Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 31108
Improvement of Contractor’s Competitiveness through Sustainable Construction Practices in UAE

Authors: Sareh Rajabi, Taha Anjamrooz, Salwa Bheiry


Sustainability of construction projects is an important issue to be addressed since the sector will continue to be developed in the coming years, especially in developing countries. Thus, it is significant to discover approaches and solutions for improving sustainability. Currently, the construction industry is the largest consumer of natural resources. This is the same in other countries in the Gulf region, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has limited natural resources such as water, electricity, etc. Recently, the UAE has taken several actions in order to implement sustainable initiatives within its construction industry. Within the industry, the contractors’ role is significant in promoting sustainable development by taking the responsibility to minimize their negative impacts on the environment and society, and maximize their economic distribution. In this research, sustainability will be studied as an important key to bring competitive advantages to contracting organizations. The contractors should understand the need to improve their sustainable performance in order to expand their business competitiveness. Competitiveness at the construction project level refers to a contractor’s ability to compete for a project. There is less focus on how to improve contractors’ competitiveness by implementing sustainable construction practices. Based on an inclusive literature review on the relationship between sustainability performance and business competitiveness, this research will conduct a study of sustainable practice in the construction industry and the relationship between sustainability performance and business competitiveness in order to develop a framework for evaluating how contractors can improve their competitiveness in terms of more efficient processes, enhancements in productivity, and lower costs of compliance in order to reduce the initial project cost and obtain market opportunities in the UAE. The research findings will provide a framework that can be a useful guideline for contractors to develop their sustainability policy, strategy and practice for meeting the increased requirements for sustainable development in construction.

Keywords: Sustainability, construction industry, Competitiveness, contractors, sustainable construction practice

