Site safety is one critical factor affecting the sustainability of skyscrapers and decoration, repair, and maintenance projects. Many newly-built skyscrapers exceed 50 storeys in Hong Kong and decoration, repair, and maintenance projects are widely performed to extend the lifespans of buildings. Although many cities do not contain skyscrapers at present, this will change in the future. Likewise, more decoration, repair, and maintenance projects will emerge. Thus, the present research, which compares the safety risks among the new and DSR projects, provides insights for builders, policymakers, and safety personnel. Moreover, research studies which rank and compare decoration, repair, and maintenance projects and new skyscraper constructions are scarce. The use of the evidence-based practice approach, which aims to narrow the gap between practice and academia in construction safety research, is the first of its kind. In this paper, we firstly provide a systematic literature review from 1999 to 2019 regarding construction safety, and then study the industry’s perspectives by analysing the construction practitioners’ interview results, court cases, and analytic hierarchy process survey results to compare them with the literature. It is found that the generation gap and prolonged working hours lead to accidents—a phenomenon which is unique in Hong Kong and absent from the literature. It also reveals that most accidents happen on new building sites due to tower crane failure, while those on DSR projects are linked with the circular saw. Although many of the contractors involved in new buildings are wealthier than DSR contractors, it is surprising to learn that lack of funding for safety is the most important factor linked to safety risks on the sites.
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