Course Title: Research and Sustainability

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Research and Sustainability

Credit Points: 12

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


325H Property, Constr & Proj Mgt


Sem 2 2006,
Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 2 2011


Singapore Inst of Management


325H Property, Constr & Proj Mgt


Offsh 1 08,
Offsh 1 09,
Offsh 1 11,
Offsh 3 09,
Offsh 3 10,
Offsh 3 11,
Offsh1 12,
Offsh1 13

Course Coordinator: Dr Usha Iyer-Raniga

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 9659

Course Coordinator

Course Coordinator Location: School of PCPM - Bdg 15 Level 3 Room 14

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

This course will identify economic, environmental, and social issues and explore the relationships between these issues and the construction industry. Students will also be introduced to a range of approaches that construction professionals use to develop sustainable strategies and outcomes, including research approaches.

The principle aims of this course are:
1. To introduce you to the concept of sustainability, how this relates to the built environment, and specifically the construction industry’s role; and
2. To provide an introduction to a range of methods used in construction management research, some of which you may choose to use in your final year project.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

1) An understanding of sustainability as it relates to the built environment and the construction industry’s role;

2) An understanding of philosophical issues associated with research, and an overview of the various types of research methods appropriate to the subject area;

3) Observe decision making processes and assumptions using reflection-in-action; and

4) Improve time management, teamwork and communication skills through group work including reflective analysis of self, context, and problem solving skills application.

Following completion of the course you should be able to:
• Define and prioritise principles and objectives of sustainability relevant to the built environment;
• Analyse the context of a building project in order to identify sustainability issues and their relationship with the goals of project stakeholders;
• Weigh the costs and benefits of different environmentally sustainable design (ESD) strategies and recommend appropriate approaches; and
• Design a plan for implementing ESD through each phase of the building project life cycle. 

 You should also demonstrate the ability to:
• Exhibit strategic, logical, rational and resourceful problem-solving;
• Exercise personal and professional integrity and sound independent judgement;
• Evaluate research material from a variety of sources and critically appraise and evaluate results; and
• Demonstrate effective use of knowledge and techniques in the discipline area.

Overview of Learning Activities

Each session will deal with a specific issue or topic relating to sustainability and the construction industry. These sessions are designed to present theoretical and philosophical context for issues that you will be dealing with in groups as well as providing examples of current practice through case studies. These sessions will also include site visits and presentations from industry representatives, describing both professional experiences and case-study projects.
Sustainability related case studies and examples are used to assist you in understanding research philosophy and design (survey, interviews, experimental, quasi experimental, content analysis, and ethnographic research methods), data gathering (both quantitative and qualitative), data analyst, literature reviews and theses.

Overview of Learning Resources

You will be expected to read extensively, literature pertaining to the subject. This includes pre-reading from the following four prescribed texts:
a) Birkeland, J. (2002) Design for sustainability. A sourcebook of integrated eco-logical solutions. Earthscan Publications Ltd: The Bath press, Bath.
b) Dawson, C. (2002) Practical research methods: a user friendly guide to mastering techniques and projects. Oxford University Press: ‘How To’ Books.
c) Fellows, R. & Liu, A, M, M. (2003) Research methods for construction. 2nd edition: Blackwell Publishing, Oxford.
d) Langston, C. A. and Ding, G. K. C. (2001) Sustainable practices in the built environment. 2nd edition. Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford.

It is also suggested that students look at the following websites:
a) Earth Day footprint quiz:
b) Australian Greenhouse Gas Calculator:
c) Australian Greenhouse Office:
d) Building Commission of Victoria:
e) Sustainability Victoria:
f) Ecospecifier:
Green Building Council of Australia:

Overview of Assessment

For any designated module in a course you must achieve:
• 50% overall;
• At least 40% in the assessment allocated to individual assignment work (literature review and ecological footprint analysis); and
• At least 40% in assessment allocated to group assignment work and participation.
If you fail a module, designated by the course guide, you will be deemed to have failed the whole course and will have to repeat it.