Analyising The Concept Of Sustainability Construction Essay

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World is reaching a critical stage where we have to take serious action against the threat of global warming The construction industry is a significant part of any economy and contributes both positively and negatively to the quality of life. This important sector provides employment to 1.5 million people and also contributes 10% to UK GDP, However. According to the Worldwatch report (2001), the industry accounts for 40 per cent (approximately three billion tons) of the total flow of raw materials into the global economy every year. The production and processing of these materials impacts heavily on the landscape, and can cause air pollution, toxic runoff into watercourses, and loss of forests and agricultural land (Crossley, 2002). Therefore there is a big responsibility and pressure on to the construction industry to construct more sustainably.

The concept of sustainability was probably intuitively understood by early human civilizations such as the South African Bushmen. These hunter-gatherer people recognized the importance of utilizing the resources provided by nature on a sustainable basis and had practical experience of the fact that humans are dependent on the Earth' s life support systems for survival (Van der Post and Taylor, 1984).

Sustainability was not well understood by the construction industry in the past but nowadays the industry is seeing this as a business opportunity. Also Construction companies wishing to begin to build sustainably need to consider their operations in four key areas: energy, materials, waste and pollution

The term `sustainable construction' was originally proposed to describe the responsibility of the construction industry in attaining `sustainability'. November 1994 saw the holding of the First International Conference on Sustainable Construction in Tampa, Florida, United States of America. A major objective of the conference was `to assess progress in the new discipline that might be called "sustainable construction" or "green construction" (Kibert, 1994a),..The conference convener, Kibert (1994b), proposed that sustainable construction means "creating a healthy built environment using resource-efficient, ecologically based principles".

One response to the confusion inherent in the term `sustainable construction' would be to revert to the use of the term `sustainable development'. Sustainable construction is one of the subject of sustainable development. Sustainable development is the process by which we move towards sustainability. Sustainable development focuses on improving the quality of life for all without increasing the use of natural resources beyond the capacity of the environment to supply them indefinitely.

The demand is continuously increasing in both public and private sector to understand sustainable construction practices. This demand is driven by a realisation that sustainable practices make sense to both owners and operators. The practices not only help the environment but can also improve economic profitability and improve relationships with stakeholder groups.

For construction to be sustainable there must be an efficient use of materials with an increase in the use of recycled materials. Traditional construction costs represent 10-20% of a building's total life costs, 5% of which are due to wasted material. A study carried out by BRE revealed that nearly 20% of all construction wastes in UK are materials that are delivered to site and never used (BRE, 2009). In an effort to make the construction industry more sustainable; building regulations now require every project to have a site waste management plan (SWMP). This encourages a greater control on waste. It has the additional benefit of reducing the amount of material sent to landfill and economic benefits of less landfill tax. It also provides a greater incentive to recycle where possible (CIB, 2010). Using material more efficiently as part of sustainable construction leads to greater economic efficiency of the construction industry and of the country as a whole (WRAP ,2002).

Sustainable construction can be implemented through regulation, planning policy and use of innovation technologies .Sustainable policy may be enforced through the construction regulations and codes. It can be included in the construction process by formulating a sustainable environmental plan, specifically designed for a project. It may then be implemented and managed through the construction process by allocating specific responsibilities within the construction team. Implementing sustainable construction is the responsibility of all parties, the client as the promoter of a scheme should be an active member of the team in ensuring sustainability. The designer is also essential, in terms of material choice and the contractor is fundamental in terms of method of construction (Gyadu-Asiedu, 2007). The relationship between the different parties is important, as there is a greater chance of success if all parties work together, sharing information and experience.

