According to NetRegs, the green business support service set up by the UK government, 95% of large firms said they preferred bids from green subcontractors.

A survey commissioned by the organisation also said that 87% of large companies had more confidence in contractors with a proven record of green projects while over three quarters (76%) cited a reduced risk of prosecution as a key reason for employing those with a demonstrable knowledge of environmental good practice.

Richard Martin, programme manager at NetRegs, said: “The research results are very encouraging in demonstrating to smaller construction firms how they can win business during the downturn.

“The message is, if they want to differentiate themselves from the competition and be selected in a shrinking market, then they must take their environmental responsibilities seriously and be able to demonstrate the measures they are taking.”

Stuart Rowe, contracts executive at Ellmer Construction added: “As a large construction firm, we have our own set of robust green policies in place and provide environmental training for workers.

“However, it is essential for subcontractors to understand the value of having their own environmental policies rather than relying on the principal contractor.

“This gives them an added advantage in a competitive tender and saves them money. With environmental issues becoming ever more important we would encourage all subcontractors to harness the power of going green.”

In response to the survey, NetRegs has launched a campaign to help smaller construction firms understand the importance of environmental compliance, and to highlight the opportunities that going green can offer.

It has also developed an 8-point checklist to give subcontractors the best possible chance of winning business in a competitive tender.

Sam Bond

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie