Sustainable urban development through increased construction in wood? : a study of municipalities’ cooperation in major construction projects in Sweden
Sammanfattning: The increased awareness of the construction industry's impact on the global climate combined with the current housing shortage in Sweden has contributed to an increasing ask for more wood in construction amongst stakeholders, municipalities and politicians. In order to meet Sweden's climate goals it is necessary that new materials, technologies and working methods continue to evolve. Knowledge, cooperation and communication are described as important elements in order to develop the work towards increased sustainability in the construction sector in Sweden. Through different forms of cooperation, knowledge and risk can be spread between the involved actors in large capital-intensive construction projects while the construction process tends to be streamlined and life cycle costs minimized. The purpose of this study is to explain the importance of cooperation between private and public actors in major construction projects in Sweden. The study focuses on perceived advantages and disadvantages with public-private partnership as collaborative form, but also how this interaction, through increased wood construction, can lead to more developed and sustainable urban development. The study focuses on how this form of cooperation can benefit both public actors, such as municipalities, as well as private actors on the market. The study is based on qualitative interviews with representatives from seven different municipalities in Sweden. The sample for the study was carried out through active searches in the Central Statistics Office, where the selection of units was based on the number of completed apartment buildings during the last three and five year period. The reason why these municipalities were chosen with regard to the number of completed apartment buildings was based on the fact that they are deemed to have a great potential for expanded wood construction within the municipality. Another aspect that was included in the choice of respondent was that the municipalities that produce the most apartment buildings are expected to have a good insight into the complex issues that the study is focused on. The results of the study show an overall positive image to wood as a building material. The main advantages of wood as a building material are described as the possibility of prefabrication, climate-friendly material and increased competition on the construction market. Perceived difficulties with wood as a building material is described as lack of knowledge and experience, conservative construction industry and that there are too few producers of building elements in wood. The results show that cooperation between public and private actors is taking place in a large part of the municipalities today. Public-Private Partnership (PPP) is mainly used through project competitions and land display through open procedures. A majority of respondents argue that cooperation is very important within the municipality in order to be able to carry out these larger and more complex construction projects. These collaborations are described to increase the spread of knowledge between market actors, provide an opportunity for municipalities to influence the market, and that risks associated with the projects can be spread between the involved actors. Respondents describe that there are few disadvantages associated with public-private partnership. The disadvantages identified in this study are described as lack of skilled labour and that there is a difficulty in meeting the various interests of the cooperation.
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