Over the past 20 years, building environmental assessment methods (BEAMs) have been promoted as a means to achieve more sustainable and environmentally friendly (green) buildings, as well as more sustainable practices in the building process at large. These schemes have come to be considered as effective mechanisms to transform building markets and are seen to play a significant role in the mainstreaming of green building practices. In many countries, BEAMs are now used as policy instruments and are increasingly being mandated across a variety of public, but also private, sector projects. In this paper, we examine BEAMs as policy instruments and explore their potential to affect change in construction. Drawing on the theory of strategic action fields, and using the case of HK-BEAM, we discuss the origins, development and application of BEAMs and the limited impact that their mandate has on construction practice. The paper concludes with reflections on the need to further our understanding of how the construction sector works and who has the power, and the will, to make changes in construction practice happen.
Bibliographical noteThis work was supported by the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (GRF: Project No. HKU 17250116).
- Building environmental assessment methods
- Construction reform
- Industry self-regulation
- Policy instruments
- Sustainable construction