Using value management to improve the consideration of sustainability within construction
This research was founded in the perception that value management (VM) can play a vital role in promoting sustainability thinking and issues at critical decision making times in the early stages of the construction project process. As a value enhancement technique, VM should have included many differing issues of sustainability, as they would affect the quality of the outcome. The term sustainability may not be used frequently in VM, but issues such as energy efficient, minimisation of waste, good indoor environment, visual effects, low running cost, user comfort for example, are basic considerations for VM practitioners. The features of VM such as the role of VM participants, knowledge dissemination opportunity, strategic time, effective process and effective tools and techniques, lend VM into considering issues related to sustainability. However, the absence of research-based literature and the superficial discussion in this area by existing published papers indicated that the use of VM to integrate sustainability into construction has not been given much attention by either researchers or the VM community in the UK. The lack of information in this area is unsettling. It leads to the perception that VM community and researchers are unaware of the importance of integrating sustainability issues into VM and the potential of VM in bringing sustainability into projects. To remedy this situation, it was proposed to increase the knowledge about the integration of sustainability within VM, before enabling deeper evaluation of the consideration given to sustainability issues within present practices of VM. Thus, the aims of this research are firstly, to propose the use of VM as a means to integrate sustainability issues into the early stages of a construction project and secondly, to enable the evaluation of the quality and quantity of consideration given to the issues of sustainability within VM practices. In achieving the first aim, arguments were made to support the use of VM for improving sustainability consideration in project process by discussing the inherent strengths of VM and the relationship that exists between these two. It was revealed that the levels of sustainability consideration varied across workshops. The cause of the variation on sustainability consideration was still unclear but it was believed that part of it was due to the barriers to integration that had been identified in Survey 2. To achieve the second aim, this research has developed an evaluation tool called ASVM. This tool was subjected to two evaluation phases to validate and verify its use and limitations before it can be introduced to the industry. In the first evaluation phase, called the testing exercise, the tool was brought into VM workshops and then used to assess the consideration given to sustainability issues within those workshops. The second evaluation phase, called the verification study, took place to evaluate the tool's usefulness and practicability. It was concluded that the ASVM tool can be used to evaluate the consideration of sustainability issues in VM but a few improvements to the tool are necessary before it can be adapted to the industry. Lessons learned from these studies were discussed and the use of the ASVM tool in the VM workshop was reevaluated. Based on the findings of these two activities, the integration of sustainability within VM was reappraised. This research lays the foundation of new thinking in construction, as sustainability is a vision for tomorrow and VM should continuously improve the provision of services to meet the growing demand for better value and quality.