Low-carbon construction advice

A consortium led by Salford University has secured a three-year £6m grant to help construction firms develop environmentally friendly building methods.

The university’s Centre for Construction Innovation is involved in a partnership with Central Lancashire University, Liverpool University, Urban Vision and the Building Research Establishment.

Each partner contributed £1.5m to the project with the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) matching a further £1.5m, alongside a £3m grant from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The investment will be used to offer small and medium-sized businesses in the north west access to advice on issues surrounding low-carbon construction. A government body called Business Link will act as the first port of call and will direct business to relevant members of the consortium for specialist advice.

The members hope that their expertise will reduce the carbon footprint of the built environment, which they claim is responsible for 45 per cent of UK carbon emissions.

Salford’s vice-chancellor, Prof Martin Hall, said: ‘These grants will help small businesses beat the recession, as well as provide longer-term benefits to the industry. There is a real need for this type of initiative at the moment, but it will form part of a longer-term strategy that will enable companies to succeed not just this year, but well into the future.’

Hall added: ‘Often companies can’t afford to invest in high-quality advice that will see them through the years to come, because the industry is so competitive that they can only concentrate on the short term.

‘This project means they can take advantage of university-level knowledge that they would otherwise have had to spend a lot of money on. It will allow them to keep an eye on the future, even though times are hard.’