Climate Change and its Impact on Construction Professionals

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Climate Change for Construction Professionals – 2 Days

A course identifying future challenges for professionals engaged in all aspects of construction.

• Professor Robert Jackson CEng FICE CWEM FCIWEM MAE
• Dr Kieran Dineen CEng FICE FGS MAE


The Said Business School at the University of Oxford, together with HEC Paris (École des hautes études commerciales de Paris), one of the world’s best international business schools established in 1881, is delivering an Executive Masters in Consulting & Coaching for Change. This is aimed at senior staff in order that they become “Ready to create sustainable change.”

Similarly, the Chartered Institution of Water & Environmental Management (CIWEM) is co-delivering with The University of Essex Business School, a Masterclass in the Circular Economy. In a 1976 research report to the European Commission the vision of a circular economy was proposed in which its impact on job creation, competitiveness, resource savings, and waste prevention was discussed. This was ultimately reported in a 1982 publication Jobs for Tomorrow: The Potential for Substituting Manpower for Energy. A Circular Economy is an economic system aimed at the continual use of resources by employing systems of recycling, reuse, remanufacturing and refurbishment to create a closed system that minimises resource input and the creation of waste.

However, such well-meaning initiatives in sustainability can be easily undermined by climate change.


The physical environment within which the construction professional operates is likely to change. Increased vulnerabilities and risks to infrastructure, which currently underpins our modern, life-sustaining society, will undoubtedly impact on the role of the developer, operator, engineer, architect, surveyor, planner and lawyer supporting the construction sector.

For our legal colleagues, matters relating to causation will become increasingly complex requiring them to instruct experts who are able to articulate the broader impacts on failed or faulty infrastructure arising from threats due to climate change.

Whilst there remain numerous unknowns with regard to climatic trends there are unequivocal facts that will dictate future directions. Increasing temperatures are changing the vegetation landscape, existing species are declining and failing and new species make greater demands on the available soil moisture magnifying the impact of infrastructure. Deforestation accounts for 8% of global greenhouse-gas emissions but forests continue to maintain local and regional ecosystems providing a fragile and creaking buffer against climate change.

Equally, in terms of modernising sea defences, there are some 1.6 million kilometres of coastline shared between the 140 countries that face the sea. In bathtub water-level terms, the melting of continental ice sheets is to thermal expansion as a rubber duck is to a person but even though forecasts of sea-level rise are vexed with uncertainties and divergences, there is a strong consensus that the rate is accelerating as the world warms up. This change challenges existing sea defences, the public financing of new defences and the performance standards required to manage ever more turbulent sea and inland waterway impacts.

Consequently, societal reliance on modern infrastructure may compromise health and well-being and recent events ranging from drought to flooding; renewable energy to power blackouts; water pollution to dam defects; fracking to seismic damage; incineration to particulate pollution; and transport to landslips, all have the potential to widen expert opinion.

Hence, environmental challenges will inevitably require construction professionals to discharge additional obligations.

Learning Outcomes:

• Understand the current and future infrastructure landscape
• Appreciate the potential climate driven challenges to current infrastructure
• Have knowledge of additional performance requirements on future construction projects
• Appreciate the impact of changing utility delivery methods
• Develop a route map for assessing climate change impact on infrastructure

Aims & Objectives:

The aim of this course is to provide a thorough understanding of the challenges facing all businesses supporting the construction industry.
Course Outline:

Day 1

• Session 1 – Sustainable Development
• Session 2 – Construction materials & methods
• Session 3 – De-materialisation
• Session 4 – Climate change drivers
• Session 5 – Legislation, legal powers & responsibilities
• Session 6 – Case Studies

Day 2

• Session 1 – Impact on current infrastructure
• Session 2 – The changing face of utility supply
• Session 3 – Climate-resilient design approaches
• Session 4 – Asset management and remediation
• Session 5 – Options, strategy and next steps
• Session 6 – Exercise

Mode of Delivery:

This course will examine ways in which construction professionals affect, and are affected by, climate change. Knowledge and opinion will each be applied to specific issues through formal presentations, interactive group exercises, discussion, and a problem-based case study. Course participants will be required to apply knowledge gained during tutored sessions into syndicate work and role play.

Benefits to Participants:

After the course, delegates should have an extensive knowledge and awareness of the responsibilities of relevant bodies and individual stakeholders to a range of issues impacting on climate change.

Intended for:

The nature of the course is such that a wide range of backgrounds and experience can be accommodated. It is suited to delegates from public and private sector clients, developers, designers, planners and construction lawyers.
Pre-Course Requirements:

Duration: 2 Day

Cost: £795 + Vat

Climate Change Training in Scotland, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, Aberdeen and onsite course available throughout the UK.

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