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Dodging the risks in the supply chain to source responsibly

Kris Karslake Kris Karslake 09 Sep 2013

The challenge of responsible sourcing, much like sustainability, is putting an expansive concept into practice. Clients want it but seem unsure what it implies, although their awareness is increasing rapidly, and they will want us to prove we are responsibly sourcing materials.

Responsible sourcing  relates to the types of products and services we procure and use to build our projects, and the impact they have in our industry and beyond. Often, these products are specified by the client, but we also have a say in the matter through our supply chain, and the subcontractors we select for our projects.

A way to ensure we are using building materials that are responsibly sourced, is by evaluating our supply chain, who in turn should be signing up to standards such as the Building Research Establishment’s (BRE) Environmental and Sustainability Standard, known as BES 6001.

Hilden Grange School built by BAM

The BRE consulted publicly on what changes should be made to BES 6001 in April 2013. The results of the consultation highlighted the areas where they may need to focus their attention. These areas were lifecycle assessment, transport impacts, employment and skills, resource use, material traceability and health and safety management systems.

I hope that through the development of the standard more manufacturers will gain certification and products will be readily identifiable as responsibly sourced through BES 6001 labelling. This will be good news for BAM as we can be selective about the materials we procure, knowing who has achieved this higher standard and put responsible sourcing into practice.



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