How do we build for Future Generations?

Construction plays a critical role in the future of Wales, but does it respond to the challenges of the Future Generations Act?

On 24th January we held a major event to ask the question: just what does the Wellbeing Future of Generations Act (Wales) mean for the construction sector? It was the culmination of a series of workshops we had undertaken either side of Christmas with stakeholders across the industry in the south and north and amongst different generations of professionals.

We did get some great ideas and answers, but this conference is not the end of the work. It is just the beginning, because to ensure that construction is to deliver a built environment fit for future generations that complies with the objectives of the Act then everyone involved in Welsh construction must learn how everything it does is connected to the Future Generation Wales Act and its core targets.

So, what are we going to do next? We will be continuing our research, lobbying decision makers and seeking to educate everyone up and down the supply chain. We will be publishing our intentions and an outline plan of action before Easter. We expect that our ideas will develop and we will update everyone via a dedicated section of the CEWales web site and a specific issue of our newsletter.  

One important note to stress is that we do not believe any new legislation or compliance is required. The existing rules are good enough. What’s required is a shift in perceptions, more understanding and radical change in behaviours – all of which requires guidance, not more red tape. Welsh construction and the WFG Act are intrinsically linked – so what we urge you to do is check the  Future Generations web site for information or call or email of the CEWales team. What we do have to share is some initial ideas and objectives. Here are just a flavour of the ideas suggested in line with some of the WFG Act goals.

The first is for a prosperous Wales –

  • Cap CO2 footprint on construction materials and processes, use local resources, become more self sufficient
  • Clients, designers and contractors to bring benefits to local Welsh economy – needs a mind-set change/incentives/contractual goals
  • Rebalance of how we view value rather than cost – whole life societal costs.  People who don’t incur costs need to share costs e.g. improvements to health through retrofit

A resilient Wales –

  • Equipping the people of Wales with the skills necessary to adapt to a changing environment/economy
  • Develop planning policy that will incentivise sustainable development
  • Encourage, improve green connectivity and infrastructure.

A healthier Wales –

  • Design – how buildings work/environment – pleasant to live and work/psychological impact
  • Per capita requirement for green space
  • Encourage best practice in urban design that promotes sustainable transport to reduce reliance on car use.

A more equal Wales –

  • Infrastructure – reliable, affordable connections to facilities/opportunities
  • Support industry to provide employment and training
  • Reduce gender gap in Wales in construction
  • Deliver affordable housing located in areas that have multiple opportunities in respect of education, training and employment.

A more cohesive Wales –

  • Better connections/green links across the landscape
  • Build multifunctional buildings that will contribute to the whole community and meet their needs rather than focussing on profit
  • People centric design, involve local people in the design – go beyond consultation
  • Ensure that infrastructure is in place so that everyone has affordable high speed internet.