Driving sustainable construction development through post-contract key performance indicators and drivers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This research examines what key performance indicators (KPIs) and drivers should be applied at the post-contract phase of construction development to monitor and drive project outcomes in sustainable design and construction. It supplements the previous research which focuses on pre-contract sustainable procurement of competent professionals. Consequently, optimal sustainability can be achieved for the overall sustainable development process.

A review of empirical work was conducted to consolidate the holistic aspects of sustainability that should be considered for design and construction and their project outcome KPI measures. Based on a country-wide questionnaire survey of the university estate sector in the UK, a quantitative hierarchical regression analysis was conducted to identify the performance drivers for those KPIs.

The empirical work review demonstrates that holistic sustainability for development can be measured by project outcome KPIs: economic sustainability by cost KPIs; functional, social and environmental sustainability by quality KPIs. The quantitative hierarchical regression analysis confirmed that these four aspects of sustainability could be significantly driven by task performance and contextual performance drivers, as supported by the job performance theory.

Research limitations/implications
The investigation was undertaken within the context of university estates forming a unique public sector in the UK. The findings form a baseline upon which further research can be conducted in other organisations in the wider public and private sectors. Ultimately, holistic sustainability can be fully driven by construction professionals to achieve government and corporate construction strategy for the benefits of sustainable built environment.

Practical implications
The findings inform project managers and construction professionals that they should apply clear, measurable cost and quality KPIs and focus on significant performance drivers in tandem to drive holistic sustainability for design and construction. Project staff should have a high commitment, technical expertise and experience, execute the project with proper design and management methods and provide a high level of trust and collaboration to the client. Clients, designers and contractors are key stakeholders in the development process so they should be consulted for forming the contract KPIs to monitor the sustainable project outcomes.

Social implications
The generalised results confirm that task and contextual performance drivers can be applied as project management tools for managing the professional team members to achieve sustainability deliverables in terms of KPIs. Such findings will enhance the government or corporate construction strategy for managing and achieving holistic sustainability for construction developments.

This research identifies post-contract performance monitoring measures (cost and quality KPIs as well as task and contextual performance drivers) that can be adopted for driving sustainable design and construction for sustainable development.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberVol. 11 No. 3
Pages (from-to)483-499
Number of pages17
JournalSmart and Sustainable Built Environment
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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