6 research outputs found

    Exploring the 'hidden' in organisations: methodological challenges in construction management research

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    There has been recognition of the limitations of technocratic approaches to construction management research, and critical theorists in the field have often rejected prescriptive explanations of social phenomena. Thus, there has been a rise in the use of interpretive methodological approaches and a proliferation of qualitative research methods in the construction management literature. Still, interpretive research that requires interaction between the researcher and her informants often confronts the age-old, fundamental challenge that is posed to social science research: that is, what really does go on in organisations, beyond what is (and can be) said and seen? Through post-hoc reflection of a recent study into innovation in construction, it was found that multiple perspectives matter in shaping our understanding of how innovative practices manifests in construction. An observation was also made regarding the hidden agendas of senior management participants in recognising, rewarding and promoting innovation, which potentially contribute to disconnections between theory and practice of innovation in construction. Questions are raised as to how researchers can help articulate these ‘hidden’ agendas and methodological challenges discussed here points to the virtues and limitations of the ethnographic approach

    The impacts of personal stress upon critical project decision making in construction

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    The range of responsibilities for construction managers has become increasingly complex due to additional legal requirements and more widespread stakeholder involvements. These additional pressures potentially impact on the integrity of managers’ decisions when advancing building projects safely and efficiently. The aim of the study is to develop a greater understanding of the direct and indirect effects of work stress upon the critical decision making practice of those charged with significant responsibility in construction projects. Fifty-five questionnaires and a further five interviews were completed by construction project development managers to test and ascertain the hypothesis: “What are the effects of accumulated personal stress buildup upon important project decision making and how can this be managed by construction managers?” The results of the survey indicated that stress is highly subjective and not readily assigned to specific decision making impacts for all managers. However, in terms of the mitigation of stress upon decisions, the results of this study revealed that decision confidence in relation to managerial support had the greatest overall influence upon decision clarity and outcome

    Recognising and rewarding innovation in construction: exploring disconnections in managerial discourse

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    The construction industry has often been considered a 'low innovation' sector. This research seeks to understand more deeply the manifestation of innovation at the construction workplace and raises questions as to whether there is really a dearth of innovative practices in construction. A series of 20 interviews were undertaken with manager and workers across a typical construction supply chain. The interviews were supplemented by participant observations in a single case organisation. The inquiry process sought the stakeholders’ interpretation of what innovation meant for them in construction, and explored the implications ‘innovation’ had on practice. The findings revealed the existence of a (misguided) sense of orthodoxy in the way the extant literature defined the concept of innovation. Accepted measures of innovation mean very little for workers who have to deal with operational realities of making the construction project work. Managerial interviews have highlighted their tendency for offering idealised accounts of what innovation means to the business and how innovation works. Conversely, the differing explanations by the workers show a distinct lack of recognition and reward for innovative practices in the industry. This research makes the case for a need to broaden the way innovation is conceptualised and measured

    BIM and its impact upon project success outcomes from a Facilities Management perspective