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 167


[1] C.J. Kibert, J. Sendzimir and G.B. Guy, Defining an Ecology of Construction. Construction Ecology: Nature as the Basis for Green Buildings, New York: Spon Press, Vol. 7-28, 2000.
[2] C.A Langston, G.K.C. Ding and G.K.C, Sustainable practices in the built environment, 2nd edition, Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford, 2001.
[3] Y. Miyatake, “Technology Development and sustainable Construction”, Journal of Management Engineering, 12(4), 23 – 27, 1996.
[4] World commission on Environment and Development, Our Common Future, University Press, Oxford, P8, 1987.
[5] L. Bourdeau, “Building Research and Information,” 27-(6), 354 – 366, 1999.
[6] R. Rackwitz, A. Lentz and M. Faber, “Socio-economically sustainable civil engineering infrastructures by optimization,” Structural Safety, vol. 2, 187 – 229, 2005.
[7] Crisp, Construction for Sustainable Development – Research and Innovation Needs, Strategy Panel, London, 2000.
[8] S. Parking, “Sustainable Development: the concept and the practical Challenge,” Proceedings of ICE, Civil Engineering, Vol. 138, Pages 3-8, November, 2000.
[9] K. Chaharbaghi, and R. Willis; “Study and practice of sustainable development,” Engineering Management Journal, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 41 – 48, Feb 1999.
[10] A. Mousa, “A Business approach for transformation to sustainable construction: an implementation on a developing country,” Journal of Resources, Conservation and Recycling, Vol. 101, pp. 9 – 19, 2015.
[11] Y. Tan, Shen, L.Y., Yao, H., “Sustainable construction practice and contractors' competitiveness: a preliminary study,” Journal of Habitat International, Val. 35 (2), pp. 225 - 230, 2011.
[12] Sustainable Construction Task Group (SCTG), (2002). “Reputation, Risk and Reward: The Business Case for Sustainability in the UK Property Markets,” available at: (accessed July 2014).
[13] N. Abidin, “Sustainable construction in Malaysia Developer’s awareness,” Journal of world academic of science engineering and technology, 807-813, 2009.
[14] C. Kibert, “Establishing principles and a model for sustainable construction,” In First international conference of CIB TG 16 on sustainable construction, Tampa, Florida, 6 - 9 November.
[15] L. Shen and Z. Zhang, “China’s urbanization challenging sustainable development,” International Journal of Housing Science and Its Application, Vol. 26(3), pp. 181 – 193, 2002.
[16] S. Toms, “Environmental management, environmental accounting and financial performance,” London: CIMA, 2000.
[17] Christini et al., “Environmental Management systems and ISO 14001 certification for Construction Firms,” ASCE Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, Vol. pp.330-336, 2004.
[18] S. Asad and M. Khalfan, “Integration of sustainability issues within construction processes,” Emirates Journal for Engineering Research, Vol. 12(2), pp.11-21, 2007.
[19] A. Kein et al., “ISO 14000: Its relevance to the construction industry of Singapore and its potential as the next industry milestone,” Construction Management and Economics, Vol.17, pp. 449-461, 1999.
[20] WRI Report, “Hot climate, cool commerce: A service sector guide to greenhouse gas management”. World Resources Institute, Washington D.C,” Available at:, 2006.
[21] Gasper R et al., “Social and economic impacts of climate change on the urban environment.” Current opinion in Environmental sustainability, Vol. 3, pp. 150-157, 2011.
[22] White House Initiative on Global Climate Change, The Greenhouse Effect and Historical Emissions, Available:, Retrieved on 2011.
[23] Roger Flanagan, Weisheng Lu, Liyin Shen, and Carol Arol Jewell, “Competitiveness in construction: a critical review of research,” Construction Management and Economics, Vol. 25, pp. 989 - 1000, 2007.
[24] Weisheng Lu, Liyin Shen, M.ASCE, and Michael C. H. Yam, M.ASCE, “Critical Success Factors for Competitiveness of Contractors: China Study,” Journal Of Construction Engineering and Management, 134(12): 972-982, 2014.
[25] Francisco A. Orozco, Alfredo F. Serpell, Keith R. Molenaar, M.ASCE, and Eric Forcael, “Modeling Competitiveness Factors and Indexes for Construction Companies: Findings of Chile,” Construction Engineering Management, 140(4): B4013002, 2014.
[26] F. Lopez and F. Brands, “Defining firm’s competitive sustainability: from fuzzy conceptions to a primer definition and a research agenda,” 16th Annual international sustainable development research conference, pp. 1-29, 2010.
[27] M. Porter, C. Van der Linde, “Green and competitive: ending the stalemate. Journal of Harv. Bus.,” Vol. 73 (5), pp. 120 – 134, 1995.
[28] H. Robinson, C. Anumba, P. Carrillo, and A. Al-Ghassani, “STEPS: a knowledge management maturity roadmap for corporate sustainability. Journal of Bus. Process Manag.,” Vol. 12 (6), pp. 793 – 808, 2006.
[29] I. Adetunji, A. Price, P. Fleming, and P. Kemp, “Sustainability and the UK construction industry,” a review. Proc. ICE-Eng. Sustain., Vol. 156 (4), pp. 185 – 199, 2003.
[30] H. Fergusson, Langford, D.A., “Strategies for managing environmental issues in construction organizations,” Eng. Constr. Archit. Manag., Vol. 13 (2), pp. 171 – 185, 2006.
[31] S. Schaltegger, and T. Synnestvedt, “The link between ‘green’ and economic success: environmental management as the crucial trigger between environmental and economic performance,” Journal of Environmental Management, Vol. 65 (2), pp. 339 – 346, 2002.
[32] Lee, K.H., and R. Ball, “Achieving sustainable corporate competitiveness: strategic link between top management’s (green) commitment and corporate environmental strategy,” Greener Management International, Vol. 44, pp. 89 – 104, 2003.
[33] G. Trufil and K. Hunter, “Development of a sustainability framework to promote business competitiveness in construction SMEs. In Proceedings of the CIB W092 symposium on Sustainability and value through construction procurement”, Salford, 2006.