A typical building construction process runs through three main consecutive phases: design, construction and operation. Currently, architects and engineers both engage in the creation of environmental designs that adequately reflect high performance through sustainability and energy efficiency in new buildings. Occupants of buildings have also recently demonstrated a dramatic increase in awareness regarding building operation, energy usage, and indoor air quality. The process of building construction is chronologically located between both the design and the operation phases. However, this phase has not yet been addressed in either understanding contractor behavior or developing innovative sustainable techniques. These two vital aspects have the potential to levy a dramatic impact on enhancing building performance and operational costs.
Repeatedly causing apprehension to the construction industry is a question that posits, “Why is there a gap/delta/inconsistency between the designed EUI, Energy Use Intensity, and the operational EUI”? Building occupants shall not be the only party that bears blame for the delta in energy. It is true, nonetheless, that occupants are part of the reason, but the contractor – as well as the entire construction phase - also remain prime suspects worth investigating. In the present time, research is predominantly focused on occupants (post-occupancy) and designers to educate and control the gap between designed and operational EUI. This research has succeeded in the identification of the construction phase, in conjunction with contractor behaviour, as another main factor for initiating this energy gap. Therefore, not only is the coupling of sustainable strategies to the construction drivers crucial to attaining a sustainable project, but also it is integral to analyzing contractor behavior within each of the construction phases that play a vital role in successfully serving sustainability. Various techniques and approaches will assist contractors in amending their method statements to ensure a sustainable project.
This research correlates an existing project to the two proposed sustainable concepts: 1) Identify cost-saving strategies that may have been implemented or avoided during the construction process, and 2) Evaluate the impacts of implementing these strategies on overall performance. The adopted contexts are to partially foster sustainable architecture concepts to the Contractor process, and then proceed to analyze its cost implication on overall project performance. Results of the validation of this approach verify that when contractors embrace a sustainable construction process the overall project will yield various financial savings. A mixed-use project was utilized to validate these concepts, which indicated three outcomes: firstly, a 25% decrease in manpower for tiling while maintaining the same productivity, thus reflecting a saving of $3,500; next, increasing the productivity of concrete activity, which would shorten the duration of the construction by 45 days and reflect a saving of $1.5 million, and last of all, reducing the overhead costs of labor camps by efficiently orienting temporary shelters, which reveals a reduction in cooling and heating that returned a saving of approximately $10,000. This research develops a comprehensive evidence-based study that addresses the above-mentioned gap in the construction phase, which targets to yield a multi-dimensional tool that will allow: 1) integrating critical thinking and decision-making approaches regarding contractor behavior, and 2) adopting innovative sustainable construction methods that reflect reduction in operating costs.