Sustainable construction practices and their importance in the UK construction industry

1. Introduction

Marshall & Mounce (2009) served as a key advisor intervening in sustainable construction in the UK, arguing that a sustainable approach should be integral to the mainstream construction practice. However, the construction industry appears to ignore the perceived scope and importance of sustainable building at its current level of understanding. Furthermore, it is anticipated that the vision of constructing a more sustainable future in the built environment will require stakeholders in the construction supply chain to adapt to changing organizational processes, views, and technologies, involving collaboration and joint working. This study produces evidence regarding contemporary construction practices and how sustainability is being fashioned within these practices in the UK because there is thought to be very little empirical research covering recent trends. Also in Britain, the Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) scheme provides an incentive to the UK construction industry to purchase some constructing technologies. The ECA scheme allows businesses to claim 100% first-year capital allowance on investing in constructing products that accomplish water savings and meet insulation requirements.

Sustainable construction requires diligence before and after construction. For instance, pre-project planning should involve establishing appropriate targets for the proposed construction. Post-construction follow-up should be considered in order to assess and improve the performance of the building as part of the construction process. However, recognition of the importance of sustainable construction in the design, management, and construction of both residential and non-residential buildings is now gaining credibility amongst main contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and other key stakeholders in the construction industry. Also, improvements have been achieved in planning, implementation, and monitoring of sustainable construction in response to increasing legal constraints and changing environmental pressures experienced by the construction industry. These increasing legal constraints are embodied within European Directives, as well as the European Commission’s recent proposals for a Building Directive that increasingly call for a broader view when approaching construction in the UK.

2. Benefits of Sustainable Construction Practices

Ensuring sustainable construction practices are achieved and adhered to, conversation with valuable resources is optimised, promoting waste reduction and increased recycling, safeguarding the health and safety of all construction employees. These and many other topics are discussed. Being proactive towards sustainable construction activities encourages innovation within the construction industry, with a focus on being more responsible towards the environment. Alongside this, through choosing sustainable construction practices, new business opportunities are more likely to be achieved. Finally, value is also driven by the need for sustainable construction activities, supporting the sustainable strategies of the construction materials sector. In particular, success in Asian countries will enable UK construction materials businesses to emerge as key players within the international market. This could be achieved through cost-effective and environmentally beneficial construction materials and processes keeping in parallel with sustainable construction practices.

There is a plethora of different reasons why focusing on sustainable activities is beneficial. As such, it is important to evaluate the significance and necessity of sustainable construction practices to the UK construction industry, alongside the benefits that could be gained. With increasing advances in various aspects of sustainability, it is critical that sustainable construction practices become part of everyday project delivery. By resisting these changes to the industry, the added costs and complexities it may pose by only considering traditional construction activities will undoubtedly delay the successful implementation of sustainable construction practices. Further to this, by not considering projects sustainably, it suggests that the industry does not value and recognise the significance and importance that sustainability poses to society and the wider environment. By challenging these outdated views and practices, a commitment to sustainability can become part of every organisation’s culture and values. Alongside this, the built environment industry can become one which clearly recognises and supports the benefits of implementing sustainable construction practices. By focusing on the big picture, with more partnerships, shared values and performances, the aim to build a more sustainable future could be achieved.

3. Government Regulations and Policies

The Energy Performance Certificate is a tool to inform people about the energy utilization and potential costs associated with a home. It has clearly influenced consumer decisions in a similar way to Grade Certificates and Energy Efficiency Certificates. The government must educate and support professionals to create actions that are beneficial and ideal for encouraging demand for better energy-efficient products and services by making appropriate and effective use of standardized certification and rating schemes accessible to others. The placement of the Energy Standard for Domestic Buildings in the enforcement of planning obligations has the potential to influence the supply of a large number of homes identified by developers as being ideal for low-carbon and energy-efficient properties. Given that sustainability and residential zoning are vital in meeting climate targets, the modalities should conform to developers’ expenditure limitations, initial inspection, financial restrictions, and initial credit restrictions.

Various government regulations and policies have been introduced to encourage energy efficiency in buildings and the construction of low-impact infrastructure. The Code for Sustainable Homes, a national standard for the sustainability of new homes, is one of the major contributors to sustainable construction and it is also a change in the planning system. The Code has a huge influence on the design and construction of both domestic and newly built accommodation that until quite recently had little or no influence on sustainability. Another initiative that has a huge impact on sustainability and energy in buildings and domestic properties is Building Regulations. The impact of the latest policy was intended to express the government’s commitment to meeting its commitment to reduce carbon emissions under the Kyoto Protocol, but it faced some opposition from the construction industry.

4. Energy Efficiency

The difference between as-designed operational energy performance and energy in use is commonly referred to as the performance gap. In 2012, Bastin and Steyn published a report sponsored by the Technology Strategy Board, outlining the performance gap and highlighting that increasing variations in actual energy consumption must track the relative success or improvement over the period. The report suggests that, based on projects currently in the design phase, 4% of projects have a “good” performance, 86% have “average” performance, and 10% have “poor” performance. The same statistics suggest that the predicted carbon emissions for building services operate at an average of 150% greater than estimated when the buildings are in use.

