Economic and social responsibility
The work undertaken to create a comfortable, energy-efficient building with a good indoor climate involves numerous players. However, when it comes to the building services installations, focus is all too often on the initial price tag – despite the fact that it would be better to pay more attention to the operating costs. The reasons for this are reasonably straightforward: a developer finances the construction of a building but someone else is responsible for the future running costs. Unfortunately, suitable methods are seldom available for appraising the factors that influence life cycle costs, i.e. the costs that ought to be used as a basis for investment decisions.
And this is a situation that is frequently seen, even in large companies and at national and municipal levels. Investment budgets and operating budgets are, in many instances, two quite separate entities. The person responsible for the investment budget is given a pat on the back at the end of the year, if there is still any money left, while the person in charge of the operating budget has to fight against unnecessarily high running costs, year after year, because of earlier, onesided focus on the investment costs.
If we take note of the ongoing debates in the media and it is clear that we all have a joint responsibility when it comes to using no more energy than is absolutely necessary. It is not only a question of individual or company concern – it is a question of each and everyone’s economic and social responsibility. It is hardly regarded as being progressive when more laws, standards and regulations are called for, but we have to ask ourselves whether changes in the right direction could come about in any other way.
For each company involved in the construction of a building, their own profitability is a strong driving force and this is quite understandable. One way to tackle the issue – possibly utopian – would be to create a joint venture model based on the most reasonable solution, from an overall economic point of view, and then devise acceptable incentives for all involved to ensure strict adherence to the model.
The need to regard contracts from a more holistic perspective is discussed, as well as whether laws, standards and established practice contribute to development – or stand in its way.