Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Barriers to Sustainable Construction in the Ghanaian Construction Industry: Consultants Perspectives

Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Barriers to Sustainable Construction in the Ghanaian Construction Industry: Consultants Perspectives

Article excerpt


This research paper aims at examining the concept of sustainability in the Ghanaian construction industry with the objective of identifying possible barriers to sustainable construction in the Ghanaian construction industry. Consequently, research data was collected through a questionnaire survey of randomly selected professionals in the construction industry in Ghana. Data collected was mainly analyzed using Relative Importance Index to rank barriers identified. The results show that key barriers to sustainable construction are lack of demand for sustainable buildings, lack of strategy to promote sustainable construction, higher initial cost, lack of public awareness and lack of government support.

Keywords: sustainability, sustainable construction, barriers, construction industry

(ProQuest: ... denotes formula omitted.)

1. Introduction

Decades of population growth, migration, and settlement have changed dramatically the face of Sub-Saharan Africa region. By the year 2025, the population is expected to be more than 1 billion (1,000 million) people. This rate of rapid population growth with its corresponding industrialization has led to an expansion of infrastructure in the built environment. Naturally this expansion leads to an increase in infrastructural project contributing immensely to the national economy. Globally, the construction industry constituents more than half of the national capital of most countries and represents as much as 10% of GNP. This sector accounts for around one-tenth of the world's GDP, and creates at least 7% of its jobs (Halls, 2003). Ahadzie et al. (2009) acknowledge that construction contributes to the national socioeconomic development by providing significant employment opportunities. Beyond that, the industry provides the infrastructure and facilities required for other sectors of the economy to flourish such as; schools for education and training, factories and shops for commercial and business activities, housing for basic human needs, hospitals for health care, buildings for the national communications network and so on. In meeting these roles, the construction industry exerts enormous demand pressures on global natural resources. Cement production alone contributes greatly to the emission of CO2 into the environment. For every ton of cement produced, approximately a ton of carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. The contribution of concrete is twice the total of all building materials put together. Steel is also one of the most energy-intensive materials and for that reason contributes immensely to climate change. The usage of these materials leads to the destruction of the environment, through pollution (both in extracting raw materials and construction of building), dust and hazardous contamination through toxic waste (CIB Report, 1999). Half of all waste materials are due to building activities, including soil movements, generating immense transport. The construction sector is therefore a major consumer of non-renewable resources, a substantial source of waste, a polluter of air and water, and an important contributor to land dereliction (Wallbaum & Buerkin, 2003). However, it is possible these shortfalls could be reduced if not eliminated if the construction industry adopts sustainable measures and construction processes. This is because there have been greater awareness about the effect of construction on the environment over the years. According to BRE (2004), as awareness of the potential environmental impacts of building construction grows, efforts are being made to avoid these adverse effects and to work towards impact mitigation. There is a growing consensus that appropriate strategies and actions are needed to make buildings and construction activities more sustainable (BSRIA, 1998; DETR, 1998; CIB, 1998; CRISP, 1998; Barrett et al., 1999).

There is also a more optimistic and positive response to calls for promoting sustainability in construction and design techniques (Morton, 2008). …

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