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Title: Development of a multi-criteria approach for the selection of sustainable materials for building projects
Author: Akadiri, Oluwole Peter
Awarding Body: University of Wolverhampton
Current Institution: University of Wolverhampton
Date of Award: 2011
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Construction activity is known to have a major impact on the environment and is a major consumer of a wide range of naturally occurring and synthesized resources. Despite the recognition that environmental issues are important to the survival of the construction industry, the industry continues to degrade the environment, exploiting resources and generating waste, and is slow to change its conventional practices to incorporate environmental matters as part of its decision making process. With increased awareness and knowledge of these impacts, efforts are being made to avoid these adverse effects and to work towards impact mitigation. Among these is sustainable building material selection. Building material selection is an important issue in building design and construction decision-making and environmental issues need to be incorporated into the evaluation process. The research reported in this thesis was initiated to address these issues in the UK, towards developing an assessment model for incorporating sustainability into building material selection process. A questionnaire survey was conducted to investigate the level of awareness, knowledge and implementation of sustainable practices among architects and designers and how this impacts on their design decisions. To facilitate the implementation of sustainable practices into building material selection, a set of sustainable assessment criteria (SAC) for modeling and evaluating sustainability performance of building materials was developed. Building material can be assessed using an index system that combines the principal criteria of sustainable development. The derived criteria were assessed and aggregated into a composite sustainability index using the Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) technique which has been praised for its ability to incorporate both objective and subjective considerations in the decision process. The development of a sustainability index is a way of supporting decision makers faced with making numerous and sometimes conflicting evaluation as with building material selection. The methodology adopted in undertaking this research was the mixed method approach involving a detailed review of the relevant literature, followed by an industry-wide survey of UK architects and designers. Following this, case study was conducted to collect data for sustainability criteria used in the assessment model. The data collected were analyzed, with the aid of SPSS, Excel and expert choice software using a variety of statistical methods including descriptive statistics analysis, relative index analysis, Kendall’s concordance and factor analysis. The key finding was the existing gap between awareness and implementation of sustainable construction practices, which has led to failure of realizing the benefits of a sustainable approach to construction. The study showed a discrepancy between what architects and designers claim to be convinced about, and knowledgeable in, and their commitment and practices; they seem to be unable to translate their environmental awareness and knowledge into appropriate design decisions and are in need of a decision support system that can aid the incorporation of sustainability into building design. The model developed satisfy this gap and was validated by application to a roof covering material selection decision process for a case study building project by means of experts’ review via a survey and the findings obtained suggest that the model is valuable and suitable for use in practice. Finally, areas for further research were identified.
Supervisor: Chinyio, Ezekiel A. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Sustainable construction ; Sustainability index ; Multi-criteria ; Decision-making ; Building materials ; Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) ; Architects and designers ; United Kingdom