Sustainable Construction Through Policy Implementation Effectively Construction Essay

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The thesis is summarised here within about 300 words. The abstract usually contains one or two sentences reflecting the background of your investigation, a sentence with the purpose of your research, something about your research process, several sentences giving a clear and precise idea of your main results, followed by one or two sentences mirroring your conclusions.

There are a number of questions that can be asked, what does such high energy demand and carbon footprint What would this mean to local governments? What are the key elements of a sustainable building and construction policy? What policies and programmes are needed to ensure the success of such a policy? Who needs to be involved - up and down the supply chain, besides the local government itself?

Incorporating sustainability principles in the building and construction sector is critical, but the decision-making process is fraught with mind-sets that resist the change towards greater sustainability. The following table illustrate the common reasons for resisting action towards sustainability, and some of the strategies and justifications we can adopt in facilitating appropriate decision-making.

Recognized as one of the main obstacles to sustainable development, climate change is

caused and accelerated by the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated from all

energy end-user sectors. The building sector alone consumes around 40% of all produced

energy worldwide. Reducing this sector's energy consumption has therefore come into

focus as one of the key issues to address in order to meet the climate change challenge.

Implementing sustainable construction practices, such as LEED, can significantly reduce

the building's energy and water consumption. Prescribing these practices may however

encounter several barriers that can produce other than intended results. Since the

beginning of 2008 Dubai mandates a LEED certification for the better part of all new

constructions developed within the emirate, nevertheless the success of this regulation is


This thesis identifies the barriers the introduction of the sustainable construction practices

in Dubai faced and analyses the reasons why the regulatory and voluntary policy

instruments were not effective in dealing with these barriers.

Understanding these barriers as well as the merits and weaknesses of the policy

instruments will help future attempts to introduce sustainable construction practices.

To put the research into context a literature review of relevant printed and internet

sources has been performed. In order to further understand the barriers the construction

market in Dubai faced, qualitative observational research methods have been used. In

addition the input of different key stakeholders with unique knowledge of the

construction market was deemed to be necessary. Finally, for purposes of verification, the

research relied on quantitative methods using different databases that provide detailed

information about construction projects in the United Arab Emirates.

The thesis concludes that several barriers, such as a) financial, b) market related, c)

behavioral and organizational, d) political and structural, d) technical and e) information

barriers hindered the introduction of sustainable construction practices in Dubai.

Furthermore the introduced policy mechanisms were not effective in providing clarity on

the scope of the policies and environmental goals, failed to provide financial incentives to

investors or developers and considered only weak enforcement mechanisms.

As a final outcome the thesis presents a number of suggestions that should increase the

number of LEED certified projects. These suggestions include changes in the current

regulations, the introduction of new policy mechanism such as a building code and major

changes to the energy policy such as the correction of the utility prices and the

liberalization of the energy market.

The construction industry has a significant impact on the natural and built environment. Construction activities consume a large amount of energy, natural resources and water while producing a large proportion of wastes (Dimoudi & Tompa, 2008). In Australia, residential building and non-residential construction consume approximately 7.6% of total primary energy and produce approximately 6.0% of total greenhouse gas (equivalent) emissions when both direct and indirect inputs to the two sectors of the industry are considered (Foran, Lenzen, & Dey, 2005). In 2007, 16.6 million tonnes of waste were produced by the construction industry, accounting for 38% of total waste (ABS, 2010) and 43% of these wastes were sent to landfill. In China, the existing building stock accounts for 30% of total energy consumption (CCIA, 2010) and contributes towards 25% of greenhouse gas emission of the whole nation (CHI, 2010). As the biggest developing country, China generates 300 million tones from construction activities annually, accounting for 40% of total amount of waste generated across the country (Wang et al., 2010).

Problem statement

The growing need for sustainable green design and construction is placing pressure on the construction industry in Australia at an ever increasing rate.

The need for more sustainable materials, increased lifecycle, recyclable (modular design) and sustainable architectural methodologies are impacting construction in Australia financially, socially and regulatory.

Since the inception of the Environmental Sustainable Development policies by the

Council of Australian Governments 1992 (COAG) (Hollander 2010), the demand for sustainable development has increased significantly, enough to determine its future viability.

