Sustainable development has been a concern for many industries, including construction, since 1972. Sustainability is becoming direr in recent years, with increasing economic, social, and environmental challenges.
Fortunately, the introduction of the 2030 Agenda presented a plan of action for how leaders, stakeholders, and the common folk can contribute to addressing various world problems.
The agenda gave light to the most pressing global issues in the form of 17 sustainable development goals. All revolves around the key principles of sustainability: economic progress, social inclusion, and environmental protection.
With less than a decade left, the United Nations calls for greater sustainability efforts by key players. This includes the most resource-driven industry—construction.
Construction in Sustainable Development
Although buildings, facilities, and infrastructures are signs of a nation’s economic growth. The construction industry needs to improve on supporting developments sustainably.
Construction projects are responsible for the consumption of half of non-renewable resources. According to Euro Cities, the industry also accounts for 40% of energy consumption, 36% of CO2 emissions, and 33% of waste and water use.
The numbers alone establish the role of construction as the industry with the biggest impact on sustainable development.
As the leading resource consumer, the construction industry must make interventions to improve efficiency in operations, from reducing waste to conserving non-renewable materials. The solution lies in systematic and ecologically conscious construction management.
Sustainable Practices in Construction Management
Sustainable construction management seeks to perform projects in a way that aligns with the principles of sustainable development. This means that it promotes long-term economic growth, social inclusion, and environmental protection and considers them in every aspect of the job.
Construction managers can support the 2030 Agenda by adopting the following sustainable practices in construction management:
· Optimizing Resources
Construction projects require different resources, including energy, water, and building materials. Managers can effectively make projects sustainable by optimizing resource use. This includes allocating just the right number of materials needed for each project and limiting equipment operation.
· Preventing Reworks
Mistakes can be extremely costly in construction. More than the risk of going over budget, construction errors can result in higher consumption of resources when performing repairs or reconstructions.
Project managers can prevent reworks by setting clear goals and deliverables within the project team. They can also use construction estimating software to ensure the accuracy of estimations and takeoffs and keep a close eye on the entire construction process.
· Adopting Greener Alternatives
Through the years, researchers have uncovered sustainable solutions in construction. It is up to managers to explore and advocate for greener alternatives in their projects to promote sustainable development.
For instance, green buildings have become popular for sustainable construction projects. These structures are designed to reduce resource consumption using innovations like solar panels, efficient irrigation systems, and green roofs.
Construction managers should learn about effective green projects and strategies that can help limit the use of natural resources. These projects will result in environmental-friendly benefits and provide value to clients by decreasing the cost of operations and maintenance.
· Reducing Paper Documentation
Typically, construction projects use a ton of paper, from printed receipts to blueprints designed and various office work. Over half of the paper used is wasted, contributing to environmental challenges and unnecessary company expenses.
Paper documentation is an outdated practice that is bad for the environment and inefficient for business. Construction companies should adopt digital solutions to reduce paper use, like installing document management software.
Digital documentation is more beneficial than traditional means for its security and accessibility.
Construction software uses cloud storage, which safely stores company data digitally. This is better than paper documentation because it reduces the risks of losing or misplacing paper documents.
It also makes accessing important files more convenient. Authorized personnel can easily upload or access files through cloud storage whenever needed. This simplifies the decision-making and communication process within departments and stakeholders.
· Exploring Renewable Materials
Some projects can use unconventional resources to replace construction materials, such as bamboo, straws, and hempcrete. These are great options for projects that center on sustainability.
As natural resources like trees decrease in numbers, exploring renewable resources for construction help produce more sustainable construction projects that offer the same impact as traditional ones for less environmental costs.
Additionally, researching renewable alternatives can help construction companies decrease expenses since market prices rise for materials like timber and concrete when they lower in availability.
Benefits of Sustainable Construction Management
Aside from its significant impact on sustainable development goals, adopting a sustainability-first approach in construction management can grant companies with the following benefits:
· Fewer Costs, Increased Savings
Steps towards sustainability are also steps towards saving money for the company and the client. Efficiency in the use of materials and equipment can reduce the overall costs of the construction project. At the same time, innovative, green solutions can lower the cost of operating and maintaining a building.
· Enhances Customer Satisfaction
Clients appreciate sustainability, especially in reduced construction and maintenance costs. By offering renewable solutions, companies provide substantial value to their clients. It helps them save money and contribute to the betterment of the environment.
· Improves Company Reputation
Offering sustainable solutions in construction projects can help a company differentiate itself from the competition. As the need for renewable solutions grows, being able to provide innovative and sustainable approaches to construction regards the company as a leader in the industry.
· Prolongs Assets’ Life Span
Since one of the practices in sustainable construction includes limiting equipment use, the lifespan of assets, like trucks, bulldozers, and cranes, will be prolonged. Only allowing the operation of assets when necessary for the job makes them less likely to need repairs and maintenance.
· Provides Benefits to Occupants
Sustainability provides long-term benefits to the occupants of a building or users of infrastructures. They will likely require less effort to operate when constructed sustainably and provide extra value through innovations such as natural heating or cooling systems.
Moreover, the money saved by the organization can be used for maintenance or the construction of more green projects.
· Greater Global Impact
Sustainable construction gives companies the opportunity to make a greater global impact beyond constructing buildings and infrastructure. It further promotes sustainability and progress with minimal consequences.
Manage Construction Projects Efficiently and Sustainably
With the growing need for sustainable development, construction companies have a duty to uphold their part in achieving sustainability. It is more important now than ever that the construction industry creates interventions to make daily operations support economic growth, social inclusion, and environmental protection.
Leading construction companies can achieve sustainability by adopting an efficient, systematic, and ecologically conscious project management style. This will not only substantially benefit construction businesses but also impact the world’s sustainability crisis.
Take the first step towards sustainability with Bizprac construction software. Reliable construction software allows you to forgo paper documentation and ensure the right number of materials to use in each project.
Consider Bizprac’s digital construction solutions. With thousands of satisfied Australian customers, we have provided builders with digital tools to achieve simplified and sustainable construction management. Request a free trial today at Bizprac.