Sri Lanka Sustainable Housing and Construction Roadmap 2020 – 2050

Messages      Vision      About the Roadmap       

Hon. Minister Prasanna Ranatunga

Message from Minister of Urban Development and Housing

The Government of Sri Lanka is committed to achieving Sustainable development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 and fulfilling the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to UNFCC as a signatory to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. As a part of achieving these commitments, driving the housing and construction sector towards resource efficiency and sustainability is a major requirement, as it is one of the most polluting and Green House Gas (GHG) emitting industries, which has been the fourth largest contributor to the economy during the past decade. 

I am happy that the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing has played the leadership role in this effort by developing the Sri Lanka Sustainable Housing and Construction Roadmap 2020-2050, which provides direction for policy makers, regulatory and enforcement authorities, researchers, designers, contractors and builders to drive the construction industry towards more resource efficient and sustainable ways of doing business. Therefore I request all stakeholders in the housing and construction sector to use the roadmap as a living document to shape a sustainable future for the housing and construction sector.

Hon. State Minister Thenuka Vidanagamage

Message from State Minister Urban  Development and Housing

Sri Lanka as an island nation has finite natural resources and is highly prone to climate change impacts. With the projected growth of population and resultant demand for housing, will have a devastating impact on the environment in terms of building materials extraction, waste generation, land degradation, energy consumption and Green House Gas emissions unless and otherwise the industry moves towards resource efficiency, sustainability and circularity.

This in terms will affect the quality of life of the future generations. Therefore a paradigm shift is required in the housing and construction sector throughout the lifecycle of housing and buildings from planning and design, operations through to demolition and decommissioning. The Sri Lanka Sustainable Housing and Construction Roadmap paves the way for hosing and construction to move towards sustainability by identifying challenges and gaps in sustainable building construction throughout the lifecycle of housing and building.I take this opportunity to congratulate the project team led by the Ministry, the consultants, UN-Habitat, UNEP and UNOPS teams and the One Planet Multi Partner Trust Fund for SDG 12 and the Multi Stakeholder Expert Group for their support and expertise to make this endeavor a success.

Hon. State Minister  Arundika Fernando

Message from State Minister Urban Development and Housing

It is my pleasure to witness the launch of the Sri Lanka Sustainable Housing and Construction Roadmap 2020-2050.  The State Ministry of Rural Housing construction and Building Materials Industries Promotion was associated with this endeavor since its inception, led by the Secretary and his team, when I was the State Minister. The process of developing the Roadmap spanned nearly one year, with multiple workshops conducted with the participation of the Multi Stakeholder Expert Group established for the purpose. It is the same group consisting of government departments and authorities, chambers and professional bodies, researchers and academia, the private sector, and development agencies who can move implementation of the Roadmap through policy and regulatory reform, capacity building and skills development  for mainstreaming sustainable buildings and construction, green financing and research and development on sustainable building materials and technologies. It is my earnest wish that the same group would take this initiative forward by establishing a Steering Committee for operationalizing the Roadmap.

I would like to acknowledge the contribution made by the Multi-Stakeholder Expert Group, the team of Consultants, UN agencies supporting the initiative and finally the team at the Ministry for making this endeavor a success.

Message from the Secretary Ministry of Urban Development and Housing

The construction sector is one of the most resource-intensive and high environmental impact sub-sectors of the Sri Lankan Economy, which is the fourth largest sector  contributing an average of 6% -7% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country during the last decade. Most building materials in Sri Lanka are produced from non-renewable resources through mining and quarrying.

A high degree of informality is observed in these processes which has severe environmental implications. Green House Gas emissions from the construction sector are significant in cement, steel, brick and tile production, transport. Deforestation due to harvesting of timber for construction further contributes to Carbon Dioxide build-up in the atmosphere, by reducing sequestration.

Further on-site operations during construction, building operations and maintenance, decommissioning and disposal of construction debris are other areas of concern which have significant negative environmental impact.

Although Sri Lanka is on track for achieving most SDG targets by 2030, Significant concerns remains on achieving SDG 12 targets on sustainable production and consumption. Sustainable Buildings and Construction will be key to achieving the SDG 12 targets and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by Sri Lanka.

In order to integrate resource efficiency and sustainability in the Construction Sector, particularly in housing and constructions a clear pathway needs to be identified to address gaps and challenges pertaining to sustainability and resource efficiency. Sri Lanka Roadmap for Sustainable Housing and Construction developed under the leadership of the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing fulfills this requirement, by assessing the current status of housing and construction in Sri Lanka, identifying challenges and gaps pertaining to resource efficiency and sustainability and elaborating actions to overcome identified challenges and gaps. This document is a useful tool for key stakeholders in housing and construction to chart the future pathway towards sustainability, through operationalization of the actions laid out in the Roadmap.

