Concrete Technology

Cares sets foundation for sustainability

September 2015

The quality and sustainability of constructional steel used primarily by the reinforced concrete industry is at the heart of Cares’ certification schemes which are helping further the region’s green aspirations, says AYHAN TUGRUL.

Clients want their assets to be structurally safe, work perfectly and look outstanding as well as being environmentally and socially sustainable. They want to know what has being done in their name. How is this all-round specification delivered? Who are the people who deliver it? On which organisations does it all depend?

The Cares product certification scheme is an established approach that assures quality, and is a proven model that delivers sustainable constructional steel certification of mills and fabricators. Many corporations can be hesitant about the value of standards and certification. This is perhaps understandable, given the abundance of standards and codes developed since the Rio Earth Summit in 19921. And there’s no doubt that the negative impacts that such standards set out to correct are still out there.

So how is the Cares assured supply chain different?

The Cares Sustainable Constructional Steel (SCS) Scheme provides a means by which approved firms in the constructional steel supply chain are able to declare product and organisational level sustainability performance. This helps achieve credits in green building rating systems such as Estidama, GSAS (Global Sustainability Assessment System), Breeam (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology) and Leed (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) used in the Gulf region.

Cares auditors understand the wider context: how the organisational ‘mindset’ is so crucial to the business, and that a ‘course correction’ is often required. Indeed, to actually get on and do this means celebrating the marriage between corporate risk and reputational management and sustainability management. Working on this will help to:
• Manage various opportunities and risks to which the client is exposed;
• Deliver commercial strategy;
• Make the business model more resilient;
• Look after financial, social, economic and environmental systems in which the client operates;
• Understand the quality of relationships with stakeholders; and
• Build business value over time.

The notion of values is crucial in business: cutting through the noise to ‘doing the right thing’.

As Jim Collins says in Good To Great: “In a truly great company, profits and cash flow become like blood and water to a healthy body: They are absolutely essential for life but they are not the very point of life.”

The latest Cares Annual Sustainability Report lists numerous Cares-approved companies in the Gulf region including leading steel producers in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the UAE and Qatar.

The Cares SCS Scheme helps support and deliver projects in line with the increase in green building policies, regulations, rating systems and the promotion of a sustainable built environment in the Gulf region. There are several systems worldwide, many of which are used, for example, in the UAE: Estidama Pearl Rating System; Dubai green building regulations; US Green Building Council’s Leed; and Breeam.

Cares certification processes and schedules align well with the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council’s Estidama Pearl Rating System. The rating method includes scoring how to improve materials to attain credits.

In Estidama’s own words: “The ultimate goal of Estidama is to preserve and enrich Abu Dhabi’s physical and cultural identity, while creating an improving quality of life for residents on four equal pillars of sustainability: environmental, economic, social, and cultural.”

If you are building an infrastructure project, Cares certification will improve site costs and customer satisfaction. And if you are a steel mill or fabricator, then Cares SCS certification helps assure performance and accountability for wider risks on the ground.

Cares wants to see the benefits in the Gulf of strong steel supply chains, with their intensified levels of integrity. The organisation understands that public procurement risk assessment is increasingly likely to focus on sustainability and it has noted the following over recent years:

• Infrastructure futures: Sustainability is at the heart of the UAE Vision 2021 and the Dubai Plan 2021 is aiming to build “a sustainable nation” as well as world-class airports, ports and roads.

One striking project in line with this vision is the Masdar City, which broke ground in 2008 and embarked on a journey to develop the world’s most sustainable city. With a few thousand people living and working in Masdar City which is being constructed 17 km from Abu Dhabi, it is on its way to realising its vision. It continues to add new businesses, schools, restaurants, apartments and much more, creating the diversity of any major, modern city. When complete, 40,000 people will live there, with an additional 50,000 commuting every day to work and study.

• Technical skills: The British University in Dubai is teaching the Leed sustainable rating. Emirates Green Building Council (EmiratesGBC) has so far helped more than 500 professionals;

• Energy: EmiratesGBC’s Energy Efficiency Programme is supported by best practice guides such as the ‘Technical Guidelines for Retrofitting Existing Buildings’.

• Initiatives such as the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group (ADSG), which promotes sustainability management and reporting.

Developers and suppliers in the region are grappling with questions that will define how business is done over the next few years in the region. Sustainability risks and opportunities are part and parcel of conversations along the following lines:
• How is the growing awareness of sustainability influencing design?
• What will the next generation of sustainable cities be like?
• What is a ‘healthy’ city – and how does the construction sector need to respond?

Cares will be at the Dubai World Trade Centre in November for The Big 5 show, which brings a flourishing level of content relating to sustainability including:
• Free CPD (Continuing Professional Development) workshops that have expanded to include sustainability, such as ‘affordable housing and sustainable communities’;
• Debates on ‘innovation and efficiency in architecture and urban planning’; and
• Design Summit on trends, technologies and techniques, such as sustainability and cost-efficiency.

*Cares is an independent, not-for-profit certification body, established in 1983 to provide confidence to the users, purchasers and specifiers of constructional steels through a regime of regulation, testing and inspection. It operates for the benefit of the construction industry offering certification schemes for companies that produce materials, components or offer services, primarily to the reinforced concrete industry.

Clients can specify Cares-approved companies and products with confidence that they will comply with the relevant product or system standards and without the need for verification testing by the purchaser or contractor.

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