Sustainable construction in procurement

Sustainable construction is a set of processes to assist the construction industry deliver built assets that enhance the quality of life and offer customer satisfaction, offer flexibility and the potential for user changes in the future, provide and support desirable natural and social environments, and maximise the efficient use of resources.

The Sustainable Construction Group

The Sustainable Construction Group was set up in December 2004 to issue guidance to project sponsors and project managers in relation to sustainable construction. Construction & Procurement Delivery (CPD) chairs the group and membership includes representation from Centres of Procurement Expertise and Government Construction Clients in Northern Ireland.

The work of the group is guided by the Policy Framework for Construction Procurement and in particular The Government Construction Clients Group (GCCG) Sustainability Action Plan (2012-2015) which sets targets and objectives.

Achieving Excellence in Construction Procurement - Sustainability

The Cabinet Office Efficiency and Reform Group (previously the Office of Government Commerce) has a helpful publication 'Achieving Excellence in Construction Procurement: Guide 11 - Sustainability Guide', which builds on the themes identified in the GCCG Sustainability Action Plan.

Sustainable construction guidance notes

A set of guidance notes is available to advise on sustainable construction.

Topics include: 

  • general roles and responsibilities (of CPD, contracting authorities, Centres of Procurement Expertise, and project managers in relation to sustainable construction)
  • targets for recycling (as recycling is one of the most important targets for sustainable construction - a minimum of 10% of the material value of the project should derive from recycled or reused content)
  • construction, demolition and excavation waste materials (explaining proper disposal procedures and promoting best practice and the use of site waste management plans)
  • reuse and recycling of bulk inert materials / aggregates (in order to reduce consumption of natural resources, energy, transports costs and waste going to landfill)
  • use of the Considerate Constructors Scheme (which is a mandatory requirement of the Sustainability Action Plan)
  • demolition, dismantling, recovery and reuse (new procedures and practices for employers, project managers and contractors to follow)
  • sustainable design in the built environment (for all projects commenced after 1 June 2011)
  • durable and sustainable concrete (for use in government construciton projects)
  • download the sustainable construction guidance notes

Proposal for promoting equality and sustainable development, by sustainable procurement in construction

Through the Construction Industry Forum for Northern Ireland, the Government Construction Clients Group and the construction industry (as represented by the Construction Industry Group for Northern Ireland), have jointly explored how sustainability issues could be incorporated into construction contracts.

Guidance on equality of opportunity and sustainable development in public sector procurement

The Equality of Opportunity and Sustainable Development in Public Sector Procurement document contains guidance on how to integrate equality and sustainable development considerations into the procurement process, while meeting the existing statutory duties in relation to equality of opportunity and sustainable development.

Northern Ireland Sustainable Development Strategy

In 2010 the NI Executive published the Sustainable Development Strategy Everyone's Involved - a strategy designed to provide a framework that can support and inform the decisions and actions taken by individuals, groups and organisations in progressing the sustainability agenda.


Information is also available on BREEAM (an environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings) and CEEQUAL (the sustainability assessment, rating and awards scheme for civil engineering).

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