UK Building Procurement System and Sustainability

Lei Zhou, David J Lowe

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


Under the pressure of sustainable construction, research and development into sustainability and procurement is emerging. As the bridge between design and construction, the building procurement system, therefore, is critical to delivering sustainability in practice. It is the key for the successful implementation of sustainability to conventional construction process. However, there is a lack of research between UK building procurement system and sustainability. This paper reviews the concepts of sustainable construction, exploring the internal relationship between sustainability and building procurement system. Furthermore, it examines current building procurement systems in the UK: traditional, design & build, management system and the Private Finance Initiative (PFI), and analyses the relationships between these procurement systems and sustainable construction. Finally, it concludes that the PFI is the best building procurement solution to deliver sustainability within the UK construction process. The PFI provides ‘Value For Money’, which takes into account both whole life costing and quality of the building, opposed the lowest initial cost. The nature of the long-term contract motivates the environmental expenses as positive not negative additional investment. Furthermore, risk is transferred from the public sector to private sector, forcing the contractors to undertake technical innovation and use energy and resource more efficiently.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of The First Scottish Conference for Postgraduate Researchers in the Built & Natural Environment (ProBE)
EditorsCharles Egbu, Michael Tong
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherGlasgow Caledonian University
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)1903661501
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2003
Event1st Scottish Conference For Postgraduate Researchers of The Built and Natural Environment - Glasgow Caledonian!University, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 18 Nov 200319 Nov 2003
Conference number: 1


Conference1st Scottish Conference For Postgraduate Researchers of The Built and Natural Environment
Abbreviated titlePRoBE
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Building procurement system
  • Sustainability
  • PFI
  • UK
  • decision making


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