Changes Required for Sustainable Construction Practices

4392 words (18 pages) Essay in Construction

08/02/20 Construction Reference this

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STATEMENT:

“There is a need to rethink and improve traditional ways of managing construction projects for meeting the needs of sustainable construction practices”

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The purpose of this report is to develop an understanding of the skills required to analyse and research information relevant to the construction industry and describe the principles of sustainable construction and its role in today’s society.

 

INTRODUCTION:

In a world in which humans are quickly exhausting the available natural resources, sustainable (green) construction has progressively become a popular ethical attempt to save what’s left of the environment. However, this may only be achieved through a combined effort of a number of factors, including construction teams around the world. The purpose of this report is to prepare students for the professional construction industry as there is a common need to analyse and critique information on construction projects. Developing an early understanding of how to make decisions based off the findings uncovered in such reports could make a significant difference producing a more successful project outcome. This report discusses the statement “There is a need to rethink and improve traditional ways of managing construction projects for meeting the needs of sustainable construction practices” and how it may be achieved. The topic statement is analysed through the exploration of the themes; construction waste management, educational systems and the cost of sustainable construction between involved parties.

 

COST MANAGEMENT

 

Through the exploration of the statement “There is a need to rethink and improve traditional ways of managing construction projects for meeting the needs of sustainable construction practices” it was found that the cost involved with sustainable construction is a significant issue in its evolution. The authors Robichaud and Anantatmula (2011, p.48) mention “It is important to explain the distinction between cost and profit-ability”. In the context of construction developments, cost is associated with the efficiency to which the project team delivers the development. Whereas profitability refers to how well the cost / benefits of the project was studied by the involved teams prior to commissioning the construction (Robichaud and Anantatmula, 2011, p.48).

Whilst majority of the attention surrounding the benefits of green construction focuses on the environmental positives, research uncovered that a large percentage of developers choose to go green for the long-term financial benefit (Robichaud and Anantatmula, 2011). Within the article, Robichaud and Anantatmula (2011, P.49) stated “A survey of more than 400,000 architects, engineers, and contractors showed that the potential to reduce energy costs was selected by 54% of the respondents whereas only 24% stated that green building’s value to the environment was the driving force behind green construction”. In addition, when asked what the greatest issue was with sustainable construction, it was clearly outlined that the increased initial project costs were the largest obstacle in comparison to conventional project costs. Although it is held that the long-term operation saving will recover the initial construction costs, the operational savings do not appeal to developers who have little interest in long term leasing or operating that specific building (Robichaud and Anantatmula, 2011). With respect to this, it is vital for construction managers to rethink the traditional practices in order to lower and control the costs within the construction phases of the project.

Robichaud and Anantatmula (2011, P.52) state A commonly noted challenge to containing costs in conventional construction projects is lack of effective communication among various technical experts”. These experts commonly perform their work with use of their own protocols, tools and standards for decision making (Robichaud and Anantatmula, 2011). It is known that builders, architects and engineers are specialised and often perform their job in isolation, making it hard to discuss changes, reduce risk and manage costs with a comprehensive view of the project. These specific problems with communication can be further inflated when involved with the complex and unique aspects associated with sustainable technology. Through the analysis of the article it was discussed how the improvement of communication between the contracted workers could be enforced by the construction manager through the use of the ‘LEED’ program. ‘LEED’ is a third-party program, designed to enforce more intense planning between the parties, construction standards and measurement of the sustainability of a project, focusing on water savings, sustainable development, energy efficiency, material selection and indoor environmental quality (Robichaud and Anantatmula, 2011). In addition to the ‘LEED’ program, Robichaud and Anantatmula (2011, P.52) mentioned the use of a charrette defined as “a collaborative planning process that harnesses the talents and energies of all interested parties to create and support a buildable Smart Growth plan”. Embracing these management styles greatly reduces the chances of any errors and costly changes further down the track that have the potential to be extremely damaging the construction budget, impacting the initial project cost negatively.

