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Construction Materials: Common concerns

The construction industry is notoriously slow to change, with complex contractual, hierarchal and supply chain systems, that can make change seem risky and costly. With this in mind, Materials in Mind is inviting builders and trades to send us questions, common issues and concerns they have relating to materials, waste and recycling in their sector (great ideas, solutions and examples welcome too).

We are looking to gather together real experiences – beginning this process at a local level – and share practical and accessible solutions already being implemented by builders and trades people to help others make impactful changes to the way they work and move toward more environmentally beneficial and future-proofed business models.

We invite questions relating to materials, products and the processes involved in both making them and building with them. For example, you might want to know what quick wins would help you minimise waste or your business’s carbon footprint. Or perhaps you want to be able to ask suppliers the right questions to ensure you get value for money as well as for people and planet.

Some of the big topics Materials in Mind will be exploring include sand and in particular, concrete – that familiar and ubiquitous material which dominates our urban surroundings -and the second most used material on the planet (global use equates to 1m3 of concrete per person, per year). It is projected that global new developments will add the equivalent of New York City every month for the next 40 years. That amounts to a lot of concrete, and a lot of sand. Is there really that much of these resources available to us? And what consequences will there be along the way.

As many main stream newspapers and industry updates have reported, severe supply shortages and price increases are having huge knock on effects right across the industry. I will be looking at supply alternatives such as materials salvage and reuse and responding to your questions on the subject.

Clearly much change is needed and quickly. Materials in Mind is exploring the ways businesses can use construction (and other more universal) toolkits to make understanding and achieving new and impending rules and regulations easier. From understanding carbon (in relation to your day to day business and operations) to making the most of our local economy.

If you are or know someone in the construction industry or a related role, with a burning question or challenge to address please do get in touch. We welcome and value your input. Email

For those unfamiliar with Earth Overshoot day – it’s the day when our consumption of resources exceeds what is sustainably available in a year – in 2020 this was 22 August, meaning we need at least 2 planets to cope with our current level of consumption. We only have 1 planet Earth and so need to adjust our most resource heavy habits (construction, food..) so that there is enough for our grand children and their children.

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Established in 2018, Materials in Mind developed out of founder Jenny Ford’s previous career working with engineered timber buildings and master’s degree in Sustainable Development in Practice.