Pre-construction evaluation practices of sustainable housing projects in the UK

Ranya Essa, Chris Fortune

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    18 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose - Considering sustainability during the cost estimating process is vital for the successful integration of sustainable features within a construction project. The UK Government has adopted the principles of sustainable development, and social housing projects now have to achieve the EcoHomes "very good" rating as a prerequisite to Government grant funding. This policy has important implications for all those organisations involved in new social housing building projects and it will place sustainability and its assessments at the heart of housing procurement practice. The purpose of this paper is to examine the pre-construction evaluation practices of sustainable housing projects in the UK. Design/methodology/approach - A survey was undertaken to capture data regarding the importance and the cost significance of sustainable factors from a randomised sample of 600 quantity surveying, housing associations, and architectural organisations based in the UK. An initial and follow-up administration of the postal survey generated an overall response of 41.5 per cent. Relative rankings for EcoHomes factors according to their perceived importance and their cost impact on the price of housing projects are established, and the work identifies the factors that should be considered in order to develop a model that links the project price forecasting and the evaluation of sustainability together at the feasibility stage of social housing projects. Findings - EcoHomes factors were ranked in this survey according to their importance as follows: "energy", "materials", "pollution", "water", "health and well being", "ecology and land use", and finally "transport". These results revealed that the environmental aspects of sustainability continue to be the most common aspect of sustainability to be considered, as compared to the economic or social benefits of the potential project irrespective of organisational type responding to the survey. As a result the work identified a need to develop an aid for practitioners to use when involved in the early stage evaluation of sustainable social housing projects. Originality/value - This paper provides useful information on the pre-construction evaluation practices of sustainable housing projects in the UK. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)514-526
    Number of pages13
    JournalEngineering Construction and Architectural Management
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


    • Ecology
    • Forecasting
    • Housing
    • Prices
    • Sustainable development
    • United Kingdom


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