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Who are the 'middle actors' in sustainable construction and what do they need to know?

Owen, A; Janda, KB; Simpson, K; (2020) Who are the 'middle actors' in sustainable construction and what do they need to know? In: Sustainable Ecological Engineering Design. (pp. pp. 191-204). Springer, Cham

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Abstract

This paper explores what knowledge and skills are needed, and how those skills and knowledge might be gained, in order to deliver more sustainable outcomes from construction, using the concept of ‘middle actors’. ‘Middle actors’ are the individuals who occupy the space between ‘top-down’ policy and instruction, and ‘bottom-up’ norms. In construction, ‘middle actors’ with influence on building performance include clerks of works, project managers, tradespeople and technical advisers. There is a relentless drive for more sustainable buildings that use less energy, generate less waste during construction and use, and provide healthy environments for people to live and work in. This direction of travel can no longer be considered ‘new’ and yet it remains far from the mainstream. To create buildings which are sustainable, we need to consider not only technology and design changes, but how to alter the wider system of construction. We use middle actors as the lens through which to examine these non-technical changes, and the skills and knowledge required to achieve them. A review of the concept of middle actors as it has been applied to construction and an overview of skills and knowledge needs for sustainable construction is followed by identifying middle actors in new build and retrofit, commercial and domestic projects currently under way with one developer in Leeds, UK. The skills and knowledge needed by ‘middle actors’ to deliver more sustainable outcomes from their projects are described, based on empirical data gathered from project teams, and further structured by considering when in the project cycle they are needed, and what routes to gaining the required skills and knowledge might be most effective. This analysis reinforces that there is no single route to achieving more sustainable buildings and instead the activities, responsibilities and networks of individuals need to be carefully considered in developing training programmes for construction teams.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: Who are the 'middle actors' in sustainable construction and what do they need to know?
Event: International SEEDS Conference 2019
Dates: 11 September 2019 - 12 September 2019
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-44381-8_15
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-44381-8_15
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Sustainable construction, Middle actors, Project networks, Skills Knowledge
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10083350
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