An investigation of sustainable building construction practices in Zambia.

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Mtonga, Gregory Gomezga
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The University of Zambia
Since the Earth Summit held in Brazil in 1992 when agenda 21 was formulated as the international blueprint for sustainable development, all sectors of society have been in the process of interpreting and pursuing sustainability and sustainable development within their specific contexts. However, the Zambian construction industry has not seen much of sustainable building construction principles being put into practice. Therefore, the objectives of this research were to: examine the current construction (building) practices in Zambia; explore the fundamental principles of sustainable construction practices; to identify the main challenges in implementing sustainable construction practices in the Zambian Construction Industry; and make recommendations for strategies that could be taken to promote sustainable construction in the Zambian Construction Industry. This study was conducted through a survey research design and made use of both qualitative and quantitative modes. A random sample of thirty-five (35) professionals and stakeholders of the 50 targeted were used for the study. The results indicated that, 14% of the respondents have excellent level of awareness on sustainable construction while 86% have a good level and the aim of achieving a sustainably built environment calls for excellence. Results on current construction practices indicate organization/firms putting more preference (37%) on the economic aspect of construction, while the professionals (51%) feel the environmental aspects should be the ones prioritised. In conclusion, the status of sustainable construction in Zambia is still in its infancy. The lack of awareness/training is among the major barriers for sustainable construction practices. Besides the need for capacities, technologies and tools, ardent commitment by all players in the construction industry including the government and the public is required to achieve sustainable construction in the Zambian Construction Sector.
Master of Engineering in Construction Management.