Considering Social Dimensions of Sustainability During Construction Project Planning and Design

By Rodolfo Valdes-Vasquez and Leidy Klotz.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Sustainable construction requires improvements not only in the environmental and economic pillars of sustainability but also in its social one. Social sustainability is fundamentally about people, both current and future. For the construction industry, this concept needs to integrate processes for improving social safety, health and well-being during the project life cycle. While social sustainability involves action during the construction and operation phases of a project, improved benefits are possible if it is first addressed during the planning and design phases where the greatest opportunities exist for influencing project performance. To help address this issue, this paper introduces a preliminary model for social sustainability considerations during construction project design. Based on a synthesis of the current literature, this model includes four primary dimensions of social sustainability: community involvement, corporate social responsibility, safety through design, and social design. This model aims to create awareness about social dimensions that must be taken into account for truly sustainable construction. The model provides a starting point that can be refined with the input of experts from academia and industry.

Keywords: Sustainable Construction, Social Sustainability

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 6, Issue 6, pp.167-180. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.434MB).

Rodolfo Valdes-Vasquez

Ph.D. Student, Civil Engineering Department, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, USA

Rodolfo earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the Technological University of Panama (UTP) and a Master’s Degree in Construction Science and Management from Clemson University, which was sponsored by Fulbright/LASPAU Faculty Development Program. Returning to Panama, he worked as an inspector for the Experimental Engineering Research Center and as an assistant professor in the Civil Engineering Department at UTP. In addition, Rodolfo collaborated with the Panamanian Construction Chamber, research that resulted in guidelines for creating construction safety programs. In 2008, he returned to Clemson University to pursue a Ph.D. program in Civil Engineering, in part sponsored by SENACYT, a Panamanian government agency. Rodolfo is interested in best practices related to sustainable construction project design and management. He is also involved with effective teaching approaches for social dimensions of sustainability.

Dr. Leidy Klotz

Assistant Professor, Civil Engineering Department, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, USA

Leidy Klotz is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at Clemson University, where he teaches courses and performs research related to sustainability and the built environment. Leidy gained valuable experience in this area while earning his Ph.D. from Penn State and while working in a project management role for five years with Bovis Lend-Lease in New Jersey. During his time at Bovis, he earned his M.S. degree, via distance learning, in Construction Engineering from the University of Washington. Leidy holds a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from Lafayette College in Easton, PA, and he is an Engineer in Training and a LEED Accredited Professional.


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