Conference Paper

Towards the low carbon transition in the construction industry: A multi-method framework of project management operations and total building performance

Conference Paper

Towards the low carbon transition in the construction industry: A multi-method framework of project management operations and total building performance

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Abstract

The building sector is a large contributor to energy consumption and global carbon emissions. In urban environments, most people spend a large amount of their time in buildings, and their indoor environmental conditions can affect occupant health. The total building performance thus spans energy consumption, carbon emissions, and indoor environment. Underperformance in the building sector is frequent, and it is attributed partially to upstream process of construction project management and operations. Current project management approaches focus on quality, cost and time, so a new a framework is required to study this process in terms of total energy performance and explore ways to reduce the total performance gap. A multi-methodology framework is developed in the paper to analyse the effects of building development project process from an operations management perspective, on building energy consumption, carbon emissions, and indoor environmental quality (IEQ). The framework couples a system dynamics project development model to a building physics model. The paper details the steps of the framework along with the data requirements and the way the two models are coupled, so that it can be replicated on a case by case basis.

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... The key model parameters discussed in sections 3.1-3.3 are partner alignment in the process of project development, the flows of project work and rework through the construction supply chain, and building quality that represents the outcome of the project process (for more details see Papachristos et al. (2018a;b;). ...
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The “performance gap” in the United Kingdom construction industry is a persistent problem as new building development projects underperform more often than not. The “performance gap” is partially attributed to the number of stages involved in building project development and the coordination difficulties of partners with different incentives. The project outcome is important for energy consumption, carbon emissions and occupant well-being. Thus, it is important to study the project management process in terms of the standard time, cost and quality parameters, but also in terms of project partner incentives and coordination, and the subsequent energy performance and resultant indoor environmental conditions. A system dynamics model of project management processes is developed to explore the implications of partner coordination for building quality. The system dynamics model is coupled to a building performance simulation model to explore building energy consumption and Indoor Environmental Quality, and apply this on a recent building project case study. Results show that greater project partner alignment can reduce annual energy consumption up to 12% and CO2 emissions up to 37%, with greater emphasis in the design stage of the project subject to resource availability. The trade-offs involved on value appropriation are considered and discussion of results points to possible ways for improvement.
... The framework is intended for the exploration of CSC operations management effects on operational building performance, and its application in a case is documented in Papachristos et al. (2018aPapachristos et al. ( , 2018bPapachristos et al. ( , 2020 and Wu et al. (2020). The development of the framework thus seeks a theoretically based generality and methodological rigour, but also practical relevance as it can be applied on a case by case basis (Ketokivi and Choi 2014). ...
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The construction industry contributes significantly to energy consumption and carbon emissions. Moreover, people spend more time inside buildings, so their health is increasingly influenced by indoor environmental conditions. When considered through these lenses, the concept of total building performance can span energy consumption, the associated CO2 emissions, and indoor environmental quality (IEQ). At the individual project level, building underperformance with respect to energy and IEQ is frequent, and the ex post performance gap is partially attributed to the construction project management and operations phase of the building lifecycle. This underperformance motivates the research of this paper into the construction process outcomes in terms of energy performance and IEQ, and ways to reduce the performance gap. The paper develops a multi-methodology framework to analyse the effect of building development project process on energy performance and IEQ from an operations management perspective. The framework couples system dynamics modelling of construction project management to building performance modelling. The paper details the way they are coupled, the application steps and data requirements, so that they can be applied on a case by case basis. The aim is to combine operations management to building performance disciplines and deliver insights for industry practitioners and policy makers.
... The SD model was developed in close collaboration with two of the authors with building industry experience that provided sanity checks throughout model development. 4 The key model parameters discussed in Sections 3.1 -3.3 are partner alignment in the process of project development, the flows of project work and rework through the construction supply chain, and building quality that represents the outcome of the project process (for more details see Papachristos et al. [84][85][86] Figure 7 . ...
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There have been numerous research efforts to minimize construction defects and a variety of suggestions have been provided. However, while all of these suggestions are valuable and have the potential to prevent defects, a construction company may have difficulty adopting them due to financial and practical constraints. Thus, this calls for the identification and characterization of the most influential causes of defects, in order to prioritize defect prevention strategies. To address this necessity, this paper aims to identify the most important causes of defects in terms of frequency, magnitude, and pathogenicity. For this goal, a questionnaire survey of 106 industry professionals was conducted to examine 30 causes of defects, collected through an extensive literature review. High frequency and high magnitude causes were identified and traced back to their initiating causes. Accordingly, the five most pathogenic causes were found to be (1) organizational culture, (2) time pressure and constraints, (3) workplace quality system, (4) financial constraints on operational expenses, and (5) inadequate employee training or learning opportunities. This paper is valuable to researchers in terms of developing a theoretical foundation to analyze and visualize the complex mechanisms of defect generation in construction. Further, this paper is of value to practitioners in terms of providing an effective tool to set defect prevention strategies and prioritize investment areas for quality improvements.