CONSTRUCTION WASTE MANAGEMENT

In the context of rapid urbanisation, construction waste has long been a significant issue to the sustainability of construction development. Although improvements to waste management has been achieved on numerous levels, the study around the control of waste management through the designers has been commonly overlooked (Venkataraman et al. 2018). Very few studies focus on how a designer’s implementation of waste reduction strategies during the design phase may have a positive impact on the sustainability of the project. The author Li et al (2015, p. 29) stated, “it seems that appropriate methods for estimating the effect of various design measures on construction waste reduction with consideration of the interrelationships of potential design strategies are lacking”. Author Wang et al (2015, p.237) supported this view mentioning, “majority of the designers adopted a self-study approach to education surrounding construction waste, resulting in a lack of formal training and as a result limited knowledge on the design abilities”. It was commonly assumed that waste was predominantly produced during construction site operations and not during the design stages (Wang et al. 2015). Therefore, the designers play a crucial role in minimizing construction waste. Significant reductionin construction waste may be achieved if the construction teams adopt new measures such as prefabrication, to which studies have shown exerts the most influence on construction waste reduction by design. It was also found that using standard dimensions and units and avoiding design modifications during the project also plays a large role in waste reduction (Wang et al. 2015). Utilising these management strategies within a project will significantly reduce the quantity of wasted materials, saving time and money within the project as well as meet the requirements for sustainable construction.

EDUCATION

Sustainable construction is respected globally as a promising development in the construction industry, rapidly increasing in popularity and support. Studies conducted uncover an increasing requirement for construction managers to be trained and educated in sustainable construction practices, yet little respect or funding has been provided to the sustainability sector (Shi et al. 2014). It was identified through this study that the example of construction managers in China lacked in knowledge surrounding efficient cost management in order to maintain an affordable budget on a project (Shi et al. 2014).. With respect to the construction businesses competitiveness, the managers would preferably enforce traditional construction over sustainable construction practices in order to achieve appealing costs to buyers. Whilst the outcome of the study highlights the issues of construction managers having limited knowledge in sustainable practices, it also indicates the current direction in which the industry is being educated, to which the will be required to make a change. The study suggests that the education and training provided through the universities for construction mangers should narrow their focus more towards sustainable practices to fill the gap, and achieve the outcomes required.

CONCLUSION

 

This report outlines the management strategies required to facilitate efficient construction needs with respect to cost management in projects with use of the ‘LEED’ programme to reduce expensive communication errors and introduce project standards. In addition, construction waste management processes should be reviewed to ensure the designer’s perception of sustainability, encouraging the implementation of waste reduction strategies into the design stage of a project. Coupled with costs management plans through reduced material waste, projects should benefit from lower costs.

Finally, improving the educational systems focus and perception of sustainable practices will improve the construction managers knowledge in efficient construction, therefore improving the competitiveness of sustainable projects against traditional construction practices with consideration of costs. The growth and development of human communities has a major impact of the planet’s natural environment. Sustainable construction has drastically grown in importance as these resources are being exhausted beyond repair. Green construction provides impressive opportunities to conserve natural resources, save energy and money, improve water and air quality and also reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions in the environment, providing hope for the continuation of a healthy ecosystem in the future. Improving traditional construction management practices in projects to facilitate the needs of sustainable construction allows the industry to take a step closer towards achieving these goals.

