AXA UK calls on Government to create taskforce to make buildings fit for the future

12 October 2022

Posted in Innovation

  • 11 major players with a vested interest in the UK built environment sector call for a new cross-industry sustainable buildings taskforce to ensure buildings are fit for the future
  • AXA UK, Arcadis and Kennedys among signatories to the letter which has been sent to Simon Clarke, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities 
  • The Government must focus on the built environment and the role it can play in mitigating the challenges the UK faces today, from energy costs to the transition to net zero 
  • Letter issued following the publication of a new AXA UK report which outlines further recommendations to put sustainability, resilience and efficiency at the heart of building and regeneration policy

Major organisations across the built environment sector have today signed a letter to Simon Clarke, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, urging the Government to set up a new cross-industry taskforce to make what is built today fit for the different and evolving needs of future generations. 

The letter calls on the new Government to put sustainability, longevity, safety and resilience at the heart of its plans to get Britain working, building, and growing again. It warns that without reforming building regulations and policy, the Government risks exposing people across the country to a host of economic and social costs associated with poorly designed, insufficiently regulated, and ageing buildings. These include higher-than-average energy bills, lower home resale value, and increased vulnerability to extreme weather events. 

The UK has a unique opportunity to reform its traditional, short-term approach to housing and building policy and embrace a longer-term view – one where quantity is not prioritised at the expense of quality. This is driven by an overwhelming need for greater control over energy costs as well as the creation of more affordable housing. The construction industry has expressed their commitment to building and regenerating more sustainably, whilst the business community looks to redefine the modern workplace post-COVID, both of which will benefit from a greater focus on sustainability in housing and building policy.

At a time when the Government must focus on supporting households and businesses face historic energy price increases, industry experts are calling on decision-makers to adopt a wider, more holistic approach, which takes a view over decades, not just years. While the Government’s recent energy support package is necessary, to improve energy-efficiency and tackle the affordability challenge over the long-term, it must also turn its attention towards the built environment and the role it can play in mitigating the issues we face today and in the future. 

AXA UK, Arcadis and Kennedys are amongst the 11 businesses calling for a sustainable building taskforce to consolidate a long-term, integrated approach to housing and building policy, which is reflective of the built environment’s potential to drive positive outcomes for consumers and the wider economy. 

The letter is underpinned by AXA UK’s Sustainable Buildings report, which sets out recommendations for the Government to improve the sustainability of the built environment and support the nation’s resilience to emerging risks. The recommendations address a range of issues, including the affordability of sustainable homes, the role of data and technology in creating more efficient buildings, workforce and consumer education, as well as the future of building regulation. 

Headshot of Claudio Gienal, Chief Executive Officer, AXA UK and Ireland

As a leading insurer, AXA UK takes a keen interest in the evolution of the building landscape, including the need to see a safer, greener, and future-proofed building stock. The built environment plays a vital role in supporting the UK’s energy security and building resilience to emerging risks such as flooding and extreme weather. 

Unfortunately, regulation is yet to catch up with the crucial need to make what we build today fit for the evolving requirements of future generations. That’s why we are calling on the Government to create a sustainable buildings taskforce to bring together all those involved in the development of the UK’s building stock and help communities reap the benefits of a well-planned, energy efficient, and more resilient building landscape.

Claudio Gienal, Chief Executive Officer at AXA UK&I