Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering


Dr Israel Adetunji


Sustainable Construction: A Web-based Performance Assessment Tool

Project Title

Sustainable Construction: A Web-based Performance Assessment Tool


Raynesway Construction


Prof A Price
Dr P Fleming

Ms Pam Kemp
J Findlay

Director of Research:
Dr NM Bouchlaghem

Research Period

2001 - 2005

Sustainable Construction: A Web-based Performance Assessment Tool


The increasing state of social, economic and environmental crisis due to the continuous proliferation of the present unsustainable pattern of production and consumption coupled with the anticipated levels of population has led to the frantic pursuit of a new paradigm of sustainable development. Sustainable development is a complex and fluid concept, which continues to develop over time, the most widely used definition is Brundtland’s

‘Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’

Even though many regard the definition as vague and ambiguous, it is highly instrumental in the development of a global, national, local and even corporate vision of sustainable development.

Despite the global consensus that sustainability is the best way forward, there is a wide range of definitions and interpretations of the concept causing confusion and dichotomy among its protagonists. Currently there are over 80 definitions for sustainable development, however, most of the definitions more or less underline: the linkage between the environment, society, economy; inter- and intragenerational equity and fairness; interplay between the local and global communities; the developing and the developed countries; and co-operation within and between sectors.

The quest towards sustainable development, both nationally and globally, puts the construction industry in the foreground as the main consumer of natural resources. In the European Union, buildings consume over 40 per cent of the total energy consumption and the construction industry is estimated to generate approximately 40 per cent of the man-made waste (Sjostrom, 1998). In the UK, the industry has profound economic, social and environmental impacts. To put these impacts into context respectively, the sector accounts for 10 per cent of GDP, employs 1.5 million people and contributes about 70 million tonnes of waste every year (DETR, 2000).

In recognition of these, the construction industry is vital in the delivery of sustainable development. The application of sustainable development to the construction industry is sustainable construction: best described as a subset of sustainable development to the construction industry. It encompasses issues such as whole life cycle, procurement, site planning and organisation, material selection, re-use, recycle, waste and energy minimisation. There is, though, a general consensus that the construction industry has major role to play in achieving sustainability. However, the conceptual confusion; its vagueness and ambiguity, the complexity of the myriad of challenges and fluidity of the sustainability concept highlighted above, compounded with the myopic attitude of the industry, lack of clear cut framework for each tiers of the sector instead of the current prolific holistic approach, are causing frustration in the construction industry. Hence the present inertia of many stakeholders has degraded the powerful concept of sustainability to just a cliché.

Aims and Objectives

Accosting the root causes of the systemic dysfunction of sustainability in the construction industry is an essential element of this research, which aims to enhance the effectiveness of the actions at the sector level. This research initially focuses on sustainability in highway maintenance but is expected to develop into other sectors of the construction industry. In this context, the main objectives of the project are to:

• review current portfolio of related work in the field;
• develop a framework for measuring and improving sustainability in construction;
• develop decision support tool based on multi-criteria analysis usable within construction and highways maintenance;
• evaluate tool using projects supplied by the industrial partners;
• implement the research findings in a real-life project environment; and
• develop guidelines showing how this research could be used to benefit other sectors of the construction industry.

Method and Current Status

• literature review forms the first part of the research focus to develop a theoretical grounding for and monitor developments in the subject area;
• case studies to gain an in-depth knowledge of the current sustainable and unsustainable practices in the sector;
• questionnaires supplemented with semi-structured interviews will be used to gauge the industry wide view of the concept of sustainability.

An extensive literature reviews is currently underway and expected to be completed by May 2002.

Benefits/Expected Outcomes

The research intends to bring about fundamental changes in the way we deliver projects – a paradigm shift from linear to cyclical system of consumption and production. Hence a substantial contribution to sustainable development and competitiveness within the construction industry.























Adetunji, I. … et al. (2003). Sustainability and the UK construction industry: a review, Proceedings of ICE: Engineering Sustainability, Volume 156, December 2003, Pages 185-199 Paper 13472. [DOI: 10.1680/ensu.].

Adetunji, I., Price, A.D.F. and Fleming, P. (2008). Achieving sustainability in the construction supply chain. Proceedings of the ICE - Engineering Sustainability, 161 (3), pp. 161 - 172. [10.1680/ensu.2008.161.3.161].

Adetunji, I. ... et al. (2005). The Barriers and Possible Solution to Achieve Sustainable Development. Accepted in The Proceeding of the Second Scottish Conference for Postgraduate Researchers of the Built and Natural Environment (PRoBE). Glasgow Caledonian University, November 2005.

Adetunji, I. ... et al. (2003). The Application of Systems Thinking to the Concept of Sustainability. The Proceeding of the Association of Researchers in Construction Management (ARCOM), University of Brighton, UK, 3-5 September, 161-170.

Adetunji, I. ... et al. (2003). Trends in the Conceptualisation of Corporate Sustainability. The Proceeding of the Joint International Symposium of CIB Working Commissions W55, W65 and W107, Singapore, 23-24 October 2003, Page 187 – 199.



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Loughborough University
LE11 3TU

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