This leads to a research question: What are the implications of sustainability on the construction industry in Australia?

This research will identify the demands placed on the construction industry in Australia. Once identified, an investigation of these demands will determine areas of pressure and their


Since the Industrial Revolution, the world has witness incalculable

technological achievements, population growth, and corresponding increases in

resource use. In order to enter a new century, we are recognizing the side effect of

development, such as the landfills, flood, global warming, and others. All this effect

happens without any proper planning during the development phase. All this thing,

are straining the limits of the earth's carrying capacity, its ability to provide the

resources required to sustain life while retaining the capacity to regenerate and

remains viable (David A. Gottfried, 1996). Besides that, our government pays a lot

of money in built the development, but government also pays a lot of money in

demolishing the old building.

Building has significant impact on the environment, accounting for one-sixth

of the world fresh water, one-quarter of the wood harvest and two-fifth of its material and energy flows (David A. Gottfield, 1996). All the resources need to create,

operate, and replenish, so to remain competitive and continue to expand and produce

profits in the future, the built industry must address the environmental and economic

consequences of its actions. Moreover, that recognition is leading to changes in the

way the building and building owners approach the design, construction, and

operation of the structures.

Why these things happen? It is because there is lack of knowledge about the

principles of sustainable construction among the professionals that involved in

construction industry. Besides that, lack of information and exposure about this

principles, leads to all these problems. To overcome these problem, our country had

attended a lot of seminar, either local or international, showing how important to

sustain our environment, economic and social for our future generations.

How our construction industry is developed, planned, designed, constructed,

and used will largely determine our quality of life. A well planned and designed

built environment will consider the natural environment and validate it as

intrinsically important and also necessary to our own well-being (Macy,1993).

This study is about, application of sustainable construction principles in construction industry.

By using these principles, this research will study the effectiveness and establish in design phase, to ensure better quality life for the future.

For this purpose, we will look through many aspects such as environment,

technologies, building, economics, socials, and others.

Research aim and objectives

The primary aim of the research is to identify the implications for sustainability on the longevity and feasibility of the construction industry in Australia.

The objectives of this thesis are;

To identify the current application of sustainability in the Australian construction industry.

To identify the historical introduction and uptake of sustainable practices within the Australian construction industry.

To determine the drivers, impediments and opportunities of sustainability in the Australian construction industry.

To identify the future challenges facing the Australian construction industry.

The objectives of this research are ambitious. They are to:

1. Understand and articulate the concept of sustainable development in general, and

apply this concept to transportation;

2. Develop a decision-making philosophy and associated sustainable transportation

decision-support framework that incorporates the objectives of sustainable


3. Develop a set of metrics that link sustainable development and sustainable


4. Assess Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) planning and decision-making

processes to identify the extent to which the proposed decision-making

philosophy and decision-support framework is reflected by MPO current attitudes

and practices, and identify what would need to occur in order for MPOs to adopt

the proposed philosophy/framework; and

5. Assess the federal government's role in transportation and develop a

comprehensive set of actions that the federal government could/should use to

promote a sustainable transportation system.

Scope of Research

The scope of this research will be limited to sustainability principles from inception through to the handover stage of project development with areas of focus being federal, state and local governments, manufactures, suppliers, developers, builders and consumers. The scope excludes actually usability but may mention lifecycle within the research.

Research Methodology

The research will be achieved by completing the following tasks in accordance with the research schedule.

To begin, the literature review will identify critical research in the chosen research field in order to attain what others researchers have done, finding the gaps in their research will then form the research problem. Once the research problem has been identified, a further 30 related peer recognised journals but not more than 40, including books and articles which were published between 2008 and 2012 will be analysed. When reading these sources I will apply a triangulation mixed method of both qualitative and quantitative analysis to all the secondary data. That is, to read and note down the journals with specific opinions (qualitative) and numerical/statistical (quantitative) data, empirically were possible. When reading critically important information I will then code the relevant data from Ob1 to Ob4 to match objectives; for example Ob1, the citation in journal X matches the task for this objective. I will then output the research to the thesis in context.

