The development of a multi-criteria approach for the measurement of sustainable performance of housing projects

Univeristy of Trento
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Sustainability of the Housing Projects, 2004, pp. 1 - 10
Issue Date:
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It has long been recognised that environmental matters are important to the survival of the construction industry. Yet, in general, the construction industry continues to degrade the environment, exploiting resources and generating waste, and is reluctant to change its conventional practices to incorporate environmental matters as part of the decisionmaking process. Building development involves complex decisions and the increased significance of external effects has further complicated the situation. Cost benefit analysis (CBA) is one of the conventional tools used widely by public and private sectors when appraising projects. It sets out to measure and compare the total costs and benefits of different projects that are competing for scarce resources in monetary terms. However, there are growing concerns that the values of environmental goods and services are often ignored or underestimated in the CBA approach which has led to the overuse and depletion of environmental assets. Consequently, CBA's usefulness and relevance in this respect is increasingly controversial. Project development is not just concerned with financial return, but is also conscious of the long-term impacts on living standards for both present and future generations. Sustainable development is an important issue in project decision-making and environmental effects need to be incorporated into the evaluation process.
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