The Importance of Sustainability in Construction Management
With the ever-growing concerns about climate change and the depletion of natural resources, sustainability has become a hot topic in recent years. The UN defines sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” In other words, it’s about finding ways to protect and preserve our environment for future generations.
As the world becomes more aware of the importance of sustainability, many industries are starting to make changes in order to be more environmentally friendly – including the construction sector.
Overview of the Australian Building and Construction Sector
The Australian building sector is extremely important for the national economy, but simultaneously contributes to a huge amount of carbon footprint. With the global construction industry contributing approximately 38% of greenhouse gas emissions, Australia is up there with one of the highest emitting countries (per capita).
With the highest CO2 levels recorded currently, it’s important to turn a focus onto the state of our environment. These levels of CO2 pollute our air, water, and soil, and in turn greatly impact our natural habitats and food supplies.
Furthermore, the global construction sector uses roughly 15% of the world’s freshwater resources, meaning that without the industry’s focus on sustainability, we would be facing some serious water shortages in the future.
Thankfully, we’ve come a long way in terms of sustainable construction options – especially within Australia.
What is Sustainable Construction?
The term ‘sustainable construction’ encompasses a wide variety of concepts and approaches, but at its core, is the practice of creating buildings and infrastructure that minimise environmental impact throughout their entire lifecycle.
This means using materials that are environmentally friendly and have low embodied energy (the amount of energy required to produce a material), minimising waste, using water efficiently, and creating buildings that are comfortable to live and work in without excessive reliance on artificial heating and cooling.
Within sustainable construction, there are two key elements by which companies benefit: financially and ecologically.
Financial Benefits of Sustainable Construction
There are a number of financial benefits that arise from incorporating sustainability in construction projects. These include:
- Lower construction costs
- Increased sales due to a consumer drive for sustainability
- Lower operating costs
- Higher property value
With corporate social responsibility (CSR) now considered a must, rather than a bonus, many consumers are using sustainability as a guiding factor when making purchasing decisions – both for products and services. Sustainability is therefore becoming an increasingly important aspect of any business, including construction companies. In fact, Neilsen data reveals that 81% of global respondents felt strongly about companies doing their part for environmental sustainability.
A common resistance to incorporating sustainable building practices are the high initial costs. Implementing change in any workflow can be costly, and sustainable practices generally have a higher overhead than cheaper, environmentally-harmful practices. Additionally, the lack of incentives and government guidance can make it difficult to justify these changes.
However, sustainable building materials can, in some cases, work out cheaper than conventional materials – and offer long-term savings, including reduced labour costs. Such materials include:
- Structural insulated panels
- Recycled metals
- Green thermal insulation
- Bamboo and cork
- Engineered wood
Utilising materials such as the above can offer a cheaper alternative than traditional materials, while being additionally advantageous by tending to be more efficient. For example, using recycled materials can help to cut down on the need for new raw materials, and using energy-efficient lighting can reduce energy costs.
Ecological Benefits of Sustainable Construction
One of the most important benefits of sustainable construction is that it can help to protect the environment. From small, day-to-day changes to large-scale projects, sustainable construction practices can help to reduce the impact of construction on the environment.
Sustainable construction practices can also help to create buildings that are more resilient to environmental changes, such as floods or storms. By using sustainable materials and methods, buildings can be designed to better withstand the effects of extreme weather events.
The most important ecological benefits are reduced waste, reduced carbon emissions and reduced use of natural resources. According to the GBCA, certified green star buildings in Australia produce 62% fewer carbon emissions than average buildings, which results in significant water and electricity savings.
Sustainability in Construction with iTWO cx
RIB Software is and has always been committed to driving innovation and sustainability within the construction industry. Thankfully, the utility of iTWO cx allows construction project managers to incorporate sustainable practices within the project development phase on a daily basis – through digital reporting, analysis and communication.
iTWO cx expertly incorporates the three pillars of sustainability within its software – each of which have a substantial impact on the way the software is used to manage construction projects:
iTWO cx allows users to add instant updates, which results in lowered costs due to quick turnaround and real-time communication, both virtually and on-site.This not only helps project managers facilitate operations within a timely manner but also helps collating different expenses within a single system for easy trackability and access. This in turn provides more evidence-based and informed decision making to happen.
The main focal point of iTWO cx is the power it provides its users on the lines of the environmental impact their project is striving to achieve. The developed cloud-based software alleviates the need for physical, paper copies of files, drawings and documents and encourages teams to share digital files instead. This, eventually lowers a business’s carbon footprint, by creating less dependency on physical documents and its storage requirements for future records.
Additionally, the real time exchange of such information mitigates the requirement for engineers and surveyors to travel to the sites to assess the progress, problems and project deliverables allowing further reduction in carbon footprint. It has been seen post pandemic that teams have become more mobile and with the hybrid workplace many project teams are spread across different regions.
iTWO cx focuses heavily on incorporating the best data communication technology into its software. This is reflected by the transparent and industry specific information exchange. Allowing multiple parties to collaborate across a spectrum of project workflows provides mitigation of potential risks, by giving the users the ability to take corrective actions or measures within their project scopes. This eventually gives them the capability to deliver projects that far exceed the set project KPIs.
At iTWO cx, our software is constantly being updated to support the latest in green construction practices, so that our users can be at the forefront of sustainability in construction. Maintaining sustainable practices in construction is a key element to achieving long-term benefits, and iTWO cx is committed to providing software that performs, not only now but far into the future.
If you’re searching for a construction management software that can help your business maintain sustainable practices, look no further than iTWO cx. Our software is designed to help you meet KPIs and exceed project expectations. Contact us today for a consultation to learn more about how we can help your business succeed.