Construction in a changing world: Built Environment Project and Asset Management: Vol 6, No 2
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Built Environment Project and Asset Management

ISSN: 2044-124X
Online from: 2011

Construction in a Changing World
Editor(s): Champika Liyanage

Construction in a changing world

Champika Liyanage (School of Engineering, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK)
Champika Liyanage , (2016) "Construction in a changing world", Built Environment Project and Asset Management, Vol. 6 Iss: 2
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Article Type: Guest editorial From: Built Environment Project and Asset Management, Volume 6, Issue 2.

Driven by technology innovation, demographic growth, environmental change, a new economic order and a strong undercurrent of social and political desire for change, the world is changing quickly. Construction does not exist in isolation and, in a fast-changing world; the sector has the vital role of providing the requisite built environment to meet the challenges presented by these changes (Construction in a Changing World Conference, 2014 – www.cib2014.org/).

With a specific focus on “Construction in a changing world”, this special issue presents a series of papers on a broad range of issues. The underlying aim is to present research studies that have been conducted in different parts of the world to update the global research community of different approaches and problems on which they themselves maybe working.

A shift in economic, social and environmental forces (also known as the triple bottom line) is shaping the world as we know it. At the heart of it lies the necessity to achieve sustainable development. Thus, many of the papers in this special issue either focus on sustainability directly or tangentially through related themes. The first paper by Karunasena et al. is on “Integrating sustainable concepts and value planning (VP) for sustainable construction (SC)” in the context of Sri Lanka. The findings, which are based on a questionnaire survey and semi-structured interviews, reveal poor awareness, lack of government support, initial time and cost factors as the main challenges of integrating VP and sustainability concepts in the construction industry in Sri Lanka. In order to address these challenges, the authors have presented an integrated framework that can support the promotion of SC in the construction industry.

The second paper is by Manewa et al. on “Adaptable buildings for sustainable built environment”. This paper explores how adaptable buildings respond to the life cycle changes of buildings to enhance sustainability. A case study from the Northwest region of England was undertaken to explore these issues. Research findings confirm that a significant number of buildings demand change of use during their life cycles. Therefore, there is an urgent need to explore practical and sustainable solutions to respond to these demands. Considering the strong emphasis placed by the UK government on sustainability to address challenges faced in the fast-changing world, this paper highlights the need for incorporating adaptability as a criterion for evaluating building designs and urban regeneration schemes.

The third paper by Goh takes a somewhat similar view to building life cycle considered by Manewa et al., though in a different context, as Goh’s paper is on “Designing a whole-life building cost index in Singapore”. Whole-life costs (according to Goh) take into account running costs such as energy usage, maintenance requirements, disposal costs such as recycling, as well as the initial purchase price. Therefore, typically, applying whole-life costs at design stage will provide sustainable solutions, e.g. low-occupancy costs as a result of less energy and water usage. Because of these obvious advantages, a whole-life cost index has been presented in this paper for the purpose of effective decision making during the design stage of building projects.

The fourth paper in this special issue also touches upon the subject of environmental sustainability. This paper is by Nazeer and De Silva on “Total building performance evaluation (TBPE) scoring framework for tropical buildings”. Due to geographical, climatic, cultural and other differences, they argue that the current available BPE frameworks are not suitable for tropical countries. With the use of a literature review and a questionnaire survey, the authors have developed and weighted a scoring system (i.e. BPE framework) that comprises of several dimensions including environmental, functional and technical aspects. Adaptation of the framework, therefore, will be helpful in detailing sustainable strategies according to various building performance mandates in tropical buildings.

The fifth paper in this special issue is by Broft et al. on “Towards supply chain maturity (SCM) in construction”. This paper explores enablers and barriers to the implementation of SCM, thereby adopting an alternative approach to SCM by specifically focusing, internally, on both main contractor and subcontractor organisations in the Dutch construction industry. Significance of collaborative partnerships are becoming more and more apparent in today’s world, thus, findings of this paper lay the basis for development of an SCM model that can guide companies towards successful implementation of SCM through more collaborative partnerships.

In order to deliver value, maintain competitiveness and address the needs of society, the construction industry needs to develop its capabilities for managing innovation and technical change. The sixth paper by Mlecnik attempts to address this through his paper titled “Activating the adoption of innovation: lessons from a passive house network”. The paper has developed a model with the use of innovation adoption theory to exemplify the activities of the innovation network dedicated to promoting passive houses. The qualitative study findings, based on Flanders region in Belgium, reveal that adoption of innovation needs to be done as a systemic approach when defining passive house network activities.

Uluta Duman et al.’s paper on “Corporate social responsibility (CSR) in construction industry: a comparative study between UK and Turkey” is the seventh paper in this special issue. CSR is a fast growing phenomenon in the changing world that influences organisations to account for any detrimental effect they have on the natural environment and society. The findings of the paper, which are emanating from a case study methodology, reveal that CSR is relatively a new concept to Turkey, whilst it has been known since 1990s in the UK. Thus, CSR standards and systems applied in the UK companies are obviously much higher compared to Turkish companies. Therefore, in the context of this special issue, i.e. construction in a changing world, the authors highlight the importance of increased awareness of CSR initiatives and their associated benefits in creating further business opportunities for the construction industry in Turkey.

The dynamics of this global transformation are well-documented. Less explored, however, is what these global changes mean for how we conceive, coordinate and implement international development. The final paper of this special issue attempts to address the above. The paper is on “Cultural competence – a success factor in non-government organisation (NGO) projects?” by Dale and Dulaimi. With rapid advances, especially in terms of technology, a larger gap of social and economic inequalities is emerging in the society. Therefore, to address the aforementioned, the importance of international NGO development projects is highlighted in this paper with the use of a combination of qualitative methods carried out in the context of a selected Kenyan/Norwegian organisation.

Construction does not operate in isolation and issues in the construction industry are multi-faceted as identified from the papers in this special issue. Therefore, for the construction industry to move forward with the changes to technology, innovation, environmental considerations and demographics, lessons need to be learnt from the various states of relevant developments in all parts of the world. It is hoped that this special issue has made an attempt to fulfil this.

Champika Liyanage - School of Engineering, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK

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