Valuing sustainable change in the built environment : using SuROI to appraise built environment projects

Higham, AP ORCID:, Barlow, C, Bichard, E and Richards, A 2018, 'Valuing sustainable change in the built environment : using SuROI to appraise built environment projects' , Journal of Facilities Management, 16 (3) , pp. 315-353.

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Purpose – The paper aims to assess the strengths and weaknesses SuROI to determine it suitability as a means through which social value can be predicted in line with public procurement directives and the Social Value Act, whilst at the same time as fitting the developer’s business model and CSR commitments.
Design/methodology/approach – Using a multi case design, findings from a comprehensive evaluation of three major housing-led mixed use regeneration developments are presented. The tree case study locations were selected on the basis of the developer’s strong commitment to place-making and social sustainability. Together with a strong strategic desire to reposition their organisation away from the traditional business as usual profit led model.
Findings - Whilst the Social Return on Investment methodology is applicable to the charity sector, its use in the built environment is highly questionable. When applying the model to the mixed use housing projects the authors identified a number of technical limitations to the model, inter alia a lack of suitable proxies and especially proxies relating to the built environment for the valuation of identified outcomes, the use of monetisation as a evaluating measure which did not support some of the more abstract or softer benefits identified, problems collecting, identifying and evaluating data to inform the model given the complexity and scale of the project, the significant time and expense associated with the valuation and finally the inability to benchmark the report on completion. These findings have implications for the social housing providers and local authorities looking to use SuROI to evaluate potential built environment projects.
Originality/value – The paper offers unique insights into the viability of using existing social value measurement methodologies. The paper identifies the significant limitations associated with the SuROI methodology.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of the Built Environment > Centre for Urban Processes, Resilient Infrastructures & Sustainable Environments
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Facilities Management
Publisher: Emerald
ISSN: 1472-5967
Related URLs:
Depositing User: AP Higham
Date Deposited: 15 May 2017 07:57
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 21:58

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