Understanding and interpreting baseline perceptions of sustainability in construction among civil engineers in the United States

Wai Kiong Chong, Sanat Kumar, Carl T. Haas, Salwa M.A. Beheiry, Lonnie Coplen, Marvin Oey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


The highly influential Brundtland report released in 1987 was the first document to define the three pillars of modern sustainable development as environmental, social, and economic. The Rio Summit in 1992, the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, and the Johannesburg Meeting in 2002 followed up with primary focus on the needs of society and the environment. Economic issues were secondary at these meetings. This movement was the beginning of what has been passed down to the construction industry as sustainable construction. Within the industry, however, confusion reigns, and attitudes toward sustainable construction vary wildly. Understanding perceptions of sustainability in the industry would help to navigate a path towards a common understanding of the issues, to reach a point from which a reasoned dialogue could ensue concerning the relative merits of different approaches to sustainability and to sustainable construction itself. To understand perceptions of sustainability in the construction industry, a survey of close to 200 practitioners was conducted between July and Sept. 2006. Its results are described and analyzed in this article. Some conclusions are made and recommendations are suggested based on this analysis. In particular, it is clear that a persistent and broad-based effort will be required to introduce sustainability effectively to the profession.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-154
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Management in Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Construction management
  • Sustainable development
  • United States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial relations
  • General Engineering
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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