Traditionally, energy efficiency has focused on the operational energy requirements of buildings, largely through improved insulation and other passive or retrofit measures. These are often simple and relatively low-cost methods to reduce heating and cooling loads in buildings and are fundamental to the zero energy massing. As definitions of energy use change and interest in reducing energy use nears those targets, it is likely that we will see more variation in the strategies used to meet those targets. Driven by a range of policies such as energy performance certificates and rising energy costs, there is currently a focus across the UK construction industry on reducing operational energy use in buildings. However, while this is a necessary focus, it is important to consider that energy requirements within a building encompass more than the operational.

5. Waste Management

Construction and demolition (C&D) waste is one of the three major types of waste generated by the UK construction industry. In 2001, 28.8 million tonnes (approximately 29% of that year’s generated waste) came from the construction industry, out of which approximately 33% was materials such as concrete, tiles, bricks, and wood. The government of the UK (2007) sees waste prevention as the top-tier solution provided to the waste problem. The use of landfills is now considered the least desired option due to a shortage of landfill space, the potential for destructive environmental consequences, and rising environmental pressures. In recent years, it has been verbalized that construction waste is a resource that should be maintained in the active economy as long as possible, and via the reuse and recycling of waste, some environmental benefit.

Sustainable construction practices and their importance in the UK construction industry have been catching increasing attention due to the rising awareness of environmental issues and the benefits from investing effort in streamlining construction activities in order to have an advantageous effect on the environment. Waste from construction and demolition (C&D) activities is amongst the waste that is classified as major and frequent in nature. Inefficient waste management has been drawing wider attention from both industry and academia, because even the smallest effort made in formulating waste management strategies would result in greater levels of sustainability. Sustainable construction addresses all areas of waste arising from construction and demolition activities.

6. Water Conservation

It is important that construction sites focus on six basic rules of water conservation: using less water, recycling and reusing, re-educating the workers, reporting leakage early, and planning ahead of your project for water treatment or efficiency methods.

When it comes to water conservation with product manufacturing, even with recycled products, the amount of water still needs to be measured through incorporating a TLCA approach. Lowering the product-associated embodied water will lower the overall water requirements of the construction activities. The amount of water used within construction is alarming when we consider that the UK average person uses around 150 litres of water every day. Some research studies reveal that the construction industry can significantly lower its water requirements by using treated wastewater for non-drinking purposes, grey water, and better management of surface water runoff. Items such as toilets, washing machines, and landscaping watering within construction can safely use recycled or surface water runoff to prevent drinking water from being used.

Water conservation is an important consideration from an environmental perspective. When it comes to water conservation for the construction industry, there are two main types that we need to concentrate on. The first is the manufacturing of the products being used within the construction process, for example, bricks, insulation, and pipes that total to an embodied water. The second is the amount of water used during the construction phase of the project, i.e., the total water consumption.

Parameters that are generally used to measure water conservation when examining a building or construction project are embodied water and water consumption. Embodied water in construction is the amount of water that is required to manufacture a product from raw materials through to completion. Water consumption refers to the amount of water that is used by an individual or a company. Water consumption can be linked with water recycling and the energy required to treat or move water. This could, in turn, affect the carbon emissions of a building or construction site if the water is drawn straight from the mains water network.

Water conservation is a concern in many parts of the world, including the UK. Both domestic users and non-domestic users, such as construction activities, are seeking new ways to reduce their water usage. Water efficiency in the construction industry is fundamental to achieving the long-term security of water supplies in the UK. Already, 90% of the water and sewage companies and 70% of the supply licenses have water availability issues that could affect operational supplies, according to the UK’s 2014 industry regulator, Ofwat.

7. Use of Sustainable Materials

Many different materials are used during the construction of a building. These materials can be classified into two main groups: synthetic materials and natural materials. Synthetic materials refer to most of the materials used in the construction industry, which are non-renewable resources that come from nature and are characterized by their long-term decomposition time. Natural materials are characterized by being renewable resources; in some cases, the cost of extraction is also lower. The use of different materials also affects other factors. Raw materials must be extracted, crushed, and put into the category of production processes. The use of synthetic input materials is the main energy input in the production of cement and clinker; limestone accounts for 1% of the annual raw material used over the life of London clay. It is also used and the cement substrate is produced using a large part of the energy input. Energy consumption accounts for 40% of production costs and manufacturing costs.

Despite the fact that a vast amount of non-degradable natural resources will always be used during the construction of buildings, it is essential to reduce them as much as possible. There is much more emphasis on reducing the use of both non-renewable and improperly managed resources, together with the production of harmful chemical substances with negative environmental and health effects. During all the phases of the building, these natural resources are wasted as construction products and then also as waste. Finally, one of the objectives of sustainable materials policy can be to make maximum use of the resources.

