Transforming the Construction Industry Towards the Next Normal


Submission portal opens on Scholar One (do not submit before this date): 15th October 2021. [Note: Please do contact us if you have a suitable paper ready for submission before 15th Oct. 2021].

Submission Deadline: 15th December 2021

Overview of special issue

Recent imperatives, trends and advancements in the construction sector have pitched the trajectory of construction industry 4.0 and sustainable development themes towards more urgent applications. This urgency has been spurred by the implications of COVID-19, climate change and complex competitiveness in the construction industry. The ever-changing roles of construction stakeholders in meeting and exceeding clients' expectations in the new normal require new studies. Accordingly, the proposed theme of the Special Issue (SI) was conceived to elicit and investigate the expectations of the next normal and to propose necessary changes that need to be carried out to the roles and responsibilities of the industry stakeholders for a smooth transition to the next normal.  Although it seems the exogenous attributes of the construction industry are contributing to changes in construction organisations, inherent endogenous attributes in these organisations must be studied to facilitate a better transition towards the next normal. Construction organisations’ investments in continual training and new IT infrastructure are expected to lessen the challenges posed by COVID-19 and climate change requirements in construction. Alleviations of these strains on project delivery and competitiveness may be temporary and thus, may necessitate a new strategy. The key question to ask is “to what extent have organisational investments, and efforts assuaged the risks of construction in changing subtleties affecting construction projects, stakeholder management, and exploitation of new opportunities?” Therefore, the SI would elicit new research that is essential in explaining, exploring, and continually refining current and novel construction business models and strategies that work to transform the sector towards the next normal. Globally, governments’ construction legislations and laws on sustainable construction have not provided synergistic solutions to reduce the rising cost of construction materials, nor of construction itself. Similarly, there are self-defeating disconnects, rather than the expected synergies between: (A) new construction business models, (B) digitalisation and automation in construction and (C) the imperatives to enhance construction productivity. Within this context, the SI is also expected to more holistically address these challenges and risks that hinder the transformation towards the next normal, while also uncovering new strategies and methodologies that would proactively assist the construction industry towards transforming to the next normal.

Objectives of the Special Issue:

The proposed Special Issue expects to inspire the authors to develop papers to address the following specific objectives:

  1. To capture and synthesise emerging expectations, along with the underpinning concepts, developing characteristics and key priorities of the ‘next normal’ in the construction industry
  2. To investigate, consolidate and unveil how the hard components (technology, materials etc.) and soft elements (core principles, best practices and protocols, perceptions and attitudes etc.) of the construction industry need to be proactively transformed to achieve the envisioned next optimal normal
  3. To revisit and review current roles of industry players/stakeholders and propose necessary changes in these current roles and/or identify new roles and responsibility distributions for enabling the transformation towards the targeted next industry normal
  4. To probe, unearth and disseminate current and potential applications of advanced technologies e.g. from and beyond Construction 4.0 strategies and tool-kits; that empower remote capabilities and operations to accelerate the next normal in construction
  5. To investigate, analyse and promote revised priorities, principles and practices for climate-change mitigation and sustainable construction e.g. including and beyond Circular Economy and other environmental protection strategies and tool-kits, in transforming the construction industry towards the next sustainable normal
  6. To analyse, consolidate and communicate how best to identify and handle the ‘new’ risk dynamics and challenges associated with the next normal in construction.

Anticipated Themes:

The following is an indicative, hence a non-exhaustive, list of anticipated themes that could be explored in different papers in this Special Issue:

  • Legislative and Regulatory changes needed
  • Low/zero carbon buildings and infrastructures
  • Innovative business models
  • Sustainable construction and Circular Economy
  • Digital twin adoption
  • Virtual and Augmented Reality
  • Blockchain technology
  • Data driven planning and decision making
  • Creative project funding arrangements
  • Off-site construction/ modular construction
  • Changing risks and building project resilience
  • Life cycle cost and carbon management
  • Augmenting scarce resources (i.e., labour, material)
  • Construction productivity
  • New materials and technology
  • Building Information Modelling
  • Risk management in modern methods of construction
  • Stakeholder management in the new normal

We will welcome submissions on any related topics in the context of the above themes.

Submission details

Submissions to BEPAM should be through ScholarOne Manuscripts. Registration and access are available at:

Author guidelines must be strictly followed. Please see:

The total word count limit (including Figures and Tables, counted at 280 words each) is 8,500 words. Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal.

Interested authors should select (from the drop-down menu) the special issue “Transforming the Construction Industry Towards the Next Normal” at the appropriate step in the submission process, i.e., in response to “Please select the issue you are submitting to”.

Key Dates:

Papers for this special issue should be submitted through the above portal from 15th October 2021 till 15th December 2021 inclusive.

Note 1: Those who may have suitable papers ready for submission before 15th October 2021 may contact us, for any possible early access.

Note 2: Any new submissions after the deadline of 15th December 2021 cannot be considered for this Special Issue.

Note 3: If considered useful by potential authors, Draft Abstracts may be submitted for consideration before 10th October 2021. If so, these must be in the structured Emerald format i.e., under prescribed sub-headings, as specified in the Author Guidelines; and submitted to (Prof.) Udayangani Kulatunga to [email protected]



Guest editors

Prof. Udayangani Kulatunga

Department of Building Economics, Faculty of Architecture, University of Moratuwa, Katubedda, 10400, Sri Lanka.

Email: [email protected] 

Dr Temitope Omotayo

School of Built Environment, Engineering and Computing, Leeds Beckett University, Northern Terrace, City Campus, Leeds, LS2 8AG, United Kingdom.

Email: [email protected] 

Dr Michele Victoria

Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment, The Sir Ian Wood Building, Riverside East, Robert Gordon University, Garthdee Road, Aberdeen, AB10 7GJ, United Kingdom.

Email: [email protected]

Any inquiries should be emailed to (Prof.) Udayangani Kulatunga to [email protected]