Demonstrating construction for future generations

If what we do as industry is going to align with the work of the Future Generations Commission then demonstrating construction projects consider the wellbeing of future generations is vital. Here is how we are beginning to map that work

It could be argued that the 21st Century Schools programme, with the explicit aim of improving teaching environments across Wales, directly demonstrates the ethos of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act. By making use of the Future Generations Directory we’re seeking to demonstrate that through the project’s lifetime – from inception through design and construction to handover – that the Act is kept integral to the Client team’s decision making.

The Future Generations Directory (FG Directory) tracks a project through its design and construction phases recording how the client and design team have incorporated the Wellbeing goals and objectives within their project. Not all goals and objectives will be applicable to all schemes, but the Directory provides enough flexibility that all Local Authorities can make use of it; in the first instance on 21st Century School schemes. Once its use is more established it is hoped that the FG Directory can then be applied to all construction projects procured by Local Authorities and those named in the Act.

With the role of the Future Generations Commissioner and her team now established, it’s time to demonstrate that the Construction Industry is willing to contribute to working to the ethos of the Act. As Jane Davidson, instrumental in developing the Act, states in the introduction to her #futuregen book, the Act “…provides permission to think sustainably in an unsustainable world”.

Later in the book, when set the question “In 10 years’ time will Wales be governed differently because of the Act?” Jane responds “There is a need to develop better ways to achieve learning (including from mistakes), measuring change (tracking the journey) and audit budgets (ensuring fitness for purpose). The Act enables a new approach to governance

We need to demonstrate shift changes in our behaviour, in our procurement and construction delivery; are we living up to the accolades that showered the Act when it was passed? It’s in the resulting action taken that the power of such an Act is realised. Are we confident that our projects are delivering the maximum for the opportunity and capital investment?  

CEWales has been a champion of sustainable development, whether that’s through our Zero Waste pilot projects, research and demonstration of a Circular Economy approach or supporting Active Travel initiatives. Anne Sharp at Troup Bywaters + Anders, who is undertaking the review, commented that “We feel the Directory offers a mechanism to demonstrate the start of behaviour change in the Welsh construction industry that Jane Davidson sets out and that the Commissioner has challenged us to deliver as well. The Directory can help the various strands of sustainable development be recorded in a single place, enabling auditing, lessons to be learnt and shared.”

Launched back in 2019, following a series of workshops with representatives from the public and private sector, the Future Generations Directory (FG Directory) has created a platform for Local Authority Project Managers to record and archive information against each of the Wellbeing Goals. Currently the directory, which is based in excel, records information at each of the RIBA stages. Through consultation and in a bid to widen the Directory’s use across all construction in Wales, we are reviewing this and may change to a broader set of milestones, for example, inception, design, construction and handover / operation.

CE Wales, in partnership with CLAW and the Future Generation Commissioners office, are currently completing a review project. A series of workshops have already been held with local authorities’’ 21st Century Schools teams and we now have ten local authorities participating in piloting the directory on fourteen projects.

The review project will continue through to September 2021. We’ve a series of workshops planned April – July 2021 and if you’d like to be involved and contribute to the review, please do contact