Are Construction Professionals Equipped with the Knowledge and Tools to Address the Sustainability Dilemma?

  • Paul MundyEmail author
  • Colin A. Booth
Conference paper


This study attempts to explore the depth of knowledge and understanding of sustainability issues across a range of construction professions and utilise this evidence to reveal if Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) is being delivered with due diligence across the industry. A range of construction professionals, key actors in achieving sustainability across the built environment through their advisory roles in design and specification, were interviewed (n = 7). It became apparent that knowledge and understanding of sustainability was certainly below an expected level of competence suitable to deliver solutions across the multifaceted sustainability crisis, with many professionals failing to see beyond energy efficiency and carbon reduction. Furthermore, it revealed that planning policy changes incorporating BREEAM as a condition has had negative effects, leading clients and professionals to engage only when required. It was also evident that BREEAM schemes are being used with the goal to obtain development consents and cost was determining actions taken rather than best sustainability outcomes. This results in both BREEAM and Sustainability being perceived as an add-ons rather than core elements or drivers of a project and, in doing so, reduces the effectiveness of the design. Based on this evidence, it is proposed that there is a timely need to change construction professionals’ perceptions to achieve a truly sustainable built environment. With BREEAM being one of many similar certification schemes it is worrying that these findings may the same elsewhere around the world.


BREEAM Green building certification Sustainable buildings 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Architecture and Built Environment Research (CABER), Faculty of Environment and TechnologyUniversity of the West of England (UWE)BristolUK

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