New support to reduce emissions from public building and construction projects

Government agencies are getting new support to reduce carbon emissions generated by construction of new buildings, with the release of practical guidance to shape decisions on public projects.

The Ministers for Building and Construction and for Economic Development say a new Procurement Guide will help government agencies, private sector suppliers, designers, and construction and industry representatives to make the right decisions.

“I encourage the wider building and construction industry to use the new Procurement Guide issued by MBIE, to get a practical understanding about the way to approach tenders for public projects,” said Poto Williams.

“A number of private sector and industry groups have contributed to the development of the Procurement Guide, and while it is not designed to be a technical document it does give helpful guidance to support the transition to a net zero emissions economy by 2050.

“This approach is consistent with the goals of the Construction Sector Accord, and is also aligned with the aims of the Building for Climate Change programme, to lower emissions in the construction sector and prepare buildings for the future effects of climate change,” Poto Williams said.

“I have long been a champion of greater use of low-carbon materials like timber in building and construction projects, and want that embedded in decision-making and design thinking across the wider public sector,” said Stuart Nash.

“Agencies that are required to apply Government Procurement Rules must now apply the Procurement Guide to decisions about new buildings with an estimated value of $9 million or over.

“Government agencies must now clearly record decisions about the way they choose design options. If they choose a design that is not the lowest possible carbon option to meet their project brief they must identify the reason for this, and have the decision signed off by their Chief Executive.

“This new Procurement Guide reflects the government’s goal to transition to a carbon neutral public service. The procurement practices of public service agencies have the power to influence decisions by private and community sectors when it comes to carbon-neutral and low-emission technologies.

“It is also in line with the recommendations of the Climate Change Commission’s final report issued last week. The Commission has confirmed we are making good progress to reduce emissions, but a ‘step-up’ is now required.

“The transition to a low emissions future will create jobs and new opportunities for Kiwi businesses and signalling our direction now will provide business with certainty to invest in new technology or processes,” Stuart Nash said.

The Guide to Reducing Carbon Emissions in Building and Construction is attached to this statement and is also available online here:

https://www.procurement.govt.nz/procurement/specialised-procurement/construction-procurement/construction-procurement-guidelines/#reducing-carbon-emissions-in-building-and-construction

The Guide is a first step and will be modified and updated overtime.