Deakin University

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Barriers inhibiting the transition to sustainability within the Australian construction industry: an investigation of technical and social interactions

journal contribution
posted on 2019-02-20, 00:00 authored by Igor MartekIgor Martek, M. Reza HosseiniM. Reza Hosseini, Asheem ShresthaAsheem Shrestha, D J Edwards, S Durdyev
Research concedes that the building industry in Australia has fallen short of satisfying sustainability requirements. Currently, the responsibility for transitioning the building industry into one that is sustainable is laid largely at the feet of low-carbon governance instruments such as mandatory codes and sustainability rating tools. The behavior of groups, interactions of individual actors, relationship between actors’ and group level behaviors that affect implementation of these instruments have, however, received only cursory attention. This study therefore seeks to move beyond the instruments debate and identify a broader range of factors inhibiting the transition to sustainability within the Australian building industry. It draws on focus group discussions held with 26 leading sustainability experts and practitioners from around the country. Whereas, earlier work on impediments to sustainability pre-identify potential causal factors, this study, with Sustainability Transition as the theoretical lens, allowing for new and as yet unidentified impediments to emerge. Indeed, while findings confirm a range of technical shortcomings hindering sustainability transition, the deeper barrier is shown to be the prevalence of a dysfunctional sustainability ecosystem where siloed vested interest groups exploit Australia's ineffective transition regimes for their own gain. The practical implication is that current efforts to refine rating tools and modify building practices – remedies identified in earlier research – will not be enough to effect meaningful transition, as long as end-users remain disenfranchised, confused and unpersuaded of the benefits of sustainable buildings.



Journal of cleaner production




281 - 292




Amsterdam, The Netherlands





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2018, Elsevier Ltd.