8. Green Building Certifications

Passivhaus is a voluntary energy performance standard for any type of building that focuses on superior energy performance, air quality, energy, and climate protection. The term originated from Germany, and the association of this house of the same name is another of the main organizations that validate Passivhaus. In 2001, Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Baker House adopted the Passivhaus standard. Fenestration was eliminated, and peak heating and cooling, among other requirements, were eliminated. Within months, one report showed occupant dissatisfaction with thermal comfort. The fact that the report reached German physicist Wolfgang Feist, one of the founders of Passivhaus, ignited a movement to improve the standard for fenestration, silence, and indoor air quality. In response, Feist announced, in Frankfurt in 2002, that for every rule, there will be exceptions, while every rule will be evaluated and eventually tightened or eliminated. Feist led these changes for a year, along with others who sought to make the Passivhaus standard less bureaucratic and more pragmatic. As a result, the following was improved: dimtool’s input energy values were updated, and the air recirculation strategy was eliminated (this eliminated the need for air recirculation controls). The 2003 inputs for space heating, space cooling, and total primary energy were overhauled. In 2006, a range of space cooling limits was developed, based on climate data showing that buildings in cooler climates will not need significant space cooling. Then, in the United States, peak energy demand limitations were created for each climate zone, a crucial detail for engineers aiming to minimize grid load by 2030. Since then, many additional clarifications and updates have been made to the original standard, although the core philosophy has remained unchanged.

The growing environmental awareness in the world has led to an increase in the construction of green buildings, derived from the need and demand for sustainable construction materials and practices. Thus, rating systems such as Green Building Index (GBI), the Singapore Green Building Council (SGBC), and Green Mark are available for green building certification. However, LEED and BREEAM are the ones that are known internationally and of which more certifications have been carried out. LEED, based in the US, recognizes buildings according to ecological sustainability in different categories by assigning a number of credits. BREEAM was created in 1990 as a qualified house certification in the United Kingdom, with the acronym BREEAM. The acronym can now be translated as BRE Environmental Assessment Method. The system is designed to give a consistent methodology for the assessment of the sustainability of new non-domestic buildings. The system features a set of performance measures representing a broad range of categories with predefined criteria containing certain minimum standards to be achieved. It is in this way that credits are also earned by categories. Non-domestic new construction can achieve “Good,” “Very Good,” “Excellent,” “Outstanding” ratings. The aim of these certification systems is to guide the prospective user in the construction of sustainable building all through the construction cycle through the application of their guiding framework.

9. Cost Considerations

Unfortunately, it seems that the main reason for using sustainable techniques is solely financial, as an argument can be made that many of the designed systems are more likely to increase health problems for both the workers and the occupants than to provide any ongoing cost savings from reduced energy use. When considering sustainability at the house construction stage, emphasis appears to be placed on assessing the constructional material utilized, and no consideration is given to the construction techniques used to build. AppCompatActivity tends to be designed, with builders under pressure to finish according to strict guidelines and with low profit margins; time-saving pop-up constructional techniques are considered a luxury and tend not to be used.

The construction industry has always operated two main building philosophies: cost and quality, with cost being the more important factor. Disadvantages already exist for the construction industry with the introduction of a new technique or system, as it lacks practical experience, meaning the building control examiners and regulators cause delays. Building projects have to be cost-effective; therefore, the extra financial cost experienced by the system has been borne by either the initial extra surplus offering the system or the clients bearing all or part of the extra cost. The best utility can only be identified when the house has been completed. In terms of house management, the system allows communications to occur between home-grown devices, reducing labor costs, infrastructure costs, maintenance costs, and supplying needed resources that help with minimized energy consumption. Over time, the system will bring more differentiation for consumers.

10. Case Studies

Sustaining Brampton was an ambitious and challenging project to replace the old Chequersfield School site with a new twenty-first-century primary school to serve the expanding families of the Brampton area. The development project also included new affordable and market housing to replace unsuitable Council housing, open spaces, and a wetland-retention area to create play and defensible leisure areas, pitched-roofed sustainable homes built to EH standard on the Brownfield land in Great Lon Field. The new housing consisted of an innovative design, with both the homes and learning facilities crafted in highly pensive and playful clusters with key views over open spaces and the wetlands, providing an environment that contributes to a rich, vibrant, and diverse community that were sustainable and affordable homes, including 50 over the entire fire town located in the school. In line with modern expectations of creative and collaborative working that could cleverly knit the various social strands of community life. In all instances, this vision had creative and collaborative working that could professionally and creatively knit the various social strands of community life. It was envisioned that the vibrant learning community and projected 0 to 11 years old pedestrian safe town, with unobtrusive traffic movement, would thereby create smaller neighborhoods to ensure an environment that was homes, a learning environment, with health and family achievers, responsible and mobile to remain new and existing people-friendly and be rich with expectations of homegrown talent, health, vitality, prosperity, and growth constrained by a protective, educative, nurturing, and caring environment.

There are two case studies selected for the purpose of this paper in order to illustrate characteristics and benefits of sustainable construction project delivery processes. As the first one, TCBC at the former airfield terminal of the Bassingbourn Army Training Camp, Cambridge, was chosen. The current trend in housing developments showed that villages sprawled over green fields, and this brought heavy, expensive infill facilities with their own associated traffic and increasing journey times to and from Olne Headquarters and the barracks. Consequently, it was agreed that local employment opportunities should be created, with the result that the Bassingbourn Camp Town Centre project was identified as a large regeneration and affordable housing development, which offered the opportunity for the scheme to demonstrate a commitment to sustainable construction by the MoD. The second case study selected illustrates the characteristics of sustainable construction of the Superstore Borehamwood.

