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Opinions of small and medium UK construction companies on environmental management systems

Bailey, M; Booth, CA; Horry, R; Vidalakis, C; Mahamadu, A-M; Gyau, KAB

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M Bailey

CA Booth

R Horry

C Vidalakis

A-M Mahamadu

KAB Gyau


Pressure to reduce the environmental impact of construction activities has increased, such that a paradigm shift is required. This paper presents stakeholder opinions of environmental management systems as a means for the construction industry to respond to these issues. Using a previous approach (Shen and Tam, 2002) the views of small and medium construction companies were sought, using questionnaires to ask respondents to reveal their perceived benefits and barriers of implementing the ISO 14000 suite of environmental management standards in the UK. Detailed statistical analysis showed environmental management systems can sometimes produce quantifiable benefits to organisations in terms of cost reduction. However, from a contractors’ view, the greatest benefit was a reduction in environmental impact outweighing financial benefits. Findings also demonstrated numerous barriers, both internal and external, to an organisation exist regarding adoption and use of environment management systems. The most critical barrier was that cost savings do not always balance with the expense of implementation. Furthermore, waste minimisation at design stage is viewed as most important. In general, the opinions gauged in this study indicated short-term profits are normally considered more imperative than long-term gains. Therefore, despite a need to focus on developing strategies for removing or reducing the challenges of environmental management systems, the reality is that they may not be the panacea to sustainable development, as is often touted.


Bailey, M., Booth, C., Horry, R., Vidalakis, C., Mahamadu, A., & Gyau, K. (2021). Opinions of small and medium UK construction companies on environmental management systems. Proceedings of the ICE - Management, Procurement and Law, 174(1), 23-34.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 14, 2020
Online Publication Date Apr 16, 2020
Publication Date Feb 16, 2021
Deposit Date May 7, 2020
Publicly Available Date Apr 16, 2021
Journal Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Management, Procurement and Law
Print ISSN 1751-4304
Electronic ISSN 1751-4312
Publisher Thomas Telford
Volume 174
Issue 1
Pages 23-34
Publisher URL
Related Public URLs
Additional Information Additional Information : ** From Crossref via Jisc Publications Router **Journal IDs: pissn 1751-4304; eissn 1751-4312 **History: issued 16-04-2020; published_online 16-04-2020


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