Risk management in sustainable construction projects: A systematic literature review and bibliometric analysis

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Industrial Engineering Department,, Engineering Faculty, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran

2 Industrial Engineering Department, Engineering Faculty, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran





In recent years, with the expansion of the concept of sustainable development in the life cycle of construction projects and the dynamic and eventful nature of these projects, the problem of sustainable risk management has been getting more and more attention from researchers. However, the lack of systematic review and bibliometric analysis of published research in this field has obscured the future perspective and evolution of this field of study. This study aims to evaluate and draw the body of literature to identify potential research gaps and highlight the boundaries of knowledge in risk management of sustainable construction projects (SCPs).


This study is descriptive-analytical and is considered a systematic review in terms of implementation method. The PRISMA guideline was adopted to systematically review the literature and descriptive and content analysis. In this regard, while retrieving and screening 1630 articles published in Scopus and Web of Science databases from 2015 to 2023, 113 eligible articles were analyzed. To complete the systematic literature review, a bibliometric analysis (including a co-authorship and keywords co-occurrence analysis) was conducted using VOSviewer software for a more comprehensive evaluation of the field of SCPs' risk management.


Regarding the descriptive analysis of retrieved papers based on the year of publication and their frequency in various journals, it was found that researcher consideration of SCPs' risk management has increased in recent years. The content analysis of the articles based on research themes indicated that the articles were classified into five main themes, including general risks of sustainability, sustainable procurement, supply chain, technology adoption, and human resources. By deep exploration of the papers, it was observed that SCPs' risks were mainly categorized into eight dimensions, including financial and economic; social; executive, managerial, and organizational; knowledge and skills; governmental and legal; stakeholders/employers; environmental; and technology, equipment, and resources. According to the research method, the contribution of experimental and applied research in the SCPs' risk management was less than the descriptive and review research, which highlighted opportunities to conduct applied research considering different problems and assumptions. In terms of strategy, a significant number of papers adopted the survey method, and some papers were conducted based on the case study. Considering that the accuracy and generalizability of the research results in the survey method is more than the case study, the tendency of the researchers was more towards the survey strategy. Besides, researchers often used statistical analysis methods for assessing SCPs' risks. According to the bibliometric analysis and the keywords co-occurrence results in the field of SCPs' risk management, it's expected that future researchers more focus on concepts, approaches, and fields such as circular economy, recycling, risk assessment, factor analysis, leadership in energy and environment, developing countries, and questionnaire surveys.


According to the findings, it is expected that future articles will be directed in terms of content and methodology towards completing the puzzle of sustainability risk management system (identification, evaluation, control, and response to risk) in SCPs, especially in developing countries, in the form of experimental and applied studies with a mixed method and the application of a hybrid approach under uncertainty. Various studies have investigated the barriers and risks of construction projects from different aspects of sustainability, such as economic, environmental, and social, among which the economic dimension has gotten more attention from researchers than others, which does not bring a comprehensive assessment of the risk of sustainable projects. However, such studies are necessary for the efficient allocation of resources. The main contribution of this research to the bibliometric analysis of SCPs’ risk management to determine the direction of future research is unique in its way.


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