11. Training and Education

It has now become apparent that the uptake in sustainable innovations and methods rests with the skills established and reinforced through the education system. Therefore, increasing the number of programs or subjects that incorporate ‘sustainability’ into their topics, the level of awareness of students will increase, and the workforce of the future will be much more astute when choosing what construction methods to apply within the industry. This drive should not only include traditional university-based courses but also vocational ones such as apprenticeships, diplomas, and foundation degrees. Once more, all should integrate sustainability into their syllabus. Educational departments will have to work closer with industry to tailor courses to not only broaden research projects but to involve making innovative ideas and opportunities workable. Industry will need to support many Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) initiatives and offer a greater number of work experience opportunities or sandwich years.

Training and education: A lack of appropriate training and education for the full range of the construction workforce remains a significant factor in the poor uptake of sustainable innovations and construction practices. Moreover, training non-professional construction staff such as bricklayers on site is near impossible, as the construction industry struggles with the implementation of slow and reactive methods. Some are calling for major contractors and house builders to invest more of their profits into training, and it is evident that more must be done if sustainable practices are to be adopted on UK construction sites. An effective way of changing present culture is educating those responsible for all construction activities.

12. Collaboration and Partnerships

The failure of sustainable construction to be critically acknowledged is said to be partly down to the activities of the UK construction sector, particularly at the level they relate to procurement. The sector is accused of promoting adversarial behaviour and of character of relationships between construction parties, where collaboration is expected not to exist. French and Swallow stated that it is not unusual for consultants and contractors to compete against each other rather than compete with each other, implying potential damage to project goals. Public sector projects characterized by low levels of collaboration, representing high degrees of adversarial relationships, are said to be linked to contractor selections.

In order to achieve sustainable construction, long-term collaboration amongst all parties involved is seen as necessary. These collaborations come in the form of partnerships between the supply and demand side of the products and services, that is, design businesses, construction firms, clients and users, which is suggested to denote a critical aspect of successful collaboration. This partnership-based thinking process can be best achieved through participation. It is suggested that this process should, at best, start right at the beginning of the demand side. This means understanding the clients’ needs and defining what exactly they mean by sustainability, where every stakeholder is involved right through the building process. In the UK, however, sustainable construction has remained on the fringes of the objectives pursued by clients.

13. Innovation and Technology

It is apparent that both the construction sector is beginning to perceive the significance of innovative design and construction technologies that can yield a lower waste-to-energy ratio and are, therefore, crucial in establishing the environmental impacts of a product or process. Technologies for prefabricated structural elements are under development that not only use less cement but also generate less waste. However, it cannot be assumed that the latest trend will represent innovation at a measurable level. The recent initiatives in the industry use appropriate design techniques to drastically reduce overall tonnage and, through the speed of construction, create benefits. While the main types of sustainable innovation in the construction sector concentrate on improvement initiatives, lean processes from the manufacturing sectors have been driven primarily by the pursuit of excellence in time and costs in construction.

One of the requirements of the sustainable construction agenda is to advance knowledge and improve practices in both conventional and non-conventional sectors by using existing, as well as new, materials and technologies. The construction industry is an enabler of the green agenda, and it is therefore no surprise that the sustainable construction agenda requires the industry to lead by example in its efforts to deliver zero carbon solutions. The industry, therefore, stands at the forefront in its use and development of new materials and technologies to meet the needs of the sustainable construction agenda. Regarded as an industry of modest levels of innovation, due to the cautious nature of some of the contractual disputes, it is both disappointing and refreshing to note that the industry stands on the verge of an infusion of new technology and innovation embedded in both its products and practices through the development and use of durable, long-life products and recycled content.

14. Life Cycle Assessment

The concept is that every material has a certain value throughout its lifetime, which is evaluated by assessing the costs associated with it. LCA studies are classified into three broad methods – attributive, manipulation, and simulation – according to the nature of the method used to conduct the inventory. For example, attributive LCA simply counts the materials according to their specific environmental weight, and the entire construction process for building a house is calculated by counting the materials that went into the building. This is a rudimentary form of LCA. However, in reality, environmentally themed construction work requires the building of new roads. The factory that makes steel beams and steel columns uses electric heaters that consume thousands of kilowatts and large volumes of water. Both electricity and water are scarce resources in many parts of the world, and they are harmful to us and the environment.

Life cycle assessment (LCA) is the best way to assess the actual environmental impact of a decision or a product. It calculates the amounts of resources taken and the environmental impacts of emissions resulting from all processes associated with the product, from cradle to grave. This approach differs from other methods because it considers all negative environmental impacts collectively and evaluates the balance of resources consumed and waste products. Environmental impacts include not only those related to global warming, but also other potential impacts such as resource depletion, ozone layer depletion, photochemical oxidants, acidification, and eutrophication.

