Contractors’ attitudes toward sustainable buildings in the Russian market

Thanks to the collective efforts by developers, designers, consultants and academia, the green building movement is beginning to gain momentum in the Russian construction sector. It is a welcome development for the country’s environmentalists, as green buildings attempt to address the ecological, social and economic requirements of the environment in which they are built. The movement also addresses the social and economic interactions with future occupants of the constructed facilities.

However, one cannot overlook the underrepresentation of building contractors in the movement’s group of supporters as their views are critical on the potential additional burden which this will place on them. For instance, the leading international green building standards, such as BREEAM International in the UK and LEED in the US, stipulated the need for building contractors to comply with a number of requirements. This is essential for the green certification of the building. The certification requirements are more demanding on the contractor as they control the activities, such as energy consumption and use of standard construction materials, at the site. Contractors generally feel that most of the requirements of BREEAM are not practical or too costly for them under the existing market conditions in Russia.

Also, given the current supply chain for construction materials in the country, the contractors are apprehensive about BREEAM requirements on the extensive use of recycled materials as well as site waste management. Considering the significant contribution of building contractors to the sector, their non-involvement and indifference may well impact the success of the green building movement in Russia. However, the reluctance of the contractors is not due to their total aversion to meet the international standards.

On the contrary, most of them are willing to undertake additional efforts to meet the requirements of BREEAM for a green building but only if they are compensated fully or at least partially. The challenge the movement might face in the future is not restricted to this one factor alone. Since there is no precedent of green building issues or a governing law in Russia on such matters, much will depend upon the terms of agreement between the concerned parties in settling issues as they emerge.

The complete article was written by:

  • B. Kagan Ceylan
    BREEAM Int. Assessor, LEED-GA, MRICS, PMP. Manager in Construction Project Management Group, Ernst & Young (CIS) BV

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