Reference List

 

  • Shi, Ye, Lu & Hu 2014, ‘Improving the competence of construction management consultants to underpin sustainable construction in China’, Habitat International, vol. 41, no. C, pp. 236–242. (Shi et al. 2014)
  • Robichaud & Anantatmula, VS 2011, ‘Greening Project Management Practices for Sustainable Construction’, Journal of Management in Engineering, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 48–57. (Robichaud and Anantatmula. 2011)
  • Venkataraman, V & Cheng, JCP 2018, ‘Critical Success and Failure Factors for Managing Green Building Projects’, Journal of Architectural Engineering, vol. 24, no. 4. (Venkataraman et al. 2018)
  • Wang, Li & Tam 2015, ‘Identifying best design strategies for construction waste minimization’, Journal of Cleaner Production, vol. 92, no. C, pp. 237–247. (Wang et al. 2015)
  • Abdelhamid, MS 2012, ‘Integrating sustainability into conventional construction contracts in Egypt’, IOSR Journal of Engineering, Vol 3, No. 10, pp. 38-48 (Abdelhamid. 2012)
  • Fortunato, BR; Hallowell, MR; Behm, M & Dewlaney, K. 2012, ‘Identification of Safety Risks for High- Performance Sustainable Construction Projects’, Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, vol. 138, no. 4, pp. 499 – 508 (Fortunato et al. 2012)
  • J. Li, V. Tam, J. Zuo, J. Zhu 2015. ‘Designer’s attitude and behaviour towards construction waste minimization by design’. Resources, Conservation & Recycling, Vol.105, pp.29-35 (Li et al. 2015)

APPENDIX

a) What have I just read?

Abdelhamid, MS 2012, ‘Integrating sustainability into conventional construction contracts in Egypt’, IOSR Journal of Engineering, Vol 3, No. 10, pp. 38-48


b) What were the key points?

Abdelhamid mentioned how the sustainable principles within developed countries have been reviewed and practiced, and how the issues of sustainability have been rendered into contractual requirements within the construction industry. However, the author also includes the importance of the integration of sustainable principles into the practice of construction management within the developing regions. Abdelhamid demonstrates the importance of sustainability with regards to construction within Egypt through the analysis of the control of construction and demolition waste, improvement of contractual relations between the involved businesses and also the use of contract structure as a management tool to improve the sustainability in construction projects.


c) How do they relate to my selected report topic?

Abdelhamid’s key points relate to the selected topic through his research of sustainable practices and how they can be introduced into current construction projects. The article ties perfectly to the topic statement; “There is a need to improve traditional ways of construction project for meeting the needs of sustainable construction practices”. This is related through the authors focus on the control of construction waste and improved contractual structure and communication help to develop sustainability within the construction industry.


d) What points may be useful to include in my report?

The author mentions the control of construction waste which is highly useful information as it addresses how the materials of a development are disposed. The article continues to explain how the sustainability of a project can be dramatically improved by developing a greater plan in the disposal of waste materials.


e) What questions does this reading raise for me to pursue further?

Abdelhamid’s specific focus on the inefficiencies of construction projects in Egypt leads me to question how common these issues are in other developing or even developed countries and whether it is a local or global issue within the construction industry.


f) How do my own experiences or observations relate to this reading?

Working as a labourer on a development site in the past introduced me to the practices of a construction company. My experiences relate specifically to one of Abdelhamid’s points on waste management, as we were required to separate the recyclable materials from the rest within two skip bins. This showed sustainable waste management from the construction company as bins were then removed from site by another company, disposing of the waste legally in accordance to recycling laws.

a) What have I just read?

Robichaud, L & Anantatmula, V 2011, ‘Greening Project Management Practices for Sustainable Construction’, Journal of Management in Engineering, vol. 27, no.1, pp. 48–57.


b) What were the key points?

The authors Robichaud and Anantatmula mention that green construction projects are becoming more popular in the modern world to combat the effects of global warming. The authors state that green buildings show significant positive impacts on the consumption of natural resources, the generation of waste and pollution and also the health and productivity of the population. Although it was also pointed out that the production of green developments is costly, requiring construction managers to maintain tighter budgets. Robichaud and Anantatmula state that the budget can be reduced through the use of the LEED program to set efficient standards throughout the project and implement effective communication between the involved companies, with a view of the finished product prior to construction, reducing chances of costly change during development.


c) How do they relate to my selected report topic?

