Thorpe, D, Ryan, N & Charles, MB 2008, 'Environmental sustainability - a driver for innovation in construction SMES?' Proceedings from the 3rd International Conference Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Construction Innovation, 12-14 March, CRC for Construction Innovation.
While there is increased emphasis on sustainability in the construction industry, it is uncertain whether the SME sector sees it as a driver of innovation. This lack of concern could occur for several reasons, such as material cost, uncertainty regarding the potential risks associated with sustainable practices, perceived lack of business benefit, and lack of informed client demand.
To explore such issues, a sample of smaller domestic builders in South East Queensland were asked, as part of a broader study of innovation in these firms, to provide their views on environmentally sustainable building practices. While a number of these firms identified sustainability related innovations as important, responses were less clear with respect to environmental sustainability as a driver of innovation.
This paper uses this research to examine sustainability as a potential driver for innovation in the SME sector of the construction industry, and to suggest approaches to enhance such innovation.