Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Shen, L., Tam, V. W.Y., Tam, L. & Ji, Y. (2010). Project feasibility study: the key to successful implementation of sustainable and socially responsible construction management practice. Journal of Cleaner Production, 18 (3), 254-259.


This paper introduces a new approach for conducting project feasibility study by embracing the principles of sustainable development. Construction projects, in particular, infrastructures have major influence on the attainment of sustainable development, thus project sustainability needs to be considered. This becomes a pressing issue particularly in those developing countries or regions, such as China where a huge amount of construction works are currently performed and remain to happen in the future. Previous study has addressed little on the relevance of project feasibility study to project sustainability performance. The importance of incorporating sustainable development principles in conducting project feasibility study is not effectively understood by project stakeholders. This paper addresses major challenges of undertaking project feasibility study in line with sustainable construction practice with reference to the Chinese construction industry. A case study approach is the major research method in this study. The research team collected 87 feasibility study reports from various projects. Attributes are used for measuring project performance, including 18 economic performance attributes, nine social performance attributes, and eight environmental performance attributes. Research results show that economic performance is given the most concern in the current practice of project feasibility study, whilst less attention is given to the social and environmental performance. The study reveals the insufficiency of examining the performance of implementing a construction project from the perspective of sustainable development. The results also suggest the need for shifting the traditional approach of project feasibility study to a new approach that embraces the principles of sustainable development.