Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Adapting to Constraints - A Study of Green Star New Zealand's Effects on Decision Making using Classic Grounded Theory

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posted on 2021-11-15, 15:14 authored by Prins, Hendrik

Over the last 25 years building rating systems have been developed to quantify and promote sustainable development in the construction industry. Many countries have now developed their own rating system and some systems have been adapted for international use. The different outcomes and results from their use have been under much scrutiny from developers, clients, industry, and academics. Concerns such as increased cost, points buying, and discrepancies between the rated design and completed projects have been identified.   In order to better understand why these concerns occur, the Green Star New Zealand rating system – adapted from Green Star Australia – was studied to quantify its effects on rated projects. The overall aim of this thesis was to investigate the effects of Green Star New Zealand on the decision making process. Specifically, the way in which this system affects the decision making processes during the design of a rated building was investigated to provide insight into reasons why these different outcomes may occur.   This was undertaken through a classic grounded theory study during which professionals experienced in the use of Green Star were interviewed, and the data collected from the interviews was inductively analysed to generate conceptual theory and concepts. The interview data and discussion with the participants identified that decision making is affected largely through the different constraints and conditions encountered when using Green Star and how they are adapted to. These are applied to decision making through a number of different ways, being directly or indirectly related to Green Star, something decided on with or without prior experience, or internal or external to the design team.  The analysis identified several categories which explained processes and behaviours resulting from the use of Green Star. These are ‘managing Green Star requirements’, ‘credit targeting’, ‘working with unknowns’, ‘disconnection of knowledge’, and ‘balancing project requirements’. It is these categories that caused adaptation to emerge as the primary process of resolving constraints, with ‘adapting to constraints’ emerging as the core variable.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Building Science

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Building Science

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


Baird, George