Definition of Sustainability and Key Terms


Sustainable development


Green Building

Stakeholders being;





Local communities

International communities

historical background, including classic texts;

current mainstream versus alternative theoretical or ideological viewpoints, including differing theoretical assumptions, differing political outlooks, and other conflicts;

possible approaches to the subject (empirical, philosophical, historical, postmodernist, etc);

definitions in use;

current research studies;

current discoveries about the topic;

principal questions that are being asked;

general conclusions that are being drawn;

methodologies and methods in use;

To demonstrate your scholarly ability to identify relevant information and to outline existing knowledge.

To identify the 'gap' in the research that your study is attempting to address, positioning your work in the context of previous research and creating a 'research space' for your work.

To evaluate and synthesise the information in line with the concepts that you have set yourself for the research.

To produce a rationale or justification for your study.

Application of Sustainability in the Construction Industry


Current application of sustainability

According to the research of the 17 approached Australian CI large companies, two-thirds of them apply an improved corporate governance structure; they all espouse the moral obligation to be good citizens; they maintain sustainability through the application of ISO 14001 EMS measures but not what does HWE involve; reputation is applied since they are all members of the Australian CI Association; internal aspects indicate a need to further improve OHS with subcontractors, union and government; external aspects are visible to a certain extent through the applied ISO 14001 EMS measures, but the relationships with the local community need to be improved from engagement to protection; and all companies are committed to reporting on CSR{Petrovic‐Lazarevic, 2008 #166}.

A construction project consists of different players

that range from pure manufacturers to dedicated ser- vice providers in project settings where all players fol- low different objectives. Often none of them takes direct responsibility for protecting the environment (Ofori, 2000). A typical construction project starts from the client as the initiator of the supply chain fol- lowed by engineers or architects (consultants) fol- lowed by the main contractor and subcontractors and finally involves material suppliers (Cox and Townsend, 1998, p. 33).{Mokhlesian, 2012 #471}

Australia has a large and sophisticated construction (both housing and non-residential) industry, representing 6.2 per cent of annual GDP (Australian Exports 1998), which is also internationally competitive in a range of areas. With 138,000 business active in the industry, its return on assets was 9.1% during 1996-97, that of all industry being 4.5% (ABS, 1998).

{Wang, 2010 #472}

{Wang, 2010 #472}

Number of competitors

The Australian building and construction industry is extremely diverse in terms of the size of firms. Of the 138,000 businesses in the industry, 65% of the companies employ two people or less, about 88% percent of the companies have an annual turnover of less than half an million dollars; Only 1% of the companies employ more than 50 people, and 1.3% have a turnover of

$20 million or more (Government Report).

Building material manufacture is also characterised by the dominance of large firms. A small number of large publicly listed firms dominate the majority of the market.

In the non-residential construction industry, the 8 largest companies accounting for nearly 27%

of industry turnover. In the residential construction industry, while there are a large number of

small firms active in this business, market share based on housing value indicates that a small minority of volume buildings and a group of medium sized firms have market dominance(Government Report).

The large number of small firms in the industry decides the instability within the industry because they are relatively balanced in terms of size and perceived resources, and they are prone to fight each other in order to gain projects. On the other hand, the dominance of the large firms may lead to stability because they can impose discipline as well as play a coordinative role in the industry (Porter, 1980). All these cause the complexity of the relationship among the competitors in Australian construction industry{Wang, 2010 #472}.

. Referring to their recently built energy efficient home, NSW's state governmental developer stated:

it'll just be a project house so it's not a house that's got all special wonderful things; it's just a house and it's nice and you'd want to live there, you go in there on a cold day and it's warm and vice versa. (Landcom, personal communication, 2002){Crabtree, 2009 #165}

Product awareness and availability. Most new home buyers approached by the EcoHome project had strong concerns about environmental issues; 51 per cent said they would pay more for a home that was more environmentally friendly. {Crabtree, 2009 #165}Although at the time the survey was undertaken the penetration of environmentally-friendly products in the industry was low, most consumers had an awareness of at least two or three environmental product options (such as grey water recycling and composting systems) and expressed an intention to obtain them. Therefore, there is a latent consumer interest in builders and developers moving beyond regulated standards and selling environmental product in mainstream markets. It is also of note that only 3 per cent of survey respondents identified builders and architects as sources of information on sustainable product options, which may highlight the need for education and training in these industries. This was evident in interviews in which bottlenecks between technology and the consumer were highlighted. An employee within a major Sydney developer stated:

