World Construction Symposium : ‘Construction sector needs strategy to drive growth’ | Sunday Observer

World Construction Symposium : ‘Construction sector needs strategy to drive growth’

10 November, 2019

The government is promoting sustainable development and the construction industry has to play an important role in this regard. Green building initiatives are encouraged to preserve the environment and have been given a prominent place in the country’s development agenda, President, Ceylon Institute of Builders and Vice President Construction Chamber, Dr. Rohan Karunaratne said. Sri Lanka has an opportunity to do things better and right in this growth trajectory. However, the changing weather pattern has become a hindrance with regard to the construction industry’s upward move.

“This has slowed down progress and we need to make a significant shift from traditional methods to modern procedures to meet these challenges,” he said at the eighth World Construction Symposium held on the theme ‘Towards a smart, sustainable and resilient built environment’ in Colombo last week.

Explaining the concerns and proposed actions incorporated in the report to revive the construction industry in Sri Lanka, he said that the government no longer can engage in non-productive infrastructure development projects due to the difficulty in finding the required funding.

“As Sri Lanka is a middle income country, it has not been possible to attract funding that is provided to under-developed countries. Therefore, it is important to forge Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) to generate funds locally to engage in mega projects,” he said.

“We have the world’s highest population density. The portion of energy consumption in carbon emissions in the city is high. Finalising features of environment in Hong Kong is to have high rise buildings. All our buildings have over 40 floors to make the best use of limited land for building purposes, Executive Director, Centre for Innovation in Construction and Infrastructure Development, Associate Professor in Construction Engineering and Management of University of Hong Kong Prof. Wei Pan said.

“We face many challenges in terms of society, community and industry. The government has promoted accelerated housing. The construction industry in Hong Kong faces many challenges including safety issues. Annually about 20 people die at construction sites. The cost of building construction in our country has been the highest in Asia for 10 consecutive years. However, Hong Kong also has got the world’s advantage in infrastructure and building sector in terms of technological innovations,” he said.

“With the climate change globally which affects the construction industry, new innovations to promote the entrepreneurs in the sector is necessary. It is important to address construction management problems resolving the socio-economic issue simultaneously promoting the built environment to fuel the growth in the industry,” Professor of Construction Management/Procurement in the School of the Built Environment at the University of Salford, Prof. Peter McDermott said.

The potential of establishing infrastructure which could drive profitability is necessary and social aspect of sustainability is the key for the construction industry. The infrastructure has to be on mission driven approach and successfully driven mission has been the key to successful projects. A close alignment between clients and the industry is needed for better results and the industry needed a strategy to drive growth, he said.

“Projects undertaken give an opportunity to improve productivity which is a driving force in the industry. Less waste, less duplication, local engagement and greater efficiency will lead to enhance social value which also promotes equality and diversity. It is extremely important that the modernization of construction industry taking place,” he said.

The World Construction Symposium is an annual international industry event taking place in Sri Lanka focusing on sustainable construction. The symposium provides a special platform for researchers and practitioners in the area of sustainable construction worldwide to exchange information on creating a sustainable built environment and thus advancing, sustainable development.

The first world symposium was held in 2012. The World Construction Symposium is jointly organised by the Ceylon Institute of Builders and Building Economics Management and Research Unit of the Department of Building Economics, University of Moratuwa.