Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Construction engineering, Education, general, including:, Environmental sciences (social aspects

Publication Details

Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland


The built environment sector provides the homes, workplaces, amenities and infrastructure to support everyday activity, and is a key contributor to economic growth and employment, but also to emissions and resource use. Construction, land and property surveyors are engaged throughout the built environment lifecycle and therefore, are uniquely positioned to lead and accelerate the transformational change required to ensure a sustainable built environment. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) provide a blueprint exhibiting social, economic and environmental goals to be considered as a system of interrelated objectives. Attainment of the SDGs requires a global approach, which is entrenched in national, local and sectoral actions. There are many challenges to achieving the SDGs, chief amongst them is whether sufficient capacity and capability exists to deliver on sustainability measures outlined in Government strategies, for example ‘Housing for All’, the ‘National Climate Action Plan’ and the ‘National Development Plan (NDP)’. Government policy is underpinned by a legally binding international agreement to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and it is imperative that sufficient knowledge and competence exists to advise public and private sector clients on sustainable solutions to achieve these ambitions. The purpose of this report is to provide a baseline of sustainable development knowledge, skills and competence, which heretofore was undetermined within surveying professions. Research was undertaken in three phases involving education providers, practising surveying professionals and a range of non-surveying professionals with expertise in sustainable development. Findings from the research confirm that higher education institutions (HEIs) within which SCSI-accredited surveying programmes are delivered have implemented numerous initiatives to ensure sustainable development forms part of academic curriculum and co-curriculum. HEIs, through a complex ecosystem of stakeholders have tremendous reach and influence, therefore the incorporation of sustainability in corporate and operational strategy is an encouraging indication of HEIs commitment in this regard. At a programme level, sustainability is embedded in surveying programme content and coupled with a wide range of assessment methods employed, demonstrates that sustainability literacy is fostered amongst learners. Whilst these findings are encouraging, scope exists for a more explicit articulation of sustainable development content within programmes. Participants in this research were overwhelmingly in support of the proposition that future SCSI accreditation should be conditional upon alignment to SDGs. Surveying practitioners acknowledge the criticality of sustainable development but are at differing stages on the journey towards fully entrenching it within their business. Engagement in sustainability training is prevalent, but the measurement and monitoring of aspects such as carbon emissions is varied. The key drivers of sustainable solutions being advised upon derive from client demand, Government policy, as well as for the common good, though skills shortages and cost inflation present significant challenges. Transparent sustainability credentials are increasingly demanded by clients and the authentic advancement of environmental social governance (ESG) is important to improve business operations, and may result in competitive advantage in the process. ESG training and development is required to further develop expertise in this area. The research provides important new insight into the current knowledge and practice of sustainable development within the surveying profession, which can act as a yardstick against which future progress may be measured. A range of recommendations and associated actions are suggested to propel and support surveying professionals in leading the way in the provision of innovative solutions for a sustainable built environment.


Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland