Establishing the limitations of sustainable construction in developing countries: a systematic literature review using PRISMA

Olabode Emmanuel Ogunmakinde, Temitope Egbelakin, Willy Sher, Temitope Omotayo, Mercy Ogunnusi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)



Purpose – Establishing a more sustainable built environment is an increasing global concern for the construction
industry. Despite the intrinsic and extrinsic obstacles the stakeholders face, huge efforts are required to transition to a
smooth, sustainable construction (SC) practice. This study identifies and discusses cogent obstacles to SC in developing nations.

Design/methodology/approach – The Preferred Reporting Item for systematic reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA)
approach was employed to establish research work in SC for developing countries. The databases used were Scopus and Web of
Science. Meta-analysis of keywords was analysed thematically. The initial broad search returned 8,420 publications which were
filtered and reviewed in-depth to fit the aim of the study, produced only 21 relevant publications from the years 2000–2021.

Findings – The four identified themes of obstacles to SC in developing countries are as follows: construction professional
training and education, clients’ attitudes and awareness, construction industries’ culture and capacity and governments’
regulation, policies and economy. The key barriers identified from the meta-analysis include inadequate training and
education amongst construction professionals, poor execution of sustainability ethics, poor populace attitude towards
sustainability, poor awareness and understanding, dearth of precise data and integrated study and inappropriate priorities about

Originality/value – The originality in this study are themes drawn from millennium development goals (MDGs) and
sustainable development goals (SDGs) publications related to SC. Consequently, the final framework presented a
holistic approach to surmounting the established limitations and aided recommendations for future studies. Thus,
setting a background for developing strategies to overcome the limitations and further attain sustainable development (SD).

Keywords Construction industry, Developing countries, Sustainable construction, Sustainability

Paper type Literature review
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-17
Number of pages17
JournalSmart and Sustainable Built Environment
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2023


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