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Special Issue "Innovations in Construction Industry towards Sustainable Future: Implementation, Assessment and Opportunities"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Green Building".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 December 2023 | Viewed by 9001

Special Issue Editors

College of Engineering & Science, Victoria University, Melbourne 3011, Australia
Interests: life cycle assesmsent; sustainable construction; life cycle cost analysis; green and sustainable materials; green and lean construction methods; green buildings and infrastructure; building information modelling; smart technologies use and digitization in construction; modern construction methods
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
College of Engineering and Science, Institute of Sustainable and Livable Cities, Victoria University, Melbourne, VIC3011, Australia
Interests: sustainability of structures; sustainable materials; green buildings and infrastructure; use of waste in construction materials; digitalization in construction; structural stability; structural mechanics; biomimicry
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Construction is one of the major industries that contribute to economic development generating significant revenues and producing significant gross domestic product (GDP) for a country. However, it differs from many industries due to its unique operation and is often criticized for heavy resource consumption and unsustainable practices. Therefore, consistent improvements and innovations are necessary to effectively promote sustainable development in the construction industry. Over the past two decades, industries and academia have instigated numerous innovative approaches to benchmark sustainable practices within the construction industry. Despite numerous strategies and processes, the industry is still struggling to effectively embrace innovations necessary to facilitate a sustainable future. Therefore, the proposed Special Issue aims to investigate drivers, impediments, opportunities, and implementation that can facilitate innovations towards a truly sustainable construction industry.

We are pleased to invite you to submit your outstanding research including reviews, designs and technical papers on the construction industry innovations contributing to a sustainable future. This Special Issue invites submissions that include, but are not limited to, the following research areas:

  • Recent advances and innovations in sustainable procurement practices in the construction industry
  • Digital and smart technology innovations in the design and construction operation of assets
  • Barriers inhibiting the implementation of innovative sustainable construction technologies
  • Innovations in training and education related to sustainability in construction
  • Innovations in sustainable decision making
  • Roles of risk, governance and policy advancements toward sustainable design and construction
  • Health, safety and wellbeing improvements in sustainable design and construction
  • Economic implications related to sustainable innovations in the construction industry
  • Construction industry advances and innovations related to the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs)
  • Use of innovative building and construction materials to improve sustainability
  • Innovative assessment methods to capture, compare and benchmark sustainable benefits in construction projects
  • Effect of sustainable decision-making on social benefits and procurement
  • Case studies on the sustainable innovations in the construction industry
  • Drivers, future perspectives and advancements associated with innovations in sustainable design and construction

Dr. Malindu Sandanayake
Dr. Zora Vrcelj
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • construction industry
  • sustainable procurement
  • sustainable construction materials
  • sustainable planning and design
  • sustainable construction management
  • health and safety
  • economic and environmental benefits
  • smart and digital technologies
  • sustainable decision making
  • innovations
  • governance and policies