Technology is a very important role in sustainable construction because it is one of the most significant ways in which we interact with our environment; we use technologies to extract natural resources, to modify them for human purposes, and to adapt our man-made living space. It is through use of technology that we have seen drastic improvements in the quality of life of many people. Unfortunately, many of these short term improvements in the immediate quality of life have also exacted a great toll on the environment. In order to proceed toward sustainability, we will have to be more deliberate and thoughtful in our employment of technology. We need to develop and use technologies with sustainability in mind. We need "sustainable technologies." (Moore 1972, p. 5).

There are many ways in which the construction industry is able to contribute to a healthier environment, both locally and globally. In the last decade there has been a major shift toward 'greener' ways of thinking about the design and construction. They are Recycling of materials. Rather than using all new construction materials, it is often desirable to utilise materials salvaged from buildings which have been demolished (Aircrete, 2010). Bricks and tiles are a good example of this, Minimise transportation costs. By sourcing materials locally we can cut down on the amount of fossil fuels involved in transporting goods to the construction site, Renewable energy sources include wind, wave and solar power. These sources of energy are limitless and replenish themselves constantly. They create no harmful by-products and, after an initial expense in constructing the means of harnessing the energy, is essentially free, Solar power is a type of renewable is probably the most established. Humans have been using heat energy from the sun in simple ways to heat their homes and water for thousands of years. We have all hung out washing to dry on a sunny day and found it to be very effective, Wave power that could be generated by the movement of waves is incalculable. There is more than enough potential energy in the seas and oceans of the world to meet all mankind's energy needs many times over. The problem we have is how do we harness that energy?, although wind turbines are very tall, they don't actually take up much ground space and it is possible to graze sheep and cattle in the same area, as there are no emissions or by-products likely to contaminate or harm livestock.

Construction sites have an impact on the environment local to a site. These impacts include interfering with daily life of a community, with dust, mud, noise, traffic congestion, safety and visual intrusion ( Couto & Couto 2007). Some of these impacts can be reduced by simple changes to site processes. For example, noise adversely affects the local community, especially noise resulting from the use of pneumatic hammers, compressors, concrete mixers and communication amongst workers. This impact can be minimised by considering each piece of equipment and by locating the noisiest equipment at the farthest possible point from residents. Noise can also be reduced by using off-site manufactured materials which minimises the on-site use of high power equipment. Simple changes can have accumulative positive effects on site noise levels; such as using ready mix concrete instead of mixing it on site and using walkie-talkies for communication instead of screaming at operatives. Noise can also be reduced by carrying out work properly the first time, minimising the need to cut out work and start again (Couto & Couto 2007).

UK Government introduced the Strategy for Sustainable Construction On 11th June 2008.The Strategy aims to take a longer-term view on how the UK construction industry can become more sustainable and work towards the overall sustainability targets of the UK. The Strategy has spawned a number of initiatives including Constructing Excellence. (WRAP, 2010), The ICE Demolition Protocol, Quarry Products Association, The Strategic Forum for Construction, Materials Resource Efficiency in Regeneration . In order to launch of the Sustainable Construction Strategy, the CSU's  'HYPERLINK ""Review of Sustainable Construction 2006HYPERLINK ""'  was published in October 2006 and this in turn had superseded the original strategy  'HYPERLINK ""'HYPERLINK ""Building a Better Quality of Life - A Strategy for More Sustainable ConstructionHYPERLINK ""'  which was published six years (BIR ,2010)

Against these backgrounds, if ever there was an industry best placed to demonstrate the business case for sustainable development, it has to be the construction industry: where competition is fierce and profit margins are low. The UK government has challenged the industry to take the lead in achieving a sustainable society and improving the quality of life, in terms of employment, housing, utilities, transport infrastructure and the surrounding built environment. The application of sustainable development to the construction industry is sustainable construction, that is, equal consideration of economic, social and environmental issues in delivering construction projects. To promote more sustainable construction, several national initiatives have been initiated and documents. The most notable of these documents, among others, are 'Building a better quality of life: a strategy for more sustainable construction' (DETR, 2000), which recommends key action themes to kick-start adoption of more sustainable practices within the industry