The challenges of prioritising low carbon in public sector Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM) construction

Ibbotson, Katherine and Farrell, Peter ORCID: 0000-0002-2910-6680 (2019) The challenges of prioritising low carbon in public sector Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM) construction. International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation, 37 (5). pp. 615-628. ISSN 2398-4708

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Purpose – Low carbon solutions in infrastructure have been well documented and promoted in most areas of the UK except in the context of public sector Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM) infrastructure. With the UK Government providing £2.5bn capital investment to reduce risk of flooding and coastal erosion between 2015 and 2020, the carbon impact of this construction programme will have a significant impact on the UK’s carbon targets. The purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive literature review focusing on the effect of carbon on climate change, the role of UK public sector FCERM construction and organisational cultural challenges in promoting low carbon. Design/methodology/approach – An electronic survey of practising professionals in a leading government agency that procures major FCERM construction projects has been undertaken. The survey covers participants from the whole value chain within the project life cycle, since many authoritative sources call for integration, and for change to be implemented in partner organisations. Findings – The survey shows that although carbon is considered, it is not yet at the level of importance nor is it prioritised to the extent at which cost is. This is for both public and private sector supply chain organisations. Low carbon, although included in discussions, does not feature as prominently throughout all project stages. Research limitations/implications – The utilisation of a survey for this research is limited as it merely supports current industry findings, albeit having focused on a specific infrastructure area. Further qualitative research is required to fully explore the findings within the survey, and to establish whether the implementation of a new whole life carbon calculator within FCERM construction will have an impact on the organisational culture and future successful implementation of low carbon construction. Practical implications – The results of this research identify the specific areas in which industry practitioners involved in promoting and prioritising low carbon could focus on to facilitate the change required to fully embed low carbon into FCERM construction. Social implications – This research supports industry knowledge specifically for public sector FCERM construction, and the changes to organisational culture required to fully embed low carbon solutions in public sector construction. These changes may have an impact on the amount of carbon being used, which can positively affect climate change as a whole. Originality/value – The literature review shows that carbon has a clear impact on climate change, and organisational culture and leadership can facilitate the successful implementation of new initiatives. However, previous attempts to embed low carbon into infrastructure construction practice have had limited success to date. The survey findings support the view that organisational culture and leadership can influence the successful embedding of low carbon solutions, and why this has been a challenge.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Public sector, Organizational culture, Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management, Low carbon
Subjects: T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Divisions: School of Engineering
SWORD Depositor: JISC Publications Router
Depositing User: JISC Publications Router
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2020 15:42
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2020 15:42
Identification Number: 10.1108/ijbpa-06-2018-0054

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