15. Health and Well-being

The UK Green Building Council has highlighted that the construction sector in the UK has a significant role to play in helping to create a sustainable environment and in safeguarding the world’s resources. The green building sector in the UK is in the vanguard of the ongoing transformation. The sector’s drive to create a world-leading global construction and sustainable environment industry represents an important commercial and economic opportunity that needs to be maximized. In 2018, the commercial and social value of green building in the UK reached £26 billion. That it is already delivering high levels of productivity and innovation is well recognized, and monitoring of projects shows that productivity gains of over 20% can be achieved during construction.

Building with sustainable materials, along with using improved construction methods such as concrete wall and floor panels, can lead to quicker, more efficient construction programs, which can assist in reducing site impacts such as air and noise pollution. These approaches not only make good commercial sense but can also assist the overall sustainability of a project. As the UK construction industry is challenged to deliver greater levels of sustainability in the buildings it constructs for residential and commercial use, sustainable construction materials are vital. Innovative approaches to construction can assist in the achievement of the industry and government’s goals. This can range from the design, choice, and use of materials during construction through to the end-of-life of a building.

16. Social Responsibility

A range of outcomes arise from organizations’ social responsibilities. Ridgwell (2004) describes increasing involvement in social responsibility as meeting broader stakeholder expectations and often providing opportunities. More involved companies generally find it easier to attract high caliber employees which have strong relationships with local communities. Kerr and Jermier (1978), Porter and Ketels (2003) explain that corporate citizenship, when combined with social/environmental responsibility, influence both managerial and employee motivation, commitment to the firm and performance. Kanter and Summers (1987) suggest that firms may gain commercial advantage through enhanced market share than better by understanding and being responsive to emerging markets. Providing construction employment/subcontracting from developing countries may enhance the prospect of better relationships with host governments and clients. Social responsibility can improve regulatory compliance and reduce business risk, through less exposure to legislation, litigation, and other risks by delivering cleaner products and services. Green-field investors and venture capitalists, seeking to invest in sustainable corporate operations, reduce the financial risk and operational risk. Cost reduction possible for efficient deployment of resources. Polychronakis in various studies (Kaluarachchi and Polychronakis, 1999) has identified how higher levels of social responsibility could affect performance. Further, the growth of an organization can be increased as conventional finance activity addresses the increase efficiency respective mortgage, capital deployment, and equity returns.

Sustainable construction also tends to address the imperative for the construction sector to engage more actively and positively with society, and in particular to better understand and pursue its social responsibilities. Both Lane and Root (2001) and Ridgwell (2004) describe social responsibility as a key driver for engaging the construction industry with sustainability, emphasizing that the industry has a great deal to contribute to society and can deliver commercial advantages by being seen to do so. For example, Lane and Root (2001) argue that a strongly supportive community environment can contribute to the construction team’s success, while Ridgwell (2004) indicates that a ‘community and social’ focus tends to be over and above legal requirements as a corporate responsibility. Ridgwell (2004) emphasizes that corporations are increasingly expected to be aware of the impact of their operations on the wider world, and are increasingly perceived as good corporate citizens because they are more involved in their communities and socially responsible.

17. Biodiversity and Ecosystem Protection

With contemporary customer experience and environmental legality, preferential attention has been given to materials that minimize cost imbalances and deliver both longer-term construction performance and maximum environmental benefit. Buildings are estimated to consume 40% of the earth’s natural resources and occupy more than half of the available concrete. For the industry, there are alternate options, which can not only efficiently manage sustainable materials but also commercialize building firms and promote a renewable society. In an attempt to reduce the new build costs by 42% while refurbishing over 24 million homes to a miserable standard last year, such ambitious targets required commitments to the Institute for Energy Efficiency. Industry progress to achieve these goals is dubbed as lacking, but this can be facilitated by the UK becoming more ambitious in terms of adopting advanced technologies within the framework of construction. Such systems require radical change, and while some progress has been made, our achievements fall far short.

According to Timesheets, a significant aspect contributing to biodiversity loss is urban spread on green and arable land. This is no different in the British building industry, even so urban areas inhabit a vast amount of protected landscapes and green features. The current use of urban land is not sustainable and could further exacerbate the loss of wildlife and erosion of cultivated land. In response, policy is now moving from brownfield to urban contaminated land, rendering Saskia to caution the sites of potential entertainment to stay away from before greenspace can be developed for other purposes. Some of the strategies set out in the English National Planning Policy Framework (Chapter 8) include protecting and enhancing valued landscapes in the countryside and making green infrastructure networks that are more resilient to current and future impacts. The Scottish, Welsh and Irish governments are based on the process of review and consultation.

18. Climate Change Mitigation

Despite these promising pictures, achieving low/zero carbon targets for buildings would be challenging because the majority of such targets would be achieved through construction practices. The problem with the construction industry is that construction practice as it exists today cannot continue. Apparel and manufacturers are becoming more aware of the resource and waste implications of their activities and are beginning to implement sustainability policies. These focus on comprehensive source reduction of raw materials, design, production, maintenance amenities, and management. Further sustainable principles, such as the type of power used and the incorporation of safety and product recycling, must also be taken into account when considering sustainability. For example, in an evaluation of an international corporation, forty-four pillars of sustainable development were incorporated under three main headings of society, ecology, and economy lines.

