We constantly read about the ways in which the construction industry is striving to be more sustainable – from reducing reliance on diesel to recycling, energy-efficient design and more… The construction industry in general, and an increasing number of forward-thinking developers, are keen to adopt sustainable methods and materials – such as engineered timber.
Broadly speaking, engineered timber comes from sustainable sources – and much of it, such as composite panelling for example, is made from recycled materials. Add to those minimal emissions in manufacture, long lifespan and 100% recyclability and you have a very strong environmental case for increasing its use. While builders and architects have long extolled its virtues, historically it has been expensive, if not impossible, to insure timber-framed buildings. There are many reasons for this – among them a perception of higher fire risk, water damage and dry rot risk and more.
Refreshingly, however, Aviva’s recent announcement points out that,
‘Although a growing number of developers are seeking to build more sustainable buildings for commercial use, insurer appetite for these risks has not kept pace. By putting significant underwriting capacity towards these projects, Aviva is demonstrating that risk management can support the UK as it moves to become climate-ready.’
The announcement on the 7th of August is the result of a pilot project in which Aviva, the UK’s biggest insurer, collaborated with a select few like-minded developers on sustainable building projects. The upshot is an insurer with genuine insight on the commercial realities of sustainable construction – and one they’ve gained by getting involved on the ground ‘with contractors, brokers and owners from the design stage… helping to ensure the resilience and repairability of buildings by using leading risk management strategies to safeguard them from water damage and fire.’
This is not only a refreshing development for the industry – it’s also a vote of confidence in our dynamism and innovative energy, encouraging more developers to build sustainability into their projects at the earliest stages.
Adam Winslow, CEO, UK & Ireland General Insurance, Aviva, said: ‘There are a growing number of developers looking to build more sustainably, both by using sustainable materials like engineered timber, and by adopting modern methods of construction. Aviva wants to embrace both: widening our underwriting appetite to insure commercial buildings using engineered timber and using our risk management expertise to minimise associated risks.’
Visit Aviva’s website for the full statement: https://www.aviva.com/newsroom/news-releases/2023/08/aviva-expands-underwriting-appetite-to-include-engineered-timber-for-commercial-buildings/