Developing a corporate sustainability performance evaluation model of the UAE construction contractors
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It is widely accepted that construction project success correlates positively with contractors’ qualifications, including their sustainability performance; this performance has to be measured to inform clients’ decisions during contractor prequalification and selection. While a significant number of sustainability evaluation systems has been developed at the project level, limited research and practice exists in sustainability evaluation of construction organisations including contracting companies. In the UAE, the accelerated policy-making process and sustainability movement represent both an opportunity to accelerate the change, and a challenge for construction companies to adapt to this change in an efficient and effective way. Clients in the UAE are thus in urgent need of selecting the right contractor for successful delivery of their sustainable projects and for design of their sustainable supply chain. The main aim of this study is to develop a multi-criteria evaluation model of the UAE construction contractors based on their sustainability performance. This study undertakes a critical review of existing corporate sustainability standards and similar studies. The existing criteria suggested by previous studies are reviewed, cross-referenced and categorised to compose a conceptual framework for the model. The model criteria and domains are then validated and updated through expert interviews followed by expert survey. The updated model is further refined and validated through exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses of the main contractors’ questionnaire survey. First order, second order and bifactor models for the five domains have been evaluated and contrasted prior to the assessment of higher-order models. Factor analysis results reveal a poor fit of the multi-scale third-order models and suggest the adoption of ‘independent’ bifactor models for five performance evaluation scales namely: 1) policy and governance, 2) corporate workplace, 3) management of employees, 4) procurement and supply chain and 5) project delivery. The present study contributes to the academic fields of corporate sustainable construction and scale development. In practice, the developed model can be adopted by local authorities as a sustainability classification system for contractors. It can also be used by clients as a supporting decision-making tool during the prequalification stage and as part of their sustainable supply chain design. The evaluation model can also help contractors track and benchmark their performance and provide clear evidence of their sustainability performance and identify areas of necessary improvement.