Climate change mitigation through the construction industry, whether through zero carbon targets or the development of low/zero carbon building materials, will provide not only economic benefits. It has been predicted that up to 17% of the UK’s total carbon emissions come from the operation of non-domestic buildings. One of the key ways of mitigating such carbon emissions is by improving energy efficiency and using low/zero carbon building materials, as prescribed by EPBD. For example, the replacement of high embodied clay and concrete blocks by low carbon, high mass building materials can reduce operational energy by up to 17%. Introducing several of these key low carbon innovations, such as better glazing, hollow walls, and efficient, electrically activated space heating and cooling systems together, can result in operational carbon reductions of 50-60%, allowing compliance with the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. Mitigation through zero carbon targets of buildings was already discussed in terms of material consumption, namely the reduction of the built volume of new buildings.

19. Resilient Infrastructure

Recently, a partnership between IBM and the University of Ottawa was announced to develop an online tool for the assessment and subsequent maintenance of infrastructure within the City of Ottawa. The City of Boston manages the environment and infrastructure on its property through Greenovate Boston. Boston will face challenges from climate change in relation to the intrusion of water from sea encroachments. The benchmark report from the American Society of Civil Engineers graded the USA a D+ for infrastructure. They assessed the U.S.’s water, energy, and transport systems. The National Infrastructure Commission has been set up in the UK with regards to the UK’s infrastructure, ensuring that it will continue to function well. Mandatory reporting of energy consumption and taxes are available to support the sustainable development of infrastructure.

As cities grow (urbanization), it is essential to create resilient infrastructure in order to ensure that populations and countries’ economies are not adversely affected by a natural catastrophe. Walkington stated that within the UK, there exists the risk that irrigation and drainage channels and sea defenses might become compromised and, in some instances, too expensive to maintain and repair. The warning is aimed at creating policies and infrastructure to ensure that cities are not adversely affected by the buildup of coastal silt. Walkington suggests that planning needs to make British infrastructure more resilient so that the increase in both population and vulnerable buildings does not need to be addressed through increasing the height of sea defenses.

20. Sustainable Urban Development

In the construction area, a commitment to the equitable and prosperous development of future generations implies that there is a need for a national strategic approach to sustainable SUD, but the government’s powers need to be more agile, cross-departmental, and innovative. Only a key project to address congestion and improve national transportation would provide a meaningful and consistent investment in London—an important point for SUD. There are many considerations on how to promote endless attention in construction while at the same time establishing a building based on acceptable value. Never before has the concept of SUD been accompanied by so many people at the highest levels because there is no national capacity to deal directly with these immediate challenges. In this case, the realization of any specific SUD concept is considered important, but the extent of this growth possibility would be expressed individually and by the specific teams with supplemental practical activities.

This sector basis ranks the environment as one of the top three focus areas, three in five in the top five focus areas, and 92% in the top ten focus areas. Here, environmental resilience and sustainability must be at the heart of every decision and action. It’s a different approach, but by thinking ahead and devoting ourselves to working through the existing problems, we are establishing the basics for continuing to build and maintain a sustainable operation. Our industries and economies are strong enough to develop long-term plans to adapt and thrive in the long run.

Sustainable urban development (SUD) is a key part of the social agenda. Sustainable forms of development are those that seek to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs through an integrity of ethical, social, and charitable responsibilities. Sustainable modes do not affect the ability to meet these needs, involve the responsible use of natural/wildlife resources, and fully respect the ecosystem.

21. Stakeholder Engagement

From interviewing practitioners, it was apparent that engaging stakeholders early was critical in successful business development processes. It was suggested that stakeholder engagement should take place much earlier in decision-making, rather than merely after decisions are made or to set direction. Several implications were apparent from these findings. First, by engaging internal stakeholders at the earliest possible stage, practices can ensure the development of effective strategies that represent the interests of both the construction companies and society. This better reflects needs and harmonizes actions at and between the levels of operations, tactical, and strategic decision making. Second, companies can harness the ‘power’ of multiple specialists to scrutinize and innovate new construction in an effort to obtain and enhance performance through the stakeholders’ trade-offs and feedback regarding their development. This results in improved operations, strategic planning, and corporate governance.

We described that an ‘interplay’ of initiatives could be seen where the desire to be sustainable necessitates collaboration and compromise, which builds trust and relationships. This further encourages collaborative work, resulting in additional steps forward in addition to any direct efforts to secure sustainability.

Engaging stakeholders in a partnership approach to decision making furthers the gains associated with the implementation of a CSM in terms of securing guidance, expertise, and support, driving innovation, finding compromise, and ensuring that the CSM is fit for purpose. This provides not only crucial foundations for socio-political optimum decisions and actions but also secures the broad support of stakeholders for proposed development and associated measures. This increases the likelihood of their successful implementation while also strengthening and supporting the sense of corporate, social, and environmental responsibility of developers and other stakeholders in the construction industry.

22. Supply Chain Management

Key features of supply chain management can also refer to decision selection, strategy planning, and operational control, providing a well-designed and effective guide that aids in evaluating measurements for business improvement of the competitive offshoring. Moreover, supply chain management also serves as a complete guide in all sector settings like manufacturing, services, energy, healthcare, financial sectors, and the public sections. Furthermore, accurate supply chain characteristics utilized within several organizations are based on single discrete metrics and offer extensive reports that measure organizational performance. A well-concreted supply chain management satisfies customer needs and aids in setting organizational expectations.

