Enhancing Sustainability Practices in Canadian Construction Industry: A Case for an Academic Program in Sustainability
8 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2014
Date Written: September 6, 2014
Sustainability in all aspects of our life is certainly an emerging trend. All industries including Construction Industry are taking active initiatives to support sustainability practices. Construction always has been a major player in Canada's economy. In the global economy, construction occupies a still larger position. Around the world this industry accounts for $8 trillion a year of economic activity or about 15% of the world’s GDP. Moreover, this amount is projected to grow to $12 trillion by 2020. During this time period, Canada is expected to move from seventh to fifth place in terms of the world’s largest construction market. This emphasizes the need for aptly trained professional in all domains of sustainability.
Sustainable development issues and environmental concerns are becoming popular with Canada’s construction industry’s ever increasing activities. Contemporary construction practices adhere to traditional methods of construction; negative environmental impact during and after construction phase is certainly an area of interest for construction professionals. Technological advancements in the engineering and construction industry is contributing to achieving sustainable construction practices, however industry has been complaining regarding lack of training/education to produce construction professionals with sustainability competencies. There is a growing need for construction professionals with sustainability skillsets, which are crucial for enhancing sustainability practices, especially given the growing complexity of construction projects and construction-related environmental law. Academic institutions have a responsibility to address this emerging need of the industry to support national economy. The competence of an academic program in the core area of sustainable built environment is in imparting to its students the necessary expertise to practice professionally for promoting and enhancing sustainability practices at every level of the industry. The study identifies the need for an academic program in sustainability in Alberta, Canada. To achieve the study objectives, an extensive review of existing training programs in the domain of sustainability is carried out. The study also identifies emerging trends in sustainability practices in the industry. This forms the basis for a proposed academic program for training professionals to address emerging needs of the industry in the sustainability domain.
The study suggests that a baccalaureate level program in sustainability will help training our students better to address the needs of sustainability professionals in the local and global built environment industries that await them. There is a dire need for the proposed educational program that should address the required skillset to produce career ready professionals for sustainable practices in construction industry. The study findings would be of interest to sustainability experts, construction professionals, and faculty involved with sustainable built environment education.
Keywords: Built Environment, Construction Practices, Education, Pedagogy, Sustainability.
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