In mid-2020 the Transformation Plan was expanded to include a new workstream to focus on improving environmental sustainability, and supporting the construction sector to prepare for changes to the way we build due to climate change.

The Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act puts the spotlight even more firmly on the construction sector to determine what its contribution to New Zealand's zero carbon by 2050 should be.

The Accord recognises there are significant opportunities and challenges for the construction sector when it comes to its environmental impacts.

This workstream will create a roadmap for how the built environment and construction sector can contribute to Aotearoa New Zealand's climate and other environmental goals. The roadmap will be developed from insights across the sector and support the sector to understand its role, contribution and the shifts that are needed to meet these goals. It will identify the actions the Accord will focus on over the short term and align with other significant work underway within the sector to improve environmental performance, including the government's Building for Climate Change programme.

Building for Climate Change(external link) — MBIE.govt.nz

Environmental challenges facing the sector

Framing up the opportunities requires shared clarity on the challenges and the issues facing the construction sector. In June 2021, BRANZ published a paper for the Accord’s Environment Workstream:

Environmental challenges, opportunities and transitions for construction in Aotearoa New Zealand(external link) — BRANZ

This paper draws on insights from interviews with leaders across the sector and an analysis of trends and developments influencing the sector. The paper identifies environmental challenges facing construction in Aotearoa New Zealand and places them in a broader system-wide context, alongside some opportunities. These include: 

  • greenhouse gas emissions: making construction and building use carbon neutral
  • energy: reducing energy usage during and after construction
  • waste: minimising waste throughout the construction and building lifecycle
  • water: minimising water usage and pollution during construction, and creating more water efficient buildings and infrastructure 
  • land use: reducing the use of greenfield sites for housing and the negative impacts on biodiversity 
  • climate adaptation: planning for and building infrastructure better able to withstand the impacts of a changing climate 
  • regenerative construction: creating additional environmental benefits, not just reducing environmental harms.

If you would like to get in touch with us about this work, email accord.environment@branz.co.nz 

Programme timeline

Date Programme 
June 2021

Environmental challenges, opportunities and transitions for construction in Aotearoa New Zealand paper published.

Read the paper(external link) — BRANZ

BRANZ convenes an expert advisory group to develop a roadmap for the workstream which includes a vision and associated actions.

For information on progress and expert advisory panel see the BRANZ presentation Construction Sector Accord Transformation Plan [PDF, 2.4 MB]

October 2021 

Accord Environment Workstream initiatives developed, including vision and roadmap.

Last updated: 23 June 2021