A supply chain represents all of the secondary processes that support the core construction activities and provides all the necessary materials, technology, and information to the wider construction project. The construction supply chain can be divided into four broad stages, each covering services that are required for a successful construction operation. The stages include: 1) the planning and design process, 2) procurement, manufacturing, and supply of materials, 3) construction management and supervision, and 4) asset management, commissioning, and production/operations. By consulting the staff, business customers obtained communication among process owners, such as policy makers, regulatory or organization-related negotiations, ethics agreement maintenance, and operational modification.

23. Risk Assessment and Management

At inception, all performance agreements included health and safety of employees and/or work environments, information security, and fraud risk. Companies mentioned that these risks change during the performance period. Following feedback, ISO 31000:2018 was enhanced to include the management of outsourced service providers. It mandates that the organization shall consider legal and contractual requirements. Staffing and resourcing are two recruitment risks. Insufficient risk assessment or staffing resources may result in supply chain supply reduction and contaminated raw materials claims, as well as high sales revenue from providing services. Customers are at a higher risk of financial loss because missed delivery time results in lost orders, reduced utilization, and delays. Failure to comply with statutory requirements and/or contractual commitments may result in penalties. A breach of security architecture will affect the data integrity of products shipped and put them at risk of being recalled, thus damaging the company’s reputation.

Sustainability, including safety and health, is an important issue in the construction sector. The impact of on-site hazards, high accident rates, fatalities, and ill health associated with construction materials on the environment, as well as increased legislation, fines, and compensation settlements, has led to a greater focus on risk assessment and management in the industry. This chapter illustrates the extent of the sustainability issues and the importance of addressing risk management at the construction phase. It highlights the common forms of construction waste, evaluates current waste minimisation techniques, and addresses sustainability using sustainable materials and legislation. A total of 10 tools were evaluated. The results suggested that they can effectively address design waste reduction objectives, but very few tools were found to address the practicalities of material selection and replacement, even though this is a major area for generating waste. Studies and discussions in this area should confirm these findings and develop the tools further to remediate design practice.

24. Performance Monitoring and Evaluation

These tools can span the range from evaluating systems, monitoring performance, troubleshooting operations, providing feedback into design, assessment techniques, and finally preparing performance operating standards and guidelines. Various tools have been developed and are being used in this area to achieve the goals established. Tools broadly fall within process-based (obtained through detailed simulation), large-scale end-use data aggregation-based methods and lab or field-measured data approaches in the evaluation of building performance. Researchers and individuals have incorporated the feedback into their simulation and design processes to push the performance envelopes even further aiding achieve increased environmental performance levels in buildings.

Performance monitoring is an essential tool in reaching the goals of sustainability and reduction of environmental impact. It is important that the appropriate tools and methods be developed to enable the monitoring of the performance of the various stages of the building. Something that ultimately influences the development of the performance monitoring tools is the stakeholder needs, and the requirements developed to address them. The tools that monitor building performance may not only assess if system operation is meeting design intent but also verify if the systems are meeting the occupants’ needs. The expansion of available monitoring tools in respect of running performance can provide feedback for improving future design, operation, and management of buildings and their systems.

25. Communication and Reporting

Similarly, the Danish Crown group of companies, including Danish Crown Pork in the UK and Europe, will impress upon its suppliers the group’s strong and responsible philosophy for the environment and its continuation of the development of the high-profile Compassion in World Animal Welfare. It is difficult to calculate the proportion of the group’s primary and non-primary suppliers who have understood the philosophy of the group since the suppliers are often companies with a very large number of larger and smaller employers. The legislation which encourages larger companies to introduce a system of controlling how data are reported does not take effect until 2021; however, it is anticipated that this approach could have an effect on Tulip Ltd.’s UK business. The global slaughterhouse brands are committed to the relevant market group and the welfare aspects of company policies, while Tulip Ltd. is responsible for the continued development of existing businesses and new products that work through its suppliers.

The legislature expects large companies and groups that have adopted sustainability reporting to prepare an annual report which includes a description of the company’s policy in relation to linkage with suppliers and measures taken to enforce those policies. The group’s suppliers to Danish Crown Pork and Tulip Food Company UK and European companies. Responsibility is primarily a legal entity, Tulip Ltd., where supplies of services, commodities, and equipment are made locally and abroad. Every effort is made to ensure that their suppliers understand Tulip Ltd.’s operating philosophy.

26. International Comparisons

However, as the research has shown, all these problems are pretty much the same for every country, and so are the strategies used to become environment-friendly. Some of the differences between implementing sustainable construction on both sides of the ocean are as follows. The LEED and BREEAM methods of evaluating the sustainable buildings, in Brazil, as shown through RES referenced to the Olympics, were much more adapted than in the UK, as well as were the strategies proposed. While the UK encouraged clients to make their own supply chains and the public bodies to establish sustainable supply chains of SMEs, Brazil showed a different approach, claiming the interest of all sizes of construction companies offering grants to innovate and to be greener. Another paper which comes from Brazil, in fact, makes a strong call for more research on this topic.

