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Last updateThu, 16 Jun 2022 8am

There’s good news on the jobs front, and a deal of green flag waving

Construction National blog logoThere has been further good news for the construction industry in the past couple of weeks – at least in terms of the housebuilding sector. The latest NHBC rolling quarter figures – from May to July – show a staggering 30% increase on the same quarter last year. Of course, the same caveat applies as did to the figures from the Mortgage Advice Bureau covered in my last column – we are starting from a very low base, so an absence of growth would be a disaster. It may well be that the particular quarter under consideration accounts for a large leap that is not being sustained.

Nevertheless, it would be churlish not to welcome any good news, and particularly when it is reflected in employment opportunities. The data from the Reed Job Index shows an even more staggering rise in job opportunities in the industry: up by no less than 67% year-on-year. That compares with a more modest – but still welcome – rise in opportunities across the board of 16%.

The figure was held up as showing the construction industry leading the recovery. That is not a familiar pattern. It was conventional wisdom that the sector was usually first into recession and last out.

• The massive Crossrail project is continuing to reach milestone after milestone and improve its sustainability credentials. This month saw the one millionth tonne of tunnelled earth moved by train and ship to the new nature reserve being created by the RSPB in Essex.

It’s a multiple flag-waver: Not only is the waste being kept off the roads and moved about in a more energy-efficient manner; it’s also going towards a major new ecological asset. And as for the size of that vaulting horse!

• This week is also World Green Building Week, which is supported by our own UK Green Building Council. This year the theme is Greener buildings, better places, healthier people. It is an issue that has been debated in this column. More environmentally friendly buildings do promote health and wellbeing in the people who live or work in them.

Paul King, chief executive of UK-GBC, is quoted on its website thus: “Whether it’s improved productivity in offices, faster recovery rates in hospitals or better exam results in schools, sustainable buildings don’t just deliver important benefits for planet and profit. World Green Building Week aims to highlight how green buildings greatly enhance the lives of their occupants – the people who they are designed for in the first place.”

The event saw the presentation of the snappily-named WorldGBC Leadership Awards - Europe Region. The awards recognised organisations that had set standards in sustainability in buildings in Europe. British Land was one of the three winners. The award, in the Business Leadership in Sustainability was for its efforts in cutting landlord-influenced energy by 38% and reducing carbon emissions by more than 39,000 tonnes by March this year, compared to a 2009 baseline.

Chris Stokes