Robichaud and Anantatmula’s key points link in with the report topic through their relevance to improving to construction efficiency. This is shown through the mention of increasing the use of green technology and the use of environmentally friendly programs such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), implementing specific standards to construction projects.


d) What points may be useful to include in my report?

The authors explore the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program which sets out numerous standards within a construction development. Including the use of this particular program within my report could help to develop a greater efficiency within construction practices through the strict following of these regulations.


e) What questions does this reading raise for me to pursue further?

The focus on green technology and regulations leads me to pursue further on what developments have implemented these ideas and how their outcome compares to projects developed without efficiency in mind.


f) How do my own experiences or observations relate to this reading?

I currently live in a house with solar panels fixed to the roof of the building. I have first-hand experienced how the use of green technology such as solar can significantly reduce the cost and damage to the environment via sustainable energy.

a) What have I just read?

Fortunato, BR; Hallowell, MR; Behm, M & Dewlaney, K. 2012, ‘Identification of Safety Risks for High- Performance Sustainable Construction Projects’, Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, vol. 138, no. 4, pp. 499 – 508


b) What were the key points?

The Authors state that it was found that LEED- certified constructions have a higher incident rate in comparison to non-LEED buildings. It was shown that construction workers of LEED projects are working at height, with electrical currents and working equipment for longer time periods than they would on traditional developments. These new green working environments place the worker in unfamiliar situations, increasing risks as they are dealing with newly introduced materials. The authors mention that an increase in focus must be directed at these conditions in making a safer working environment for the construction workers to reduce the risks involved in these complex constructions.


c) How do they relate to my selected report topic?

The authors research into improving the worksites safety and working conditions relates to the topic through its intention to improve the management styles on how the construction workers perform their job. As the work on sustainable construction is much more complex, the safety issues must be addressed and updated from traditional protocols.


d) What points may be useful to include in my report?

The authors explain how a safer environment can be achieved in sustainable constructions. This was shown through the suggestion of investigation of risk mitigation strategies for the hazards associated with LEED construction, specifically focusing on new risks. Another useful suggestion to add in my report would be to perform a comparison between non-LEED and LEED projects to improve the understanding about the potential risks, to then educate the workers on how to safely perform their tasks in the new environments.


e) What questions does this reading raise for me to pursue further?

The authors research around improving safety protocols to adjust to the new environments of a sustainable construction projects, leads me to question which of the safety recommendations has been the most successful in real life LEED developments.


f) How do my own experiences or observations relate to this reading?

Having installed solar panels on my home in the past, I have observed the issues of safety around green construction. The worker that installed the panels was at risk of fall for a long period of time without a harness attached as there was no anchor point apparent. The reading outlines how an improvement of strict safety protocols could prevent potential incidents such as falls in the work environment.

a) What have I just read?

V. Venkataraman, J. Cheng. 2018, ‘Critical Success and Failure Factors for Managing Green Building Projects’, Journal of Architectural Engineering Vol. 24, Issue 4,


b) What were the key points?

The author Venkataraman focus of the article was to research into the success and failures of efficient construction projects. It was stated that successful green buildings are still challenging due to its complexity of design. Venkataraman pointed out that the success of a green building is made up from effective collaboration between the contracted teams, early involvement, and commitment of all participants. In addition, it was added that high cost, lack of coordination from project and management teams and rejection of government incentives are crucial in the failure of green construction projects.


c) How do they relate to my selected report topic?

The key information drawn from the article relate to the topic statement as it lays out the results from research on what elements of green construction projects are successful and failures. This information is useful in working to fix the issues involved in the factors that are failing so the project managers are able to develop thought out plans in order to complete construction efficiently and safely without a risk of major setbacks during development.


d) What points may be useful to include in my report?

Venkatraman’s mention of the failing aspects of green construction would be extremely useful within my final report as they give an idea of where the management teams construction plans are currently flawed. The mention of the successes and failures in current projects helps to develop a solution for the issues so that all aspects of construction management plans are successful.


e) What questions does this reading raise for me to pursue further?