Eng. Keerthi Ranjith Abeysiriwardena

Message from Additional Secretary (Housing and Construction), Ministry of Urban Development and Housing

 As a signatory to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, Sri Lanka is obligated to meet Nationally Determined Contributions for reduction of Green House Gas emissions by 14.5%. Moreover, significant challenges exist for Sri Lanka to achieve SDG 12 – Sustainable Production and Consumption targets. Under this scenario, the housing and construction sector in Sri Lanka needs to make a paradigm shift in its operations, as it is the largest contributor to GHG emissions and environmental degradation. The Country Assessment conducted as a precursor to the Sri Lanka Sustainable Housing and Construction Roadmap revealed the magnitude and nature of issues in the housing and construction sector in moving towards sustainability throughout the lifecycle of buildings, from urban planning to decommissioning and disposal. Several gaps and challenges in mainstreaming sustainability and resource efficiency, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions have been identified, and a holistic approach involving a multitude of stakeholders across the construction sector value chain is required to mitigate these gaps and challenges.

The Sri Lanka Roadmap for Sustainable Housing and Construction provides the framework to mitigate these challenges. It lays out in detail actions for eight focus areas including urban planning, building design, materials, operations and maintenance, appliances, clean energy, demolition and decommissioning, resilience, and clean energy, to achieve resource efficiency and sustainability. It is my earnest wish that the Roadmap will be used as a living document in policy formulation, strategic planning and day to operations in the construction industry, in order that the industry moves forward towards resource efficiency and sustainability.

I am greatly privileged to be associated with the Roadmap formulation process from its inception, in the capacity of Secretary of the State Ministry of Rural Housing Construction and Building Materials industries Promotion.  The inputs and feedback provided by the Multi- Stakeholder Expert Group consisting of representatives from government and semi- government institutions, professional bodies, chambers, academics, the private sector and development partners established for the purpose, has been invaluable and ensured that the Roadmap was developed through a participatory approach integrating the views and perspectives of a cross section of the construction industry.  The support provided by experts at UN-Habitat, UNOPs and UNEP headquarters for their technical support and guidance, the team of Consultants and the UN-Habitat Sri Lanka team has been invaluable in putting together this Roadmap.

Vision 2050 for Sustainable Building Construction in Sri Lanka

By 2050, housing and construction in Sri Lanka are socially inclusive, environmentally sustainable and carbon neutral

About Sri Lanka Sustainable Housing and Construction Roadmap 2020 – 2050

The United Nations Joint Programme on Resource Efficient Housing, is led by UN-Habitat in partnership with UNEP and UNOPS, and in support of the goals of the One Planet Network Sustainable Buildings and Construction (SBC) Programme. The overall aim of the joint programme is “Promoting a common approach to supporting countries in leveraging their buildings and construction sector to achieve the SDGs”. The project outputs will 1) provide strategic support to the United Nations Country Teams to help countries in improving the sustainability of buildings and their impact on the environment, in particular on carbon emissions, 2) support governments in transforming their buildings and construction sector to be a resource efficient, low carbon and climate resilient sector, through coherent policy support and results-focused programming based on science and facts.

The programme was piloted in Sri Lanka and Burkina Faso for 2021/2022. The Sustainable Building Country Assessment is the first output of the project, which was followed by the Sri Lanka Roadmap for Sustainable Housing and Construction. The outputs are delivered in a participatory manner with inputs and validation of key stakeholders in the housing, building and construction industry of Sri Lanka.


This report presents the findings of the Sustainable Building Construction Country Assessment for Sri Lanka (SBC-CA) and a Roadmap for Sustainable Housing and Construction and achieving NDCs in the construction industry in Sri Lanka. It examines the current status, and potential opportunities and challenges for adopting Sustainable Building Construction (SBC) practices and policies. The Country Assessment and the Roadmap are structured on the approach laid out by the ‘Global Alliance for Building Construction (Global ABC) Roadmap for Buildings and Construction 2020-2050, where 8 Action Areas have been identified for the transition towards sustainability in the Construction Sector:

1.    Urban planning

2.    New Buildings

3.    Existing Buildings

4.    Building Operations

5.    Appliances and Systems

6.    Materials

7.    Resilience

8.    Clean Energy

The Roadmap outlines recommendations to be implemented in each of these broad areas of action together with overarching policy recommendations. The methodology of conducting the Country Assessment was based on the Resource Efficiency Country Construction Assessment Tool (RE-CCAT).

The Resource Efficiency Country Construction Assessment Tool (RE-CCAT) developed by UNOPS, UNEP and UN-Habitat was developed for the purpose of construction sustainability analysis and informing policy and action, which supports (1) the country building and housing context analysis and, (2) the enabling environment assessment to identify the challenges and opportunities to improve planning, delivery and management of resource efficient buildings and housing. The tool follows the 10 stages of the building life cycle from strategic planning to decommissioning and analyses of 7 enabling environment domains: 1] Institutional arrangements, 2) Processes, 3) Policy, laws and regulations, 4) Funding and financial management, 5) Knowledge and technical resources, 6) Stakeholder engagement and, 7) Data management, monitoring and reporting.

Data for analysis was acquired through 1) desktop study, 2) key informant interviews, 3) short consultations and, 4) workshops which provided inputs and feedback from the multi-stakeholder expert group. The report is organised into three parts. The first part provides an overview of the country construction industry, the housing sector, environmental management and the vision for climate resilience. The second, gives the context and the way-forward for the eight Action Areas identified for the transition towards SBC. The third presents cross-cutting challenges and enablers identified in the study, provides conclusions and overarching policy recommendations and the Roadmap for SBC towards 2050.

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For more information please contact

Mr. Aleem on 0773268298

Ms. Aziza – 0777716288