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Sustainable Construction Risk Perceptions in the Kuwaiti Construction Industry
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Sustainable construction is fundamentally different than traditional construction because it requires whole systems thinking, early collaboration across stakeholders, and core principles like reducing resource consumption, eliminating toxins, and applying life cycle costing. Construction professionals unfamiliar with this mindset and approach may perceive sustainable construction as risky. One of the global regions in need of more sustainable construction is the Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) region. The MENA region is one of the fastest developing in the world. However, it is the slowest one in implementing sustainable construction practices. Kuwait, in particular, contributes 53% more carbon emissions per capita than the United States. To understand how the Kuwaiti construction industry perceives risks associated with more sustainable construction, a survey was developed with 52 risk elements in which 131 industry professionals responded. The results indicate that industry professionals perceive a lack of public awareness as the risk element with the highest probability of occurrence. The risk element with the highest possible negative impact on future projects is designers’ and contractors’ inexperience with sustainable construction. Other risks were found to include a high initial cost for materials and overall project costs. Educational interventions, changes in risk allocation, and behavioral science to reframe upfront costs as long-term savings are offered as possible solutions.