Comparative Study of Environmental Sustainability in Building Construction in Nigeria and Malaysia

By Abolore, Alabi Afees | Journal of Emerging Trends in Economics and Management Sciences, December 2012 | Go to article overview

Comparative Study of Environmental Sustainability in Building Construction in Nigeria and Malaysia


Abolore, Alabi Afees, Journal of Emerging Trends in Economics and Management Sciences


Abstract

Sustainability creation and awareness depends on the understanding of the consequences of individual actions, quest for knowledge and absolute involvement and commitment to the principle. This research is significant in that it compared the perception of the building professionals/developers of sustainability in building construction industry in Nigeria and Malaysia. Structured questionnaire was used to elicit information from the professionals in the built industry on the awareness level of sustainability concept and its practicability in the construction industry. The study revealed that in a developing country like Nigeria, there is a low awareness level. The situation in Malaysia as at 2009 is that there was a moderate awareness level of sustainable construction. This was evident in a similar study carried out by Nazirah Zanul Abidin in 2009 and published in a journal of World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology. Another area of enquiry was the social, economic and environmental features that constitute the triple bottom line of sustainability. The response evidenced that building professionals define sustainability more in terms of effective protection of the environment other than inclusion of both economic and social features. The professionals in the building industry, developers, Investors, property occupiers, Government and Non-Government Organizations have been identified as major stakeholders, drivers and promoters towards boosting and strategizing for a sustainable built environment. The study recommended that to improve the understanding and awareness of sustainability concept, a lot has to be done in the area of educating the construction players through conferences, seminars, training, and workshops. A virile consultation and collaboration between the academicians and the practitioners is also canvassed. Similar responses and recommendations were also observed in Malaysia study earlier carried out.

Keywords: sustainability, sustainable construction, developers, Nigerian construction industry.

INTRODUCTION

Public awareness in recent times of natural resources and its compelling and conflicting use has fuelled the sustainable development as an important concept in the decision making process even beyond the construction industry. It has been gaining increasing popularity across various sectors since the Brundtland Commission Report in 1987. However, despite an overall increase in consciousness and efforts to pursue sustainability, the general scenario appears to be one of increasing commitment by a small group of supporters, rather than the emergence of a renovated mass culture. One of the reasons for this difficulty is that the philosophical underpinnings of sustainability may not be well understood by the population (Onwueme and Borsari, 2007)

Buildings and built environment as one of the bye- products of the construction industry provides us with so much comfort and shelter in our homes, workplaces, place of leisure and places of learning and explanation. The built environment provides a synthesis of environmental, economic and social issues. It provides shelter for the individual, physical infrastructure for communities and is a significant part of the economy. Its design sets the pattern for resource consumption over its relatively long lifetime (Prasad and Hall, 2004, p. 8). They at the same time constitute a negative impact on the natural environment throughout their entire life cycle: from the design through the obsolescent stage and the eventual demolition of the final product. When sustainable practices are put into place, it is evident that constructed buildings are healthier for the environment and healthier for people. As concerns on the condition for our natural environment increases, concept of sustainable practices has continued to gain more attention in virtually all sectors of human endeavour.

Thus, many world events have initiated and prompted some ideas and strategies that sent positive actions and plans to numerous countries to absorb and implement sustainability within their industries. …

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