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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21 pages, 609 KiB  
Article
Addressing Barriers to Social Procurement Implementation in the Construction and Transportation Industries: An Ecosystem Perspective
Sustainability 2023, 15(14), 11347; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151411347 - 21 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1077
Abstract
Although social procurement is viewed as an important part of social value creation, barriers to its implementation have resulted in a failure to realise the full societal benefits it was designed to achieve. As a key area of activity for government procurement projects, [...] Read more.
Although social procurement is viewed as an important part of social value creation, barriers to its implementation have resulted in a failure to realise the full societal benefits it was designed to achieve. As a key area of activity for government procurement projects, the construction and transportation industries have a big role to play in contributing positively to societal outcomes. While prior studies have identified barriers from specific cohorts, no prior study has approached this from the perspective of the key stakeholders throughout the social procurement ecosystem within the construction and transport industries. To address this gap in social procurement research, interviews and a focus group totalling 42 participants were undertaken. Participants ranged from those implementing policy (government representatives), tendering for contracts (tier one companies) and providing specialised social procurement services (social enterprises), along with key intermediary support bodies. Results indicate that barriers exist throughout the entire social procurement ecosystem and highlight the need to develop an enhanced social procurement ecosystem capable of maximising the societal benefit that arises from social procurement. These findings provide a set of strategies for the key stakeholders in the ecosystem to consider adopting to improve social procurement outcomes. Full article
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25 pages, 4412 KiB  
Article
Research on Data-Driven Dynamic Decision-Making Mechanism of Mega Infrastructure Project Construction
Sustainability 2023, 15(12), 9219; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15129219 - 07 Jun 2023
Viewed by 829
Abstract
The construction of mega infrastructure projects has the characteristics of repeatability, long duration, and high complexity. Therefore, it is particularly important to implement dynamic decision-making in projects. This study takes data-driven decision-making mechanisms as the entry point and constructs a dynamic decision-making system [...] Read more.
The construction of mega infrastructure projects has the characteristics of repeatability, long duration, and high complexity. Therefore, it is particularly important to implement dynamic decision-making in projects. This study takes data-driven decision-making mechanisms as the entry point and constructs a dynamic decision-making system for mega infrastructure projects consisting of an information collection subsystem, an information processing and transformation subsystem, a human–computer collaborative decision-making subsystem and an evaluation and feedback subsystem. On this basis, we established a system dynamics model of dynamic decision-making for mega infrastructure projects. Vensim PLE 9.3.5 software was used to simulate and analyze the operation law of dynamic decision-making for mega infrastructure projects from a data-driven perspective, and the sensitivity of the application rate of information management technology, the application rate of data analysis methods, the participation rate of experts in decision-making, the historical case information on this project, and the information on similar projects on the effectiveness of program implementation were simulated and analyzed. The results of the study showed that all five key influencing factors have a positive impact on the effectiveness of program implementation. In addition, the application rate of information management technology and the application rate of information analysis methods have a higher sensitivity to the effectiveness of program implementation, the participation rate of experts in decision-making and historical case information on this project have average sensitivity to the effectiveness of program implementation, and information on similar projects has lower sensitivity to the effectiveness of program implementation. This study provides some ideas and suggestions to promote the effective use of information technology and digital technology by each participant in the construction of mega infrastructure projects while improving their dynamic decision-making efficiency, scientificity, and accuracy. Full article
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20 pages, 4933 KiB  
Article
Life Cycle Assessment for Geopolymer Concrete Bricks Using Brown Coal Fly Ash
Sustainability 2023, 15(9), 7718; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15097718 - 08 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1656
Abstract
Traditionally, the construction industry has predominantly used Portland cement (PC) to manufacture bricks, as it is one of the most-commonly available building materials. However, the employment of waste industrial material for brick production can lead to a significant improvement in terms of sustainability [...] Read more.
Traditionally, the construction industry has predominantly used Portland cement (PC) to manufacture bricks, as it is one of the most-commonly available building materials. However, the employment of waste industrial material for brick production can lead to a significant improvement in terms of sustainability within the construction sector. Geopolymer bricks made from brown coal fly ash, a promising industrial waste by-product, serve as a potential alternative. Conducting a life cycle assessment (LCA), this study thoroughly evaluated the entire manufacturing process’s environmental impact, from source material acquisition and transportation to brick manufacturing, distribution, usage, and end-of-life, for brown coal bricks as compared to PC bricks. The LCA of the brown coal bricks revealed that their primary environmental impacts stemmed from the raw material manufacturing and usage, while exhibiting substantial reductions in ozone depletion, water depletion, and metal depletion. These findings highlighted the environmental advantages of the brown coal bricks and their potential to revolutionize sustainable construction practices. Full article
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Review

