A study of effectiveness of regulatory framework in construction industry in promoting sustainability
Construction is a key sector of the national economy. Its social-economic significance also become obvious when examined for a global context. Sustainability concerns protecting environmental quality, enhancing social prosperity and improving economic performance (Addis and Talbot, 2001). The pursuit of sustainable development thereby throws the built environment in sharp focus as it constitutes are on the one hand the main supports of economic development, and, on the other, its contribution has significant impacts on resources, the living and working environment. These contributions and constituents of construction have lately been put under the microscope in the Kenya Construction Industry as its activities have constantly failed to safeguard the fundamentals of society‘s resource base. This is despite Kenya regulatory framework and legislation governing the construction industry having well articulated Acts, safety standards and code of ethics that spell sustainability in social-economic and environmental fronts. It was found necessary therefore to establish the effectiveness of regulatory framework in construction industry in promoting sustainability. The research sought to establish the extent to which the existing regulatory framework of the Kenya construction industry promotes sustainability and explores strategies to be used to improve its capacity in Kenya. The research concentrated on regulatory framework in the private and public sector in Nairobi County. Data was analyzed using quantitative and qualitative methods of data analysis, in particular, using statistical package for social science software program. The findings that emerged showed that the regulatory framework in the Kenyan construction industry is not optimally and holistically promoting sustainability. Specifically, promotion of economic sustainability was found to target profits at the compromise of quality. The research revealed that there was greater commitment towards promoting sustainability on the environmental front than on both economic and socio-cultural fronts. On the socio-cultural front, the research showed that the regulatory framework has failed to promote sustainability to a meaningful or no extent. The study also revealed that the key hindrance causing lack of responsiveness and resistance to sustainability issues is the lack of an accepted industry model to evaluate sustainability program. 18 In view of this, it is recommended that specialized bodies mandated to champion for social sustainability be included in the composition of the regulatory framework that governs the Kenya construction industry. The study also recommends with paramount importance the need for regulatory bodies to weave sustainability into organizational policies. There is need for a clear model to be developed in the industry to guide the achievement of holistic sustainability. Awareness and outreach campaigns should also be conducted to increase literacy and knowledge on sustainability. It is hoped that this research will be a step forward in the quest for sustainable development with particular regards to the built environment.