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Graduate Defense: Melisa Hancock

October 28 @ 10:30 am - 11:30 am MDT

Thesis Information

Title: Developing Implementable Policies Targeting Sustainable Building Construction by Learning from Other Countries

Program: Master of Science in Civil Engineering

Advisor: Dr. Bhaskar Chittoori, Civil Engineering

Committee Members: Dr. Mojtaba Sadegh, Civil Engineering, and Dr. Ana Maria Dimand, School of Public Service


The construction sector currently has a large, negative impact on the environment, economics, and the public’s health and there is not enough being done to combat this issue in the United States on a significant scale. This research analyzed building codes from six different countries, including the U.S., to grasp the level of sustainability each code has on its respective country in order to identify what the U.S. is missing and how they can improve their construction sector. The policy analysis framework used is an adaption from existing literature on building construction sustainable indicators, sustainability analysis methods of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and policy analysis methods from the and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The adapted framework includes a sustainable building construction index which has four categories: environment, economic, social, and feasibility. Each of these categories contains specific indicators for construction policies that guided the analyzers in determining the level of construction sustainability for each country. Results show that the United States’ policy is the least sustainable with no mention of the economic index. The U.S.’s policy is also scarce in the social aspect with a low likelihood of policy feasibility in terms of sustainability. The policy recommendations include addressing all sustainability indicators that are not currently being addressed to reduce the U.S. construction sector’s impacts. Implementing the economic index into the policy should be the highest priority. Limitations include a lack of comparable data to back up the qualitative research findings and analyses.