Michael Kane, the recently retired CEO of Boral Limited, was a mindful steward for the green revolution during his career in construction.
The construction industry has a perceived reputation for shortsighted practices that do not always take the environment into consideration. However, one industry professional named Michael Kane Boral sought to raise the profile of the sector by conscientious efforts that reduced its impact. As we all know, it can be tough to go against the grain when momentum, a looming deadline, or a budget are dictating the pace of a project. But with thorough foresight, a good project manager can balance these considerations and provide stakeholders with the equity they are seeking.
Michael Kane‘s Perspectives on Construction’s Environmental Footprint
Materials science is making great advances for the new construction sector, finding clean substitutes for traditional materials that have been found to have unwelcome side effects. “Eco-friendly building materials, in order to succeed in the market must meet or beat incumbent products on cost and price. For ‘new to market’ products that means an extended period of losses until the new product reaches manufacturing scale with sufficient volume to drive down manufacturing cost. Second, eco-friendly building products must present not just an eco justification but meet or beat incumbent products on performance. This is further complicated by a construction industry that is extremely conservative, fearful of performance failure and liability, and comfortable with a one hundred and thousand-year-old product life cycle (think cement, bricks, wood). Because of all these headwinds – if your product can survive these challenges you have accomplished much.”, said Michael Kane Boral proudly regarding his experience with environmentally friendly building materials.
Large-scale construction projects are under pressures physical and metaphorical. Green construction materials help to alleviate community concerns while strengthening a project against the forces of nature. Boral sings the praises of fly ash in opposition to concrete. Michael Kane Boral remarked, “My experience with fly ash as a substitute for cement in high-rise construction illustrates that even in high risk/high reward projects like high rise commercial buildings – when you bring an eco-friendly product that brings with it practical improvements in flowability over 80 stories (in pumping equipment) and added strength to mix designs without adding mass and weight you can overcome installer, specifier and insurer concerns and deliver a product that is specifiable in these circumstances. In the last 20 years, fly ash as a cement substitute with low carbon attributes is now accepted worldwide for both its ecological benefits and its commercial advantages. Boral’s fly ash is possibly the most successful eco-friendly substitute.”
Finally, Michael Kane Boral thinks products like USG’s Fiberboard, Ultra-light wallboard, and Johns-Manville’s Formaldehyde-Free building insulation are also wonderful examples of eco-friendly products that have also won the battle to improve the global construction industry’s effect on the world we call home. It’s clear that his career over the preceding decades casts a positive light in regard to the trajectory of construction in the years to come.