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Thomson, C S and El-Haram, M (2011) Exploring the potential of sustainability action plans within construction projects. In: Egbu, C and Lou, E C W (Eds.), Proceedings 27th Annual ARCOM Conference, 5-7 September 2011, Bristol, UK. Association of Researchers in Construction Management, 1085–94.
- Type: Conference Proceedings
- Keywords: action plan; case study; project management; sustainable construction
- ISBN/ISSN: 978-0-9552390-5-2
- URL: http://www.arcom.ac.uk/-docs/proceedings/ar2011-1085-1094_Thomson_El-Haram.pdf
The construction industry has been identified as a key enabler in the delivery of UK national carbon emission targets and the wider principles of sustainable development. Increasingly, the industry is being challenged by evolving policy and building standards to change its product and practices to align with sustainable construction. However, delivering sustainability in practice remains a challenge partly due to a range of traditional cultural/ structural barriers, a lack of integration between the different project stages and professions, and the predominance of the carbon agenda at the expense of a broader coverage of issues. Calls are emerging for a more holistic approach to sustainability, and for this to be reflected across the stages of the project and the resultant building lifecycle. In order to realise this, current project management approaches need to reflect this broader view and to engage effectively with the array of sustainability assessment methods available. Sustainability action plans have been applied in a number of contexts as a means of ensuring that sustainability objectives are planned, measured and achievable in practice. This research considers the potential offered by sustainability action plans within construction projects, by evaluating the experience in its application by forward thinking developers BioRegional Quintain Ltd in the Greater Middlehaven Regeneration Project. The analysis outlines the rational for its application, its structure, the role of sustainability assessment and its contribution to the projects development. Interviews were conducted with five key members of the project team, revealing the benefits for wider practice of providing a framework around which sustainability can be managed and assessed through a series of integrated tailored action plans for each project stage, in addition its role in facilitating the sharing of knowledge, communicating aspirations and in providing the necessary leadership to project team members.