On-Site Magazine

Launched: Universal method to report carbon

International coalition of construction organizations has published a universal standard for reporting carbon dioxide emissions in the building and lifecycle of structures.

December 3, 2021   Adam Freill
Construction

An international coalition of almost 50 construction organizations, in collaboration with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), has published the world’s first universal standard for reporting carbon dioxide emissions in the building and lifecycle of structures.

An estimated 40 per cent of global carbon emissions are emitted every year through the construction of new buildings and infrastructure. The International Cost Management Standard (ICMS3) sets out a methodology for construction professionals and developers to calculate the amount of embodied carbon their projects will create.

According to RICS, the launch of ICMS3 represents the starting pistol being fired for the construction sector to embrace net-zero as a global, interconnected industry, and follows the COP-26 climate conference in Glasgow (UK) where world leaders set bold targets to avert a global disaster.

The organization cited the many, sometimes conflicting, ways to report carbon prior to the development of the new standard, as well as its findings in its Global Construction Monitor that much of the industry didn’t feel that accurate carbon measurement was understood, as indictors of a need for a more unified approach.

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The organization says the ICMS3 method will allow for the reporting of the emissions created and may help developers to alter their proposals to select more sustainable materials or adopt alternate construction practices to drive down the impact to the climate.

As well as reporting on embodied carbon, ICMS3 also allows the lifecycle, cost and carbon impacts of a building or infrastructure to be considered long after construction is complete.

“The use of ICMS 3 will benefit all construction stakeholders who wish to reduce carbon for a combination of compliance, market and societal reasons and also drive innovation in terms of alternative designs and solutions,” stated Alan Muse, head of construction standards at RICS. “We need globally standardized reporting systems. Unless we measure it, we cannot manage it.”

RICS is planning to publish an updated whole life carbon assessment standard in 2022, which will align to ICMS3.

The International Cost Management Standard (ICMS3) can be found and read for free via the RICS website: ICMS 3 (rics.org).