Barriers to addressing sustainable construction in public procurement strategies

2012-01-25T14:08:56Z (GMT) by Amr Sourani M. Sohail (Khan)
There is an increasing demand on public clients in the UK to address sustainability in construction procurement. This paper presents the results of an investigation into the barriers facing these clients in attempting to address sustainable construction in procurement strategies and the parties most capable of removing such barriers. The investigation draws on interviews conducted with sustainability professionals and experts working in a variety of professional and public sector organisations in the UK. Twelve main barriers were identified, namely: lack of funding, restrictions on expenditure and reluctance to incur higher capital cost when needed; lack of awareness, understanding, information, commitment and demand; insufficient/inconsistent policies, regulations, incentives and commitment by leadership; insufficient/confusing guidance, tools, demonstrations and best practice; vagueness of definitions and diversity of interpretations; separation between capital budget and operational budget; lack of sufficient time to address sustainability issues; lack of long-term perspective; general perception that addressing sustainability always leads to incurring greater capital cost; resistance to change; insufficient integration and link-up in the industry; and insufficient research and development. Four parties were identified as the those most capable of removing the barriers, namely: government (including regulatory bodies); professional/educational bodies; the supply chain; and users.