Fostering an environmentally responsive industry - a public sector case study from Hong Kong

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Abstract

Well meaning high-level construction industry reviews, and recommendations from those reviews, usually lead to many industry development initiatives. Promoting a safer work place and environmentally responsible industry was one of the seven themes under which recommendations were made in Construction Industry Review Committee (CIRC) Report of 2001 of Hong Kong. These were followed with many related initiatives for industry development by industry stakeholders. The findings reported here are part (limited in focus to environmental responsiveness of construction industry) of a wider research project titled ‘Construction Industry Development Comparison and Acceleration’ (CIDCA) designed to track implementation programmes against the original objectives in the CIRC report and some changing priorities thereafter, actual achievements, drivers, enablers and barriers, residual issues and concerns; in comparison with UK and Singapore scenarios in interlocking studies. The original CIRC recommendations laid the responsibility of promoting an environmentally responsible industry on public sector agencies with an assumption that the private sector would follow suit. In this regard, a case study of a proactive public sector client was conducted. The data from the case study was supplemented with interviews with key personnel from other stakeholder organisations. The findings reported here identify environmentally responsive initiatives from the case study and isolate high impact initiatives among them. Their implementation is tracked and their impact on the rest of the industry is analysed. Also, key challenges and enablers/ barriers are identified in terms of achieving (i) desired results within the organisation and (ii) desired impact on the industry. Lessons learnt are then discussed with an emphasis on transforming innovative initiatives into acceptable industry norms. The reported findings though specific to the Hong Kong Construction Industry should provide pointers on implementing public sector led initiatives for other countries

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