Developing Australian-Based Embodied Carbon Standards

OpEd – Grant Warner (CEO, Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors)

To achieve Net Zero carbon by 2035, it is imperative for the Australian construction industry to develop and adopt Australian-Based Embodied Carbon Standards which are independent, transparent, and meet international standards.

As noted by Slattery in their Upfront Embodied Carbon Benchmarks report, at present there are no industry agreed frameworks in Australia and, as a result, there are inconsistencies in methodology, scope and data sources that deliver inconsistent results. Additionally, not all professionals use the same methods or data sources. This makes comparisons and benchmarking across different businesses/projects problematic.

AIQS therefore, is working with MECLA, NABERS, GBCA and others to assist in the development of a national framework for measuring, certifying, and benchmarking emissions from construction and building materials.

The main goal is to create a transparent benchmark which can stand up to external scrutiny and get to a point where the industry can be on a level playing field and communicating to clients/stakeholders in a common language.

Once this comprehensive framework for measuring and benchmarking emissions has been developed, the next step will be in ensuring emissions are correctly quantified on each and every future project.

The NSW Government has taken a lead through its Discussion Paper “Decarbonising Infrastructure Delivery” which identifies a number of principles to account for a reduction of embodied carbon in infrastructure projects.

Any meaningful quantification of embodied carbon prior to construction can only be undertaken with the provision of comprehensive project design and documentation.

Here the engagement of the quantity surveyor at project inception will prove critical in quantifying embodied carbon.

by Grant Warner (CEO, Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors)

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