Achilles Experiences: CEMARS helps BAM Group UK drive up efficiency and offer better value for clients

3 Jan 2017
Article by Achilles

BAM is a UK-based leading supplier of civil engineering and construction services. BAM in the UK comprises BAM Nuttall (civil engineering) and BAM Construct UK (construction). In Autumn 2016, BAM attended an Achilles event celebrating the carbon reduction achievements of companies from across the construction, rail, utilities, manufacturing and public sectors. BAM was one of the 30 organisations to have made significant carbon savings year-on-year over a six-year period by following a systematic carbon reduction programme – Carbon & Energy Management and Reduction Scheme (CEMARS®).

Challenge

Sarah Jolliffe, Energy Manager at BAM Nuttall, believes their four main challenges associated with energy efficiencies included:

  • Collating energy data in the right way so the facts are clear
  • Internal engagement and behaviours
  • Keeping project costs down
  • Keeping tenders competitive

‘The company needed to be able to quantify our energy consumption and carbon output to answer customers’ questions and communicate our challenges to internal teams,’ Jolliffe said. ‘Without CEMARS, we would have been on the back foot. CEMARS gives us the credibility required to meet carbon reduction challenges in the modern world.’

Jesse Putzel, Head of Sustainability at BAM Construct UK, says: ‘We’ve been working on managing and reducing emissions within our business since 2007 when we first published our carbon footprint publicly. In that time, we’ve made great strides to improve measurement, and to develop and implement industry best practice. Completing CEMARS certification provided us with a greater focus and a structure to work with – and we’ve seen the benefits. Our average energy saving on sites has improved by 38%, a great achievement. Our focus going forward needs to be on making a step change in moving construction away from fossil fuels, which is a big challenge, and in helping our clients to reduce the wider emissions associated with infrastructure and buildings.’

Process

The BAM companies in the UK work together with an Achilles auditor once a year for two days to fully audit their energy processes. Before CEMARS was introduced, the energy calculations were made on separate spreadsheets, which was challenging to keep on top of and measure accurately. Now, the Achilles auditor works with BAM’s team to review supplier records and to create a reduction plan, which includes ways to make savings such as converting to LED lighting or by implementing hybrid plant and equipment. ‘It’s a really useful process,’ says Jolliffe. ‘It’s another pair of eyes so it’s really valuable.’

Results

The BAM companies have been using CEMARS for six years and have seen a reduction in carbon emissions of 17.72 percent when compared with their baseline data. ‘When you consider that a high proportion of our emissions are dictated by the type of work in the market, this is a great accomplishment,’ says Putzel. ‘We’ve been able to make consistent reductions within our buildings operations and incremental savings within infrastructure.’ CEMARS helps BAM to create and work to SMART targets throughout the year, and these are written into the carbon reduction plan with the Achilles auditor. ‘It’s information we are aware of,’ says Jolliffe. ‘But by working through it with the auditor, it formalises it.’

The wider benefits of this approach include:

Leaner and more efficient projects. Examples include construction of the main station box during the Crossrail project at Tottenham Court Road, which originally featured five levels of structural support. At design stage, the team was able to remove one of the five levels, reducing the cost and saving a significant amount of operational and embodied carbon.

A second example is reducing the amount of materials delivered to site during a new road building project and instead looking at ways to re-use existing materials already in the ground. Examining and testing what’s already in the ground can make projects such as these far more environmentally friendly. BAM’s temporary accommodation and site set ups have become consistently more efficient due to continual analysis and working with suppliers to develop more sustainable technologies.

Consistent reporting and internal awareness. Reporting through CEMARS is consistent and simple to understand, which makes it easier to convey facts and figures to teams internally, helping them all to work towards energy saving targets.

Competitiveness and the ability to win tenders. CEMARS helps to satisfy CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme audit processes, ESOS regulatory requirements and provides BAM Group (UK) with greenhouse gas reporting, which clients will look for when shortlisting companies to tender.

Knowledge sharing and consultancy with external parties. Due to the expertise BAM Group (UK) has amassed over the years, the company is able to share knowledge on what works within the construction sector and is involved in a range of industry groups to spread this best practice.

Linking up with BAM’s parent company Royal BAM Group, which must comply with EU and global reporting schemes. Royal BAM Group reports annually on emissions and has remained a high-ranking company achieving a globally leading ‘A’ rating as part of CDP for the last three years. CEMARS complements this by giving confidence that the BAM companies in the UK have measured and managed their carbon impacts to a high standard.

“Nothing gets missed. We are aware of our total environmental impact and able to share it with the rest of the business and potential customers too. We know how to remove sustainability weaknesses and make savings – even before a
shovel goes into the ground.”
Sarah Jolliffe, Energy Manager, BAM Nuttall


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