An evaluation of construction professionals sustainability literacy in North West England

Higham, AP ORCID: and Thomson, C 2015, An evaluation of construction professionals sustainability literacy in North West England , in: 31st Annual ARCOM Conference, 7th - 9th September 2016, Lincoln.

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Sustainability represents the UK construction industry’s most important and indeed challenging issue, placing it at the forefront of both current debate and government policy. As pressure increases on the industry to embrace its principles, a radical shift is required in the awareness, understanding and cultural acceptance of its potential benefits. Whilst a shift is slowly being realised at a strategic level, delivering sustainable construction in practice remains a challenge. Not least due to a lack of sustainability awareness and engagement amongst construction professionals revealed by successive quantitative surveys, and a need to raise sustainability literacy levels. In an attempt to understand why construction professionals give so little credence and genuinely struggle to attain sustainable construction in practice, eight in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted in North West England. The research explored their awareness, understanding and literacy levels of sustainability and how this impacts their ability to deliver the concept at both theoretical and applied levels. Findings suggest that whilst practitioners exhibit a strong awareness at a theoretical level, this often is highly individual in interpretation promoting inconsistency within and across projects. At an applied level, construction professionals observed a gap in the application of the sustainable construction in practice due to 1) a tick box mentality enshrined in sustainability appraisal tools such as BREEAM; 2) an isolation from key decisions related to sustainability, and 3) a lack of awareness amongst client organisations. The research concludes by proposing further data collection to both expand the sample and contrast these preliminary findings with professionals who desire a more sustainable model of delivery.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Schools: Schools > School of the Built Environment > Centre for Urban Processes, Resilient Infrastructures & Sustainable Environments
Journal or Publication Title: ARCOM Conference
Publisher: Association of Researchers in Construction Management
Related URLs:
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: AP Higham
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2016 15:07
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 20:20

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