Net Zero

19 JAN 2022


AECOM has developed a new carbon and cost tool with the Environment Agency that will be rolled out across all Environment Agency construction projects to help the organisation meet its 2030 net zero ambitions. 

Producing integrated cost and carbon estimates within a single platform for the first time, the tool provides consistency and a more accurate measurement and reporting mechanism that will help the Environment Agency to identify optimum sustainable solutions at the beginning of every project.

The first phase of the roll out will be used to calculate capital cost and whole-life carbon, with later phases focused on whole-life cost estimates, integration with BIM and capture of actuals from the supply chain. Once fully deployed, the tool will enable the Environment Agency to consider whole-life assessments for both cost and carbon during investment decision-making.

The tool will help build estimates much faster, reducing the time it takes to calculate project specifics and enabling earlier engagement with suppliers. Capturing actuals and comparing them to planned rates also means benchmark rates will continually improve, narrowing the estimating gap and facilitating client-led cost setting.

Alex Jones, carbon and cost tool project manager at the Environment Agency, said: “By combining this capability into one platform we expect to benefit from faster estimates built around one consistent methodology with added transparency in the estimation build-up. We expect this improved transparency will help early supplier engagement and allow projects to assess options, reach optimal solutions and make better informed decisions earlier.”

Tristan Harvey-Rice, director of cost intelligence, AECOM, said: “Bringing together carbon and cost data in this new way of working means carbon can sit at the heart of project prioritisation every single time. The tool makes huge amounts of up-to-date cost and carbon data very accessible, bringing efficiencies to the estimating process and crucially, enabling better informed decision-making around carbon. By adopting this new tool across all its projects, the Environment Agency is leading the way as public bodies across all sectors in the UK continue their efforts to cut carbon emissions.”

Central to the development of the tool is the use of asset ‘assemblies’ that produce detailed cost and carbon estimates throughout the project lifecycle, including the early stages when typically, little scope detail exists. As a project design develops, asset details and assumptions can be replaced with known scope, which will instantly produce revised cost and carbon estimates. This will enable the Environment Agency to monitor its carbon impact and reduce uncertainty when target price setting with suppliers, accelerating the process of getting projects into delivery.

The tool forms part of the Environment Agency’s Asset Information Management Systems (AIMS) programme that is transforming ways of working by collating and leveraging the huge volumes of asset data held within the organisation. The tool uses a centralised rate library that is based on the best available information from industry sources, as well as the Environment Agency’s own historic project data. As new cost and carbon data from delivered projects becomes available, the rate library will automatically update.

AECOM was expert technical advisor for the development of the tool, delivering cost, carbon, analytical and economic assessment expertise.


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