Department of Business Development and Technology

Supply chain integration for low-carbon buildings: A critical interdisciplinary review

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The global buildings sector is undergoing a far-reaching transition to low-carbon infrastructure. This paper revisits the concept of supply chain integration (SCI) that since the 1990s has been proposed as a means of increasing productivity and client satisfaction in the industry. This paper reviews the literature to unpack the concept of SCI in building projects, to identify its components and to trace empirical evidence on how it affects performance outcomes. The paper therefore addresses the following research questions: (1) What are the key components of SCI in building projects and what mechanisms govern the relationship between these and traditional measures of construction performance? (2) To what extent do these components and relationships relate to the successful delivery of sustainable, low-energy buildings? (3) What are the implications of these findings for research, policy and industrial practice? The paper finds that a holistic appreciation of SCI is needed if its benefits are to be realised at wider scales within the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction industry, and particularly for the delivery of sustainable buildings. For academic research, focus should shift from production to ‘in-use’ performance, which identifies user-involvement as critical for achieving energy system optimisation and reduced emissions in buildings. Frameworks and approaches should therefore be expanded to include antecedents that focus on integration between supply chain and user interfaces, such as facilities managers and occupiers. For industry and national policy development, systematic collection of data relating to soft parameters of projects is needed, such as procurement arrangements, contracting arrangements, team integration and coordination processes. As optimised building performance does not necessarily imply subsequent project performance benefits in terms of cost and time, legislation and industry standards are needed to drive demand for low-carbon buildings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109274
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019

    Research areas

  • Architecture, Construction, Engineering, Low-energy buildings, Supply chain, Zero-energy buildings

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