I think people are very confused about the property industry, they don't realise that it's made up of a whole bunch of people passing batons around the line and the transfer of knowledge and information and responsibility is different-it doesn't get transferred each time. (Atkinson, personal communication, 2002)

Product awareness and availability. Most new home buyers approached by the EcoHome project had strong concerns about environmental issues; 51 per cent said they would pay more for a home that was more environmentally friendly. Although at the time the survey was undertaken the penetration of environmentally-friendly products in the industry was low, most consumers had an awareness of at least two or three environmental product options (such as grey water recycling and composting systems) and expressed an intention to obtain them. Therefore, there is a latent consumer interest in builders and developers moving beyond regulated standards and selling environmental product in mainstream markets. It is also of note that only 3 per cent of survey respondents identified builders and architects as sources of information on sustainable product options, which may highlight the need for education and training in these industries. This was evident in interviews in which bottlenecks between technology and the consumer were highlighted. An employee within a major Sydney developer stated:

I think people are very confused about the property industry, they don't realise that it's made up of a whole bunch of people passing batons around the line and the transfer of knowledge and information and responsibility is different-it doesn't get transferred each time. (Atkinson, personal communication, 2002)

The ¬rst problem is that the rate of replacement of buildings in the UK, particularly in housing, is low. About two-thirds of the buildings that will exist in 2050 are already built and being used today. Only about a third of building stock will be new and will have been built in response to issues such as climate change. The crux is what any new stock could and should be expected to contribute. One could argue that all new buildings should be super-ef¬cient or carbon-negative, and should be designed and constructed in such a way that they effectively 'make up for' all the energy-laggard stock that will still be in use in 50 years. But this alone will not offer a panacea. There will also need to be major changes to existing buildings through refurbishment, envelope improvement and equipment replacement.{Crabtree, 2009 #165}

The building industry consumes one-half of the world's physical resources (RCA website). According to data published by the United Nations Environment Programme, the building sector accounts for

30-40% of global energy use (UNEP, 2007). Yet, the lucrative investment returns brought about by property development prompt developers to build in anticipation of demands as a global business. Spurred by the ever-rising needs for infrastructure and leisure, construction activities are changing land forms quickly. Natural resources are being depleted at a rate faster than their replenishment, hence giving rise to an outcry for sustainable development. Many governments are taking a regulatory stance in trying to curb direct environmental pollution, but non-statutory means can be an effective supplement to achieve sustainable construction since most organizations prefer to have room for ¬‚exibility in their business operation. Increasingly, designers produce building designs which are environmentally friendly and voluntary assessment schemes (such as BREEAM and LEED) are deployed to verify that their claims are well made. At the contract level, apart from drawn information, client requirements used to be made explicit through spesifikations, both in the public and private sectors. The prescriptive approach of specifying has enabled the client and his consultants to stipulate materials and workmanship in accordance with environmentally friendly practice. The uprising trend of performance specifying as an alternative (e.g., for curtain walling) has also provided opportunities for contractors to innovate (Lam et al., 2003), but then speci¬ers should incorporate ''green'' requirements to achieve sustainability of construction resources. Yet, speci¬ers adopt different approaches in specifying green elements, with a varying level of competence (Lam et al., 2008). For example, in a survey of UK architects by the Designing for Sustainability Group in 2002, only 46% reported on having expe- rience of specifying recycled materials {Lam, 2010 #475}

As a result of increasing public awareness of sustainable development and legislative and financial drivers, manufacturing firms are developing sustainable building and construction products to meet growing demand. Simply, sustainable products in the built environment refer to building and construction components that have environmental attributes or a lower environmental impact than alternative products (Terry et al., 2007). Sustainable products can be stand-alone, but are mostly used as a part of an integrated sustainable design strategy; and selection is rarely made in isolation. For example, the selection of a spectrally sensitive glazing product (that reflects radiant heat) would be used in conjunction with an external shade product to maximise energy efficiency.{Rose, 2011 #476}

