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Title: Perceptions of sustainability and their influence in the design and delivery of Scottish housing
Author: Oliver, Alastair Kennedy
ISNI:       0000 0004 9355 6699
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2020
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The sustainability ‘agenda’ is expected to be firmly embedded in the policies and practices of the Construction Industry. A multitude of sustainability indicators and the concurrent development of different Assessment Methods, intended to direct and inspire designers towards sustainable practices, emerged in the late 20th and early 21st Century. In the UK and the domestic sector in particular, many of these indicators have now been subsumed by the Building Regulations and Standards, which set the minimum levels of achievement for ‘sustainability’. Each of these approaches are underpinned by a particular understanding or interpretation of the best way to meet a perceived set of sustainability needs. This situation raises questions surrounding how notions of sustainability and sustainable development are assimilated and interpreted by Industry Professionals. These questions revolve around how a designer perceives sustainability and how this influences their personal design approach. However, one issue that persists is the lack of a shared sense or understanding of what sustainability is and why it is important to our industry and society. In order to explore the breadth of perception within the domestic housing sector in Scotland, a series of semi-structured interviews with designers have been thematically analysed. This research reveals that there are clear elements visible of a shared goal of working towards sustainability amongst designers. It also confirms that the level of understanding around sustainability practices and procedures among designers is diverse and not clearly understood across the profession. Further to this, the thematic analysis led to the development of five themes form the data: 1) Perceptions of cost, 2) Perceptions of the Building Standards, 3) Perceptions of Technology, 4) Perceptions of the Profession and 5) Perceptions of knowledge and Understanding. The outcomes of this study will be beneficial in several ways – they will contribute to the understanding of sustainability practices within the domestic housing sector; knowledge dissemination via guidance and design guides could help limit the variability of approaches of design teams; the understanding developed will allow a more informed approach to policy development and, finally, they will provide invaluable insight for the further development of the educational and continuing professional development needs of Architects in particular.
Supervisor: Smith, Simon ; Stratford, Timothy Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: sustainability ; construction industry ; house designers ; Building Regulations ; notions of sustainability ; perception ; influences ; semi-structured interviews ; policy development