The article on briefly touches upon the issue of ineffective collaboration between management teams and contracted teams. This leads me to read further to understand how we can improve so that the involved teams provide clear and concise information regarding the construction, in order to improve efficiency and reduce errors within the green construction development. 


f) How do my own experiences or observations relate to this reading?

Having worked as a labourer for a construction company I have experienced how failed communication can impact a project. In this specific case, a wall was being built, although there were flaws in the clarity of the design plans, leading to the worker making a mistake. This single issue was time consuming and impacted the budget as it required more materials, which could have been avoided through the proper coordination and communication between the management, design and construction teams.

a) What have I just read?

S. Liguo, Y. Kunhui, L. Weisheng, H. Xin, 2014. ‘Improving the competence of construction management consultants to underpin sustainable construction in China’. Habitat International, Vol.41, pp.236-242


b) What were the key points?

The authors outline that increased training and education needs to be a focus for up and coming and current construction managers in the professional environment. It was stated that through survey, that some missing knowledge among many construction managers and students are onsite practical skills, continuing learning and personal quality. As green technology is still developing, there are large numbers of construction managers who have limited knowledge around it. The authors state that increasing efficient construction knowledge within the educational systems and in the professional environment increases the understanding of the procedures and requirements of green construction projects.


c) How do they relate to my selected report topic?

The correct education around green technology and construction within the developing stages of a construction managers career is crucial to how well they understand the requirements and needs involved. The information provided within this article points out that a construction managers knowledge of the project is detrimental to its outcome which is much more complex in the world of green construction, requiring greater education.


d) What points may be useful to include in my report?

It was stated that some missing knowledge among many construction managers and students are onsite practical skills, continuing learning and personal quality. Including this in the report provides a base for how we can improve the traditional ways of construction managers to suit the sustainable construction needs.


e) What questions does this reading raise for me to pursue further?

From reading this article it has raised the question of how can the knowledge of green construction be taught to construction managers who are already in the field working under the traditional construction procedures? 


f) How do my own experiences or observations relate to this reading?

Being a studying university student today, the course has evolved to teach students like me how the economy can be improved through green construction. The efficient construction style is being taught to new students to develop their understanding and knowledge from the beginning rather than when they begin working in the field.

a) What have I just read?

J. Li, V. Tam, J. Zuo, J. Zhu 2015. ‘Designer’s attitude and behaviour towards construction waste minimization by design’. Resources, Conservation & Recycling, Vol.105, pp.29-35


b) What were the key points?

It was found that construction waste can be reduced dramatically at both the design and construction stage of a project. This can be achieved through the designer’s adoption of measures like prefabrication strategies, avoiding design modifications during construction and implementing dimensional coordination. Although designers are commonly restrained by a number of factors such as cost and available time, restricting their abilities and attitude towards meeting the needs of sustainable construction.


c) How do they relate to my selected report topic?

The information uncovered in the article relates as it addresses how the construction waste can be managed on a project by the design of the development. The traditional designing process of a development often involves mistakes that cause waste throughout the project. The article shows how construction managers could be working with designers and workers to reduce error and design attitudes to meet the needs of sustainable construction in today’s industry.


d) What points may be useful to include in my report?

It will be useful to mention how the waste can be reduced within the design and construction stages of a construction project as it shows how traditional design methods can be changed. In addition to this, I could also include how the construction managers should develop efficient working processes to increase the construction time frame and develop a tight budget across the development in order to avoid overspending in specific areas to reduce cost restrictions on the design team.


e) What questions does this reading raise for me to pursue further?

This reading leads me to question where does the overspending in a construction project most commonly occur and how can it be minimised in order to relieve stress on other construction departments?


f) How do my own experiences or observations relate to this reading?

Relating back to my labouring experience, it was common for large quantities of waste to be disposed of as the designs were very complex and artistic, requiring a lot of material. The workers were often cutting out very wasteful shapes in large materials as it was a part of the design of the building.

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