber increased 2% to 101,000 cubic metres (2015: 99,000 cubic metres) due to the increase in homes sold.
|Our Environment — Strategic Objectives|
|In 2017 we will:||Actions and Measurement|
|Continue to manage our carbon emissions effectively||Continued participation in the Carbon Disclosure ProjectAim to reduce the intensity of our carbon emissions by 10% from 2016 to 2025 (excluding our brick manufacturing plant)|
|Increase our use of sustainable concrete bricks as an alternative to clay bricks||Begin our own production of concrete bricks|
|Continue to investigate and invest in the use of off-site manufacturing||Continue to improve the efficient operation of our Space4 factory and increase production of insulated roof panel systems|