Investigating a suitable learning environment to advance sustainable practices among micro construction enterprises
Presented at the 28th Annual ARCOM Conference, 3-5 September 2012, Edinburgh, UK. Association of Researchers in Construction Management.
Authors: Michael P Gleeson1 and Craig S Thomson2
School of Engineering and Built Environment, Glasgow Caledonian University, G4 OBA, UK
Sustainability in the construction industry is increasingly at the forefront of current debate and government policy. The majority of sustainable strategies and research has focused on large contracting organisations with little attention given to Micro Construction Enterprises (McE’s). With McE’s comprising of 98% of all UK construction firms they clearly contribute significantly to the delivery of sustainability.
There is little understanding of the unique challenges McE’s face in learning and knowledge acquisition to advance sustainable practices. McE’s are a diverse group of professional practices, specialist trades and general builders and it is doubtful they are well equipped to support the learning culture necessary to appreciate the current myriad of sustainability issues. This research explores the requirements for a suitable learning environment for McE’s to advance sustainable practices.
Through semi-structured interviews with eight owner/associates of different types of McE’s in Glasgow, the research explored their preferences for learning in order to establish the basis for a suitable learning environment. Formal methods of learning like seminars and CPD events entail prohibitive cost and resource barriers, but analysis suggested that these constraints could be appeased by facilitating voluntary informal learning pathways in order to progress the agenda.
Since the majority of the study participants were members of some trade or professional association it is recommended that these bodies are best placed to deliver contextually relevant resources in a suitable narrative for McE’s.
The paper attempts to differentiate between formal and informal learning styles to promote sustainable practices among McE’s. Keywords: knowledge, learning, micro construction enterprise, practice, sustainable construction.ARCOM Conference Paper 2012 Gleeson_Thomson