PFI: Meeting the sustainability challenge

PFI: Meeting the sustainability challenge

A significant number of new hospitals and schools are being commissioned under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI), whereby contracts are negotiated with the private sector to finance, design, build and operate public buildings according to Government criteria. For instance, all secondary schools in England are due to be rebuilt or refurbished in the next fifteen years, at least half by the PFI route.
The Government has declared its commitment to sustainable development; it must now lead the way by procuring buildings that are energy and water efficient, encourage waste minimisation, and promote community regeneration and social inclusion. Significantly, PFI contracts are for the construction and maintenance of buildings over a 25 to 30 year period, so they should provide an opportunity for contractors to demonstrate the economic, as well as the environmental benefits of sustainable design. But flaws in the PFI policy process mean that too often good design is passed over in favour of bids that are least-cost in the short term.
This report, based on interviews and dialogue with key players from government, the construction industry and PFI consortia, as well as advisers and funders, identifies the barriers to the uptake of sustainable design, and makes recommendations that should enable stakeholders to work together towards a more sustainable built environment.
Green Alliance would like to thank AWG plc for supporting this project.
Julie Hill, Joanna Collins
Publication Date:
2 August, 2004

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