Oxford University student's review on sustainable construction

Updated: Apr 29

Franco Williams is a motivated young professional keen on embracing and enforcing sustainability in the core of the construction industry to reduce embodied and operational carbon emissions, provide long-term operational costs and energy savings. He graduated with Bachelor of Civil Engineering with First Class Honours from Edinburgh Napier University and Master of Engineering with Distinctions from The University of Sydney. He is currently researching best practices of sustainable construction project management at Oxford University for his PhD project. His research aims on developing a novel framework of sustainable practices to enhance the level of sustainability in construction and to provide project managers with an efficient guideline for application.

In this blog post we would like to share his review on sustainable constructions.

These key figures represent the construction industry’s contribution to climate change and the necessity for sustainable project management practices.

Current barriers and solutions of sustainable project management are as follows:

Existing governmental incentives or tax reductions from sustainability, reasonable sustainability regulations for governments to adopt and how new sustainability regulations will promote and encourage the adoption of sustainable practices.

According to the interviewees conduced with project managers, sustainability experts and leading researchers, prominent sustainable project management practices were identified in the following graph.

  1. Passive Design will enable high energy efficiency optimizing on natural lighting and for significantly lower long-term operational and maintenance costs.

  2. By facilitating reduce, reuse, and recycle in construction via methods such as waste to energy, recycling construction steel, and reducing natural resource and energy consumption the project’s contribution to global warming will be significantly minimized.

  3. The application of green materials will assist in achieving a low carbon building (i.e., sourcing local materials, renewable materials, and equipment).

  4. Just in Time (JIT) approach will allow efficient delivery of materials as they will be delivered and utilized upon arrival, which eliminates storage or idle time of materials.

  5. Proactive stakeholder engagement with good relationships with stakeholders increase the company’s image, generate more contracts which increases the profit margins. Collaboration and coordination between various stakeholders will reduce the disruptions and delays in the construction activities which in turn will lead to economical cost savings.

A framework of applicable sustainable construction project management practices at each stage of the project was developed to reduce carbon emissions and long-term operational costs. These practices when implemented will boost all three dimensions of sustainability (environmental, economic, and social) in the construction industry.

Future gains in sustainability are displayed in the following figure according to both the construction and operational phase of the project by the implementation of sustainable construction project management practices.


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