Despite constant media coverage highlighting the ongoing battle against the effects of climate change, sustainability is not as high up the agenda as it should be. This is the main conclusion of research published today by Wavin Plastics, the UK’s leading provider of water management solutions.

Almost nine out of ten (85%) construction professionals believe that urban flooding will become a major problem if sustainable drainage is not prioritised. Three quarters of respondents have worked on developments in the last year that did not feature any special water management measures to deal with the effects of increased rain fall or flooding.

The research, commissioned by Wavin Plastics as part of its ongoing commitment to understanding more about attitudes towards sustainable development, highlights the growing need for sustainable drainage to be pushed up the construction agenda.

It further highlights the need for the industry to take a more collaborative approach to sharing best practice concerning water management. An overwhelming eight out of ten respondents believe not enough is being done across the industry to push water sustainability.

Wavin Plastics has built a significant reputation for helping to deliver safe, responsible and reliable water management solutions. It sees this research as a critical step in understanding how it can play a role in shifting behaviour and attitudes towards the implementation of sustainable water management applications.

Michelle Fleming, Wavin Plastics’ head of marketing: “This research does not make for happy reading. Awareness of sustainable water management is high but when it comes to taking action and making a difference at site level, it seems sustainability becomes a luxury not a necessity. The emphasis of the industry needs to change. The whole life-cost of a building needs to be balanced against the initial build-cost. We should be implementing solutions that not only address the commercial requirements but also deliver solutions that will ensure that in 50 years time, today’s developments are still seen as sustainable.”

She concludes: “As a major supplier to the construction industry, Wavin will increase its efforts to educate the market about cost-efficient solutions that meet the many and varied needs of the water management cycle. We want to help establish a significant shift in attitudes towards sustainable water management but we can only do this if profitable and carefully balanced solutions are made accessible to meet the broadest demographic and climatic conditions.”

Key findings:

  • Nearly 1 in 10 architects do not think sustainable water management is an important issue – leaving 10% of new developments exposed to the risks of climate change
  • 60% of respondents do not feel that sustainable water management has been prioritised as an issue in the construction industry
  • Over half of those questioned do not think that house builders and developers understand the impact of climate change and flooding
  • 85% of respondents agree that urban flooding will become a major problem in the next ten years if sustainable urban drainage is not prioritised
  • Eight out of ten architects think that as industry they are not doing enough to push water sustainability
  • 76% of architects have worked on developments in the last 12 months where the effects of increased rain fall were not considered
  • Almost nine out of ten respondents think that cost is still the number one deal maker, at the expense of optimum sustainability