It is expected that once the incentivised products gain market penetration and the technology advances, economies of scale will potentially bring prices down. For example, the Australian Government Solar Credit scheme offers a financial rebate for home owners, small business and community groups on the purchase of energy production systems up to 1.5 kilowatt capacity. This includes photovoltaic arrays, wind turbine and micro-hydro electricity generation (DEWHA, 2009). It is expected that increased demand, competition and production volume may bring prices down.

Government regulation also has a major role in the development and uptake of sustainable products. The Building Code of Australia (BCA) has incorporated minimum mandatory energy efficiency requirements for buildings, and Australian Standards dictate the minimum performance standards of products and new technology (such as minimum standards for the manufacturing of residential photovoltaic arrays). Also, Australian local and state governments have their own building environmental performance standards to encourage ESD in their regions. The combination of these regulatory and financial incentive approaches has been successful in promoting the uptake of innovative sustainable products in Australia; however, further education for project-based firms and the client/end users about the benefits that can be achieved may be beneficial. This would include both residential home buyers and commercial and government infrastructure clients.{Rose, 2011 #476}

Another major concern raised was the relatively immature market for recycled products which resulted in delays in the sourcing and supply of products and encouraged contractors to purchase new products where the price and availability were guaranteed. For example, in the construction of the CH2 building, recycled reinforcement was sourced and exported from Thailand to satisfy cost and timely availability issues. This barrier will be overcome as the recycled market supply chain develops, matures and becomes more dependable. A further issue related to the Building Standards which are focussed on new rather than recycled materials. The need to demonstrate the satisfactory performance of recycled products in some cases through testing slowed the approval process.{Wilson, 2005 #477}

Construction industry is one of the largest contributors of negative impacts on environment (CICA 2002). Internationally, buildings are accountable for over 10% of the world's freshwater consumption, 25% of its wood consumption and 40% of material and energy flows (Kibert 200). It generates 8-20% of the total municipal solid waste (Fisk

2000, Augenbroe 1998). Kibert (2005) reports that 30% of all new and renovated buildings in the U.S. got experience of poor indoor environmental quality, mainly due to noxious emissions of gases from evaporation of injurious substance present in building Materials, and pathogens. This results in low productivity which causes an annual loss of

$60 billion.{Asghar, 2008 #478}

An important feature of sustainable projects is that they lend themselves to a multidisciplinary and incorporated team effort rather than a typical linear design and construction process (Gottfried 2000). This integrated approach requires early participation and greater involvement of different project members in order to better use their technical expertise and knowledge

Sustainable construction is vital for continuity between the world's resources and quality life for human beings, as well as the entire earth's inhabitants. To understand green building, one must think of social, cultural and environmental implication in a global context (Agenda 21, 2003). Whatever human race achieved today and milking those achievements for the benefit of present generation is solely due to ancestor's desire to pass on those benefits to their future generation. Hence the present world is obliged to carry on this process for future generations. But due to myopic view of self interest, non judicious exploitation of resources, there is a significant threat for whole human race not only for future population alone but present generation too started facing peculiar problem like global warming. The devastating effect of global warming can be better linked with Tsunami in Asia to Katrina in America.{Asghar, 2008 #478}

Sustainability application through project development phases


History of Sustainable Construction in Australia


The conditions that began the sustainability movement in Australia

The historical uptake of sustainable practices by the construction industry


Sustainable effects on the Construction Industry






Future Challenges Affecting the Construction Industry


Future proposed sustainable conditions

Challenges implementing these sustainable practices



A summary of major agreements and disagreements in the literature

A summary of general conclusions that are being drawn.

A summary of where your thesis sits in the literature (Remember! Your thesis could become one of the future texts on the subject-how will later research students describe your thesis in their literature reviews?)

