Talking clients into sustainability

Emmanuel Aboagye-Nimo, Poorang Piroozfar, Euan Carmichael

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


The need for sustainable practices has gained an unprecedented momentum in the construction sector in the past couple of decades. Understandably, sustainable practices can only be successful when key stakeholders (e.g., client, designer, main contractor, subcontractors, etc) are in support of achieving them as common goals and/or shared values. Construction projects are typically known for their complexity, and this makes collaboration and consent challenging. A common goal of improving sustainable practices can be embedded in all aspects of projects ranging from conception to completion and in operation phase through to refurbishment and deconstruction or re/upcycling. Clients often have limited knowledge of sustainability especially when it comes to construction processes. It is common practice for clients to employ consultants to guide them through the various phases of projects. This paper explores the various approaches that consultants adopt when ‘encouraging’ clients to buy into sustainable designs for large projects. The research examines the practices of construction projects teams and consultants as they work closely with clients to successfully implement sustainable options. Semi-structured interviews were collected from six (6) industry professionals ranging from Project Managers to Quantity Surveyors. All participants played roles with clients and contractors thereby giving the study a broad scope of data source. Themes being explored within the data included cost vs ‘environmentally-conscientious’ options, fundamental decisions for moving towards sustainable principles, and knowledge of long-term benefits of such choices. Furthermore, the study investigates the techniques that consultants and project teams adopt when clients are directly or indirectly against the concept of implementing such practices particularly when they believe them to be non-beneficial due to financial implications. The study sheds much-needed light on best practice methods adopted by firms operating in financially difficult environments, working to ensure green approaches are implemented in the construction sector. It is evident from this research that everyday subcontractors need further assistance through additional measures (e.g., training focusing on sustainability) if a holistic approach to achieving higher standards of sustainability is to be realised. Finally, there is hope that incoming legislation my give the industry a much-needed jolt to further embrace sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2022
EventInternational Sustainable Ecological Engineering Design for Society Conference 2022 - University of the West of England , Bristol, United Kingdom
Duration: 31 Aug 20222 Sept 2022


ConferenceInternational Sustainable Ecological Engineering Design for Society Conference 2022
Abbreviated titleSEEDS 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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