The roles of sustainability assessment systems in delivering sustainable construction

Cheng Siew Goh, Steve Rowlinson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

6 Citations (Scopus)
71 Downloads (Pure)


Sustainable development in construction has increasingly gained momentum over the years due to a growing public concern and enforcement of government policy. A variety of sustainability standards and systems have therefore emerged in the current construction industry to provide a means for assessment, ranging from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM), National Australian Building Environmental Rating System (NABERS) to ISO14001. In Hong Kong, LEED and Building Environmental Assessment Method (BEAM Plus) are the mechanism preferred by practitioners for their sustainable buildings certification. This paper will review and examine the roles of the sustainability performance assessment standards in delivering sustainability in construction. Interviews were conducted to explore various viewpoints on sustainability rating systems from different stakeholders. Apart from serving as a guideline for practitioners, sustainability systems can help to gauge the sustainable performance of individual buildings by using transparent and objectively comprehensible metrics. Nevertheless, there is a lack of focus on the post occupancy evaluation and soft issues in the current sustainability assessment systems. By taking into consideration soft issues and those performance goals in operational management, a more holistic and comprehensive assessment approach can be provided for evaluating sustainable construction performance. The potential of the green building rating systems being abused for marketing purpose can also be reduced with a series of periodic assessments during the operational life cycle. These improved sustainability assessment systems can therefore help to reframe the expectations and the strategies of construction stakeholders in pursuing the true goals of sustainable development in construction.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings 29th Annual Association of Researchers in Construction Management Conference 2013
EditorsS. D. Smith, D. D. Ahiaga-Dagbui
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9780955239076
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Event29th Annual Association of Researchers in Construction Management Conference 2013 - Reading, United Kingdom
Duration: 2 Sept 20134 Sept 2013


Conference29th Annual Association of Researchers in Construction Management Conference 2013
Abbreviated titleARCOM 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Construction
  • Sustainability assessment system
  • Sustainable development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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