The problem brought about by the impact the construction industry has on the environment is not isolated just to the UK. Sustainable voices are heard worldwide, and many research papers have been published on the matter of sustainable practices when it comes to the construction industry. More than that, those papers produced in the UK in the last 10 years or so also show that the UK construction industry has a strong interest in achieving sustainability, and once again the SMEs are the most interested part. In Brazil, the concept of construction sustainability is something relatively new. Nevertheless, practitioners are starting to understand the notion of sustainability and to adapt parts of their work to be more environmentally friendly.

27. Future Trends and Outlook

In addition to these, a wide range of materials offer great promise, including advances in bio-based polymers that can harden naturally without the need for large amounts of energy. The micro-structural properties of bamboo and cork would mean that by being applied to building materials, they could offer thermal insulation and acoustic control. Fibers from construction and natural waste abound in cellulose, a naturally insulating composite material.

Some of the most prominent trends and advances in the construction industry include new materials, robotics, and 3D printing on site. The increased use of drones and solar tiles, biophilic clade, geopolymer concrete, and sustainable be usage. Additionally, £420m from the fund accounts for innovative applications of artificial intelligence (AI) applied to construction processes and Larry-based decision-making tools to create a built environment that is more sustainable by monitoring the building’s occupancy.

In terms of construction, improvements will continue to be dependent on materials and technologies developed and used in these structures. The construction industry is considered to be a key player in this area, with improvements to building design, reduction of waste, and generation of energy across a building’s life cycle considered to be among the key challenges of the future.

The fourth industrial revolution is underway, creating a host of new innovations and opportunities. Meanwhile, many of the sustainability problems associated with the first three industrial revolutions remain unsolved or have taken on new and more complex forms. As a result, governments, businesses, and communities are increasingly focused on sustainability and the need to achieve a range of social, environmental, and economic issues.

28. Challenges and Barriers

Furthermore, lamented that private property rights are a crucial issue in sustainable development. The construction industry is often accused of showing little interest in environmental and social concerns. argued that a significant need exists for improved empowerment and continuing initiation of innovative sustainable construction policies, technologies and technical and social models. Despite reluctance by practitioners in the UK construction industry to move towards sustainable construction, the government has sought to persuade those in the industry of its need.

For the industry and the government to move forward towards encouraging sustainable construction in the UK, a number of practical and pragmatic steps need to be taken to overcome the barriers which plague the industry. The UK construction industry is still heavily dominated by traditional construction methods and there is little willingness to change current practices. Policy makers should also take into account that to achieve sustainable construction might not be an easy task, despite its good intentions. Some countries which have been known to have promoted sustainable construction quite efficiently argue that the building sector is still very slow to respond to their needs and has been considered as not self-correcting. However, the heavy hand of government policy and intervention have often been successful in directing the building sector to particular technologies.

29. Success Stories

23. The key concerns of recycling, as mentioned earlier, are weight, impurity, design for recycling, volume, and logistics. These require collective action: separate points lead to fewer materials degradation; use of materials with fewer additives gives better recycled materials; careful design at the time of buying ensures better lifetime use, with reduction, repair, reuse, and recycling at the end of life as selected criteria; whereas the crimes of indifference should not allow any recycled material to cross the radius of operation of a fire-damaged structure. Needless to emphasize that these activities will be the vector for jobs in cities and for farmers in the countryside.

22. Increasingly, the construction industry is demonstrating environmental stewardship and leadership by either subsidizing materials recycling operations directly, as in the case of the Scottish Water investment in a cullet policy, or by pushing materials recovery to policy making, as in the case of the University of Bristol. Such success stories clearly demonstrate what is possible when an ethos of using reusable and recyclable materials is adopted in construction. The thirst towards 100% recovery through recycling should be the next step.

30. Conclusion

During the First Industrial Revolution, factories were concentrated in city centers, leading to the heat island effect. With the Second Industrial Revolution, migration from smaller towns increased, and city centers began to expand. It is crucial to address these issues and adopt sustainable construction practices to mitigate the negative impacts of urbanization and ensure a more sustainable future for the UK construction industry.

Skyscrapers, in particular, contribute to the heat island effect. The steel used in these buildings absorbs sunlight, causing the temperature of the city to rise gradually. Wrapping iron around buildings was initially done to protect against lightning strikes. However, this practice has unintended consequences, such as increasing city temperatures and exacerbating the heat island effect. The heat island effect is influenced by factors such as the surface area of buildings within districts and their locations.

In recent times, there has been a shift towards considering not only environmental concerns but also sustainability in construction. Throughout history, economic aspects have been prioritized, leading to the continuous growth of cities and the emergence of the heat island effect in city centers. While it is impossible to prevent urbanization, it is essential to organize and plan ways to protect natural resources such as trees, water bodies, and the ecosystem that supports them. Unfortunately, the development of buildings has led to the disappearance of lawns and watersheds.

Sustainable construction practices play a crucial role in the UK construction industry. The rapid urban development that followed the industrial revolution had both positive and negative impacts. While cities grew, much green land was converted into industrial sites, resulting in the loss of natural resources. Even today, resource utilization remains a challenge.