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19 pages, 1010 KiB  
Review
Social Life-Cycle Assessment in the Construction Industry: A Review of Characteristics, Limitations, and Challenges of S-LCA through Case Studies
Sustainability 2023, 15(19), 14569; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151914569 - 08 Oct 2023
Viewed by 677
Abstract
The paper aims to examine how researchers have operationalized social impact assessment in construction projects over the last ten years. A systematic review was used to investigate case studies in the Social Life-Cycle Assessment (S-LCA) to analyze the application of the methodology. In [...] Read more.
The paper aims to examine how researchers have operationalized social impact assessment in construction projects over the last ten years. A systematic review was used to investigate case studies in the Social Life-Cycle Assessment (S-LCA) to analyze the application of the methodology. In total, 19 articles published between 2012 and 2023 were classified according to their scope, functional unit measure, S-LCA indicators used, and the main challenges. Our findings revealed limitations in both qualitative and quantitative aspects of measuring social indicators, primarily stemming from difficulties associated with scoring and assessment methodologies. Additionally, we observed deficiencies in social data within the S-LCA framework. This suggests that potential social impacts may be inadequately addressed and evaluated due to various challenges that have been highlighted in the existing literature. Full article
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26 pages, 4753 KiB  
Review
A Review on the Way Forward in Construction through Industrial Revolution 5.0
Sustainability 2023, 15(18), 13862; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151813862 - 18 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1136
Abstract
The growing concept of Industry 5.0 (IR 5.0) has enhanced the study horizon of the technology-centered Industry 4.0 (IR 4.0) to an intelligent and balanced socioeconomic change powered mutually by people and technologies. The role of humans in the technological revolution is largely [...] Read more.
The growing concept of Industry 5.0 (IR 5.0) has enhanced the study horizon of the technology-centered Industry 4.0 (IR 4.0) to an intelligent and balanced socioeconomic change powered mutually by people and technologies. The role of humans in the technological revolution is largely focused on IR 5.0, which is already a future trend. IR 4.0’s cyber–physical systems revolution has evolved into IR 5.0, or in other words, from machine-to-machine integration to human-to-machine integration, which is radically altering how people live, work, and interact with one another. Therefore, the current study aims to comprehensively review transformation through industrial revolutions and provide a way forward in the construction industry with the incorporation of IR 5.0. This study has used a narrative-based research methodology in which multiple databases such as Scopus, Web of Sciences, Google Scholar, and Science Direct have been utilized for extracting articles related to the subject area of the current study. Moreover, through narrative-based methodology, which is a generic-based review technique, the information gathered from multiple sources has been summarized and synthesized. The findings of the review indicate that resilience, human-centricity, economic efficiency, and sustainable development are the key characteristics of IR 5.0. Moreover, the adoption of IR 5.0 in the construction industry also faces some major challenges such as a shortage of IR 5.0-related technical skills, investment-hesitancy among investors, security, and cultural concerns for human-to-machine integration, and an unavailability of data for effective decision-making for governments and stakeholders. The study results also highlight that with selective technology adoption, project teams embracing IR 5.0 for improved collaboration and coordination, more environmentally friendly technology adoption through human-to-machine collaboration, and stakeholders leveraging the power of human knowledge and innovative proficiency through machines, reforms can be brought into the construction industry through the incorporation of IR 5.0. It is also important to keep in mind that adopting IR 4.0 is still difficult in some areas and it may seem like achieving IR 5.0 will require years of effort and significant cultural change; however, it needs to be considered right away. The effects of disruptive technologies on Industry 4.0 are covered in several studies; however, IR 5.0 is a novel idea that is still in its early stages, thus its consequences have not been well examined in the construction industry. Therefore, the current study has expanded the body of knowledge on this important subject in detail and has comprehensively explained the transformation by providing a way forward for the adoption of IR 5.0 in the construction industry. Full article
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29 pages, 1618 KiB  
Review
A Systematic Literature Review of Research on Social Procurement in the Construction and Infrastructure Sector: Barriers, Enablers, and Strategies
Sustainability 2023, 15(17), 12964; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151712964 - 28 Aug 2023
Viewed by 835
Abstract
In Australia, a new feature of public policy is the requirement by governments that large-scale infrastructure projects integrate social procurement practices that alter the traditional focus on balancing price and quality. Social procurement has been gradually developing in practice, but the academic literature [...] Read more.
In Australia, a new feature of public policy is the requirement by governments that large-scale infrastructure projects integrate social procurement practices that alter the traditional focus on balancing price and quality. Social procurement has been gradually developing in practice, but the academic literature has not kept pace. Although past research has identified some of the barriers affecting social procurement implementation in the construction industry, the nature of the barriers impeding its proliferation has not to date been systematically reviewed. This paper undertakes a review of the social procurement literature published from January 2012 to 30 June 2022, with 49 papers chosen under selective criteria. This critical review employs the “Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses” (PRISMA) technique to retrieve secondary data on social procurement from available peer-reviewed academic papers through three databases (Scopus, EBSCOhost, Web of Science). The literature analysis focuses on three themes: (1) barriers; (2) enablers; and (3) strategies to overcome the barriers. The paper finds that social procurement as a field of practice is evolving and expanding, but its role in contributing to social value creation remains an under-theorised concept. Recommendations for practice and future research are identified, including the need to measure the real-world impacts of policy. Full article
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23 pages, 2179 KiB  
Review
Applications of Solar Panel Waste in Pavement Construction—An Overview
Sustainability 2022, 14(22), 14823; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142214823 - 10 Nov 2022
Viewed by 2130
Abstract
Waste from used solar panels will be a worldwide problem in the near future mainly due to the strong uptake in solar energy and the necessity of disposing solar panel systems at the end–of–life stage, as these materials are hazardous. While new techniques [...] Read more.
Waste from used solar panels will be a worldwide problem in the near future mainly due to the strong uptake in solar energy and the necessity of disposing solar panel systems at the end–of–life stage, as these materials are hazardous. While new techniques and strategies are often investigated to manage the end–of–life of solar panels effectively, there is huge potential in recycling and reusing solar panel waste as components for alternate products. Numerous studies have been conducted on using alternate materials instead of conventional materials in pavement construction. The current study presents a detailed review and a discussion on using solar panel waste materials in pavement construction. The findings present opportunities to use different solar panel waste materials such as glass, aluminium (Al), silicon (Si), and polymer waste as potential replacement materials in various types of pavement construction. The study also presents the current progress and future focus on experimental developments in pavements with solar panel waste to benchmark short–term and long–term characteristics. Finally, the review discusses the impediments that restrict and the drivers that can facilitate the implementation of solar panel waste in pavement construction. The main findings from this review can be used as a quantitative foundation to facilitate decisions on using different solar panel waste materials in pavement construction applications. Furthermore, such findings will also be beneficial for policymakers and industry stakeholders to implement effective supply chain strategies for promoting solar panel waste as a potential pavement construction material. Full article
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