Quantifying Green Construction Safety through Company Outcomes

Open Access
Author:
Akcetin, Fatma Idil
Graduate Program:
Architectural Engineering
Degree:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
November 16, 2012
Committee Members:
  • Robert Michael Leicht, Thesis Advisor
Keywords:
  • Green Building
  • Sustainability
  • Design Build
  • Construction Safety
  • Sustainable Construction Safety and Health
Abstract:
Around the world, the construction industry is known for its high rates of injuries and accidents. Having a safer working environment is a priority not only during construction, but also during the early phases of the design. Current literature shows the positive impacts of design integration on both safety performance and green construction. The design for safety process improves safety performance and reduces risks on construction worksites. Similarly, decisions made during the design phase have significant effects on sustainability and end building performance goals. Recent studies have identified the safety risks associated with specific sustainable design attributes and practices. Current literature lacks in identifying the discrepancy between the value of integration for both safety and green building design and construction, and the noted increased safety incidents on green projects. The goal of this research is to identify, at a company level, if there is a correlation between quantity of green construction performed and safety performance of green contractors. This research study quantified the impact on safety metrics at a company level for the amount of green construction captured via revenues. With this intention, for the main efforts of this research study quantitative research methods were used, including analysis of covariance by considering year as a categorical variable to examine the relationship between safety and green construction, and continued with qualitative methods, including tracking project data by conducting case studies and conducting interviews with safety experts to support the findings of statistical analysis. The results include that higher revenues are suggestive of higher safety incidents. The more green construction revenue, the higher the number of recordable incidents and lost time cases measured. When the amount of design-build work was considered as a percentage of revenue, the impact is significant and negatively correlated to recordable incidents and lost time cases. This suggests that despite a positive correlation with increased green revenue and design-build revenue, the use of integrated delivery, such as design-build, may help mitigate safety impacts. Case study findings suggest that a contractor might have different implementations on project level based on the project requirements even though it is expected to have the same strategies and implementations that come from the company level safety program. Also, they indicate the impact of owner and designer involvements and the effect of owner requirements to achieve better implementation for safety. Interviews add value to this research study by identifying the translation from company strategies to projects for achieving successful safety performance in green building construction. Results suggest that safety responsibilities in construction lie with site teams; resources can help mitigate risks and availability of resources can have drastic influence; and training and accountability are important in planning.