Sustainability of building finishes in the Ghanaian real estate sector.

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Globally, the real Estate industry utilizes 50% of all materials extracted from the earth’s crust. The measure and complexity of our requirements for natural resources have increased greatly with the rising levels of population and production. Utilization of these natural resources have adverse effects on the ecosystem, as a result there is a need to take responsibility for the effect of real estate activities on economy, society and the environment, and appropriate measures taken to address them. However, the real estate sector in Ghana uses mostly ‘wet’ applied finishes such as Paints and Tiles that are imported in most cases. Most of the imported building finishing inputs which are always used by real estate developers can easily be exchanged with local ones with same functionality and durability. This research explored critical factors considered in the selection of building finishing materials and identify barriers to sustainable considerations during the selection of building finishes in the Ghanaian real estate sector. Given the degree of accuracy of facts required and factors to be analyzed in this study, the researcher addressed how the data were collected and evaluated by using a well-structured Questionnaires. They were coded and analyzed using relative importance index. The research brought to bear the fact that, sustainability has not been fully embraced by companies in the Real Estate Sector of Ghana. Some key industry players do not even consider it at all in their quest to achieve their organizations goal of housing Ghanaians. Aesthetics, initial cost, and availability of material is a critical factor considered by key personnel in the Real Estate Sector during the selection of building finishing material. Secondly market trends, availability of green rating data, and perceive increased cost are the major barriers to making green choices and Value for money is key to every company in their endeavour. The researcher recommends that a comparative cost analysis be carried out for alternative sustainable building finishing materials and the results published to alleviate doughts of perceived increased cost. Professional bodies should organize seminars for their members on the sustainability agenda in order to bring the Ghanaian professional up to speed about global action on sustainability.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Building Technology, College of Art and Built Environment in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Science.