Progress and Problems in Nurturing Sustainability Performance of Contractors in the Hong Kong Construction Industry
Evia O.W. WONG, Tony T.M. TANG and Thomas K.T. WONG, HKU School of Professional and Continuing Education, Hong Kong
The concept of sustainable construction calls for a holistic view of the design, planning and construction process in the building life cycle and the incorporation of sustainability into the construction practices of contractors is one of imperative approaches to help improve the overall sustainability performance of the construction industry.

In Hong Kong, contractors demonstrated varying degrees of improvements in sustainability performance over the past few years. Encouragingly, the HKSAR Government and many large construction organizations are playing as the role models in adopting ecologically sound construction practice through investing time and money in sustainability development. However the underlying issue is that in the environment of economic downturn, most contractors are forced to concentrate more on survival rather than on social responsibility despite the economy is now showing signs of recovery.

For the purposes of undertaking an analytical approach to exploring the problems in nurturing sustainability performance, the existing state, pressure and response of contractors in the context of sustainability were identified through a survey sent to 233 construction firms under the list of general building contractors of the Builder Directory 2003-2004 and on a database searched from the internet. On the whole, the industry experiences some critical problems to see the progress of sustainability being further accelerated. First, there has been a lack of concept of sustainable construction by the senior management of organisations. Second, some sustainability practices such as the sorting of construction and demolition wastes and using recycled materials are still in their infancy. Finally, the sustainability and cost paradox seems to be the leading reason to explain why the attributes of the industry stakeholders including clients and contractors have not fundamentally changed.

Key words: sustainable construction, construction and demolition wastes, recycled materials

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