This chapter summarises the main empirical findings of this research and discuss how to improve upon future economic factors in Australia. The chapter further highlights the contributions of this study to knowledge and discuss some of the problems encountered by this research, which are beyond the scope of the study and are likely to affect the outcomes of this research. Furthermore, the chapter discuss some policy implications arising from the findings of this research and also some directions for future economic analysis in Australia.

Contributions of the research to knowledge

This research empirically estimates and discuses the long run and dynamic relationships among major economic variables, including public capital, private capital, GDP and labour, in Australia's economy from 1960 to 2008 using time series data. To the best knowledge of the author of this thesis, this is the first comprehensive study to thoroughly explore these relationships for Australia. The main contribution of this study is to offer a framework for empirical and theoretical analysis of the roles and effects of various variables in Australia's economy. The results of this study provide a significant contribution to policy makers and government for future planning, budgeting and policy performance. The main findings concluded from the empirical study are as follows:

First, cointegration and causal relationships among public capital, private capital, gross domestic products and labour forces in Australia are tested. The cointegration test results suggest that there are long-run equilibrium relationships among several pair of these selected variables. The study uses unit root, cointegration and Granger's causality tests on annual data for the 49 years. The major findings of the study on causal relationships are: there exists a significant causality from public capital to private capital; there is no Granger's causality from public capital to GDP or labour force; and the causal relationship from private capital, GDP or labour to public capital is not significant, especially after a lag of two years. In the context of the major finding that causation runs from public capital to private capital in Australia, an interesting insight has opened up that it may be a strategy for policy maker to influence private capital investment in the Australian economy by controlling public capital management.

Second, this research further applies a non-structural vector auto-regression approach for the Australian economy using the same datasets. The optimal lag is investigated to build a four variable VAR model with labour, GDP, public capital and private capital, and the model is then tested for stability. The impulse response function is further employed to examine the response of one economic variable to the innovation of others and determine the lagged terms for the maximum absolute value of the other variables' responses. The results of impulse response function indicate that the biggest reactions of an economic variable to the economic variable shock immediately take place after one or two years. The most significant factor affecting each economic variable is its own individual performance in the past. Public capital is considered the most powerful and sensitive variable in the Australian economy. Public capital is, however, not the main wheel driving the movement of economic variables in Australia. Public capital, which is more like a constant current regulator, is passively used to stabilise the economy. Labour is a positive economic variable which takes an active, strong and long effect in the Australian economy. The change of labour evidently affects the changes of economic variables approximately in two years.

Finally, forecast error variance decompositions were conducted to estimate the percent variance contributions of economic variables in Australia. The relative variance contribution of a variable is highly derived from itself no matter where it is located in the VAR model. This self-contributed variance percentage of a variable decreases with its position in the model downwards. The percent variances of a variable due to other variables are highly dependent on their positions in the VAR model. The first ordered variable contributes high percent variances to all variables in the model and the percent variance of a variable contributed by its behind variable is insignificant. Among labour, GDP, public capital and private capital, public capital is not only non-influential on other variables but also insensitive to others. The non-self contributed variance percentage of GDP is much bigger than those of other variables.

This study should stimulate future research and assist policy makers and the government of Australia. For example, this study provides policy makers with information that a one standard error shock to each economic variable is persistent and permanent in the economy. This study also provides policy makers with additional insights into what percentages of the forecast error variance of an economic variable are explained by the innovations of each of the entire economic variables.

Research limitations and future work

This study has some limitations and accordingly can be extended in several ways. First, there exist measurement or calculation errors associated with the data used in for the analysis although this is beyond the scope of this study. Accurate data without measurement errors are expected to get reliable results from any empirical analysis but achieving this is not an easy task and data for empirical analysis continue to be saddled with measurement related problems. Furthermore, more data sets should be taken into consideration in this research. This research uses annual data of four economic variables at the country level, which may be extended in future for more frequent data (quarterly or monthly), more variables (for example, core infrastructures) or state-level analysis. In addition, research methodology need improvement with the availability of data and the extension of research questions. For example, panel data approaches may be applied once the state level data become available. Finally, the research approach and results need further verification and application in practice. Of interest of policy maker and government, the framework explored in this research is recommended to various government departments for formulation, planning and budgeting with inclusion of elaborate economic variables and data.