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    The uptake of Building Information Modelling (BIM) has been increasing, but some of its promoted potential benefits have been slow to materialise. In particular, claims that BIM will revolutionise facilities management (FM) creating efficiencies in the whole-life of building operations have yet to be achieved on a wide scale, certainly in comparison to tangible progress made for the prior design and construction phases. To attempt to unravel the factors at play in the adoption of BIM during the operational phase, and in particular, understand if adoption by facilities managers (FMs) is lagging behind other disciplines, this study aims to understand if current BIM processes can ease the challenges in this area faced by facilities management project stakeholders. To do this, success from a facilities management viewpoint is considered and barriers to facilities management success are explored, with focused BIM use proposed as a solution to these barriers. Qualitative research was undertaken, using semi structured interviews to collect data from a non-probability sample of 7 project- and facilities- management practitioners. Key results from this study show that the main barrier to BIM adoption by facilities managers is software interoperability, with reports that facilities management systems are unable to easily import BIM data produced during the design and construction stages. Additionally, facilities managers were not treated as salient stakeholders by Project Managers, further negatively affecting facilities management project success outcomes. A µresistance to change was identified as another barrier, as facilities managers were sceptical of the ability of current BIMenabled systems promoted as being FM compatible to be able to replicate their existing Computer Aided Facility Management (CAFM) legacy software and its user required capabilities. The results of this study highlight that more work is needed to ensure that BIM benefits the end user, as there was no reported use of BIM data for dedicated facilities management purposes. Further investigation into the challenges of interoperability could add significant value to this developing research area.The uptake of Building Information Modelling (BIM) has been increasing, but some of its promoted potential benefits have been slow to materialise. In particular, claims that BIM will revolutionise facilities management (FM) creating efficiencies in the whole-life of building operations have yet to be achieved on a wide scale, certainly in comparison to tangible progress made for the prior design and construction phases. To attempt to unravel the factors at play in the adoption of BIM during the operational phase, and in particular, understand if adoption by facilities managers (FMs) is lagging behind other disciplines, this study aims to understand if current BIM processes can ease the challenges in this area faced by facilities management project stakeholders. To do this, success from a facilities management viewpoint is considered and barriers to facilities management success are explored, with focused BIM use proposed as a solution to these barriers. Qualitative research was undertaken, using semi structured interviews to collect data from a non-probability sample of 7 project- and facilities- management practitioners. Key results from this study show that the main barrier to BIM adoption by facilities managers is software interoperability, with reports that facilities management systems are unable to easily import BIM data produced during the design and construction stages. Additionally, facilities managers were not treated as salient stakeholders by Project Managers, further negatively affecting facilities management project success outcomes. A µresistance to change was identified as another barrier, as facilities managers were sceptical of the ability of current BIMenabled systems promoted as being FM compatible to be able to replicate their existing Computer Aided Facility Management (CAFM) legacy software and its user required capabilities. The results of this study highlight that more work is needed to ensure that BIM benefits the end user, as there was no reported use of BIM data for dedicated facilities management purposes. Further investigation into the challenges of interoperability could add significant value to this developing research area

    Construction Planning Efficiency and Delivery Time Performance: Analysing Failure in Task-Level ‘Hit Rates’

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    Construction project delivery is considered successful by contracting firms if scope, time, cost, and quality outputs are attained, with any shortcomings in one or more of these representing a failure of sorts. Focusing only on the criteria of 'time', it is noticeable that more recent research efforts have been concentrated on poor time predictability and performance aggregated at construction ‘industry-level’, but minimal attention is retained on planning efficiency at individual ‘project-level’. Yet it is precisely because time performance enactment of individual ‘projects’, and their ‘project phases’, ‘work packages’, and ‘construction tasks’ remains unsatisfactory that predictability of time at an industry level is also recorded as poor. The main aim of this work therefore was to advance the discussion of construction planning efficiency via an analysis of time performance on a small range of recently, and nearly, completed construction projects. Data were obtained from a convenience sample of several major UK contracting organisations, which allowed quantitative analysis to be employed by measuring planning- and delivery- efficiencies. The paper contributes through an explanation of the methods used, and discussion of the findings, which show how in this sample, planning and delivery efficiency is worse than previously considered, with an average of only 38% of project activities starting on and finishing on time. Evidencing such time-performance failure should inform further project- level predictability and productivity research

    The transition from CAD to BIM within architectural practices: resistance to change

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    Building information modelling (BIM) is making a radical impact on the construction industry. The importance of this technological intervention is being reinforced by the government with the recent announcement for BIM to be used as a collaborative tool on all of its projects by 2016. Therefore, in order to remain competitive with regard to the industry’s biggest client, implementation of BIM within architectural practices will be a prerequisite. The aim of this study is to explore the benefits and issues associated with this transformation with a focus on resistance to change and more specifically the impact that previous technological transitions had on architectural practices. A total of eighty participants took part in the gathering of quantitative data via questionnaires, this includes sixty three participants employed by practices which have implemented BIM and seventeen participants employed by practices which have not. In addition to this four interviews were carried out, each interviewee was selected from a different practice to ensure results are not biased towards one practice. Two interviewees were based in practices where BIM has been implemented and two where it has not, to ensure opinions of non-users as well as users are gathered. The results of the survey and interviews indicated that despite the consensus as to the benefits and issues of BIM it is the behavioural issues associated with the transition from CAD to BIM that are the greatest barrier to change
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