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Research driven by major industrial and transportation incidents is increasingly emphasizing the role of managers and systems factors in errors. This is reflected in recent reports and legislation which place emphasis on managerial actions. This paper reports research developing a human error perspective, but applying it to lesser failures in the form of construction defects. An observational study of a 61 unit housing site confirms findings from earlier studies, that managerial factors are important in the occurrence of defects, but also that factors can be linked in a ‘causal chain’. Latent managerial errors are often hidden behind more obvious operative errors, leading to incorrect attributions and ineffective remedial action. The study also supports a conceptual model of the nature of errors in construction projects, which makes explicit the influence of management on the generation of defects and the need to treat organizations as a whole in considering the reasons for failure.
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Purpose – This paper aims to assess the links among these supply chain constructs by conducting a full-scale systematic review of all supply chain management (SCM) literature reviews published in ten leading logistics, SCM and operations management journals from 1989 to 2012. Collaboration and integration are as central to SCM as risk and performance management. Design/methodology/approach – The authors apply content analysis to execute the systematic literature review on the sample of 103 articles, supplemented by contingency analysis. These approaches guarantee a replicable, rigorous and transparent research process and minimize researcher bias. The analytical categories required for the content analysis are defined along the constructs of collaboration/integration and risk/performance. Findings – As can be expected, the review highlights the key role of the two constructs in SCM. In this light, the research claims to provide statistical evidence of a link between the constructs of collaboration/integration and risk/performance, most notably between collaboration and performance, information sharing and rewards sharing, as well as integration and supply chain performance. Research limitations/implications – The study assesses the link between the constructs of collaboration/integration and risk/performance through research embedded in literature reviews, pinpointing research gaps and potential future research directions in the field. Contributing to SCM theory building, a thorough review provides statistical proof of the link between collaboration/integration and risk/performance. Originality/value – Although numerous literature reviews have been conducted in the past on the SCM constructs of collaboration/integration and risk/performance, no full review of literature reviews aiming to test a theoretical link in the here presented form has yet been undertaken to the authors’ knowledge.
Conference Paper
Electric appliances are an indispensable part of a household and through their sheer number contribute substantially to its electricity consumption. This paper explores potential reductions in residential appliance electricity consumption in the Netherlands with smart meters, using two perspectives: a bottom up engineering approach and a sociotechnical perspective. Through the first, policy scenarios are explored regarding efficiency, smart meter and consumer behaviour while with the second broader factors are considered that affect household electricity consumption.
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Purpose – The purpose of this study is to identify the primary root causes of defects in terms of why they persist in construction, despite the increasing implementation of quality systems. Defects in construction continue to be a source of concern in the construction industry. There have been studies that have tried to identify causes of defects. Although concepts are usually related to organisational factors, previous studies have been carried out on an operational level. There is a well-trodden area within the literature relating to the operational level, but little is known about the causes of defects on a higher, organisational level within construction. Design/methodology/approach – A new approach based on the notion of process causality and the use of cognitive mapping has been adopted. The aim was to take a step back and unravel causes of defects in the execution of construction projects. From workshops with representatives drawn from different parts of the industry, themes have been identified and investigated from a causation perspective. Findings – It was found that the causes of defects mainly reside in endogenous factors within organisations as opposed to execution failure or exogenous factors related to market, material or equipment behaviour. Originality/value – More specifically, it was found that the dominant cause of defects lies within organisational shortcomings, suggesting that improvements can be found on the management and strategic levels within projects instead of on the operational level.
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In 2002, the European Union Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) was ratified. This paper uses the lens of one policy measure triggered by the EPBD – Display Energy Certificates (DECs) for non-domestic buildings – to describe the difficulties experienced in capitalizing on a policy intention to use transparency about actual energy performance to drive better energy management and focus energy efficiency investment on things that really work in practice. It reviews the history and precedents of UK Building Regulations and European building energy efficiency policies to identify what helped and hindered progress towards buildings that use less energy in operation; and compares and contrasts building energy certificates based on asset and operational ratings. It also looks at the development paths of operational rating schemes in the US and Australia. It identifies a tendency of regulators to focus on one part of the problem, the so-called ‘regulated loads'; an unhelpful split of government ownership of the topic between various ministries and agencies; a neglect of follow-through, enforcement and feedback; and a political rhetoric that favours an abdication of central government responsibilities to market forces. Based on this evidence, it identifies a number of lessons for improvements to future policy outcomes.
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Defects can have a significant impact on construction performance. A defect is not usually an outcome of a single cause, but rather occurs when multiple interrelated causes combine, forming a defect's pathway. Because defects may occur through numerous pathways, the risks of causes can vary in terms of the number (i.e.,frequency) of pathways that they take part in and the impact (i.e.,magnitude) of the contribution they provide for the formation of these pathways. Several studies have strived to identify generic defect causes; however, research on the analysis of the risk of causes in order to develop further defect management efforts is lacking. To address this deficiency, this study aims to develop a methodology to identify and quantify the risk of defect pathways. Specifically, the study uses a fault-tree approach to construct the taxonomy of the defect causes and uses risk importance measures to assess the identified defect causes in terms of frequency and magnitude. Applying the developed methodology to four residential projects in Dubai confirmed its applicability as an effective tool for analyzing the risk of defect causes in construction. An effective defect-prevention strategy is expected to be further developed by applying the methodology to a large number of defect samples in a subsequent study. This paper makes a contribution to knowledge in the area of construction engineering and management by introducing a quantitative model, which opens a gateway for researchers to address the complex nature of defect generation and to better understand the vulnerability of a construction project system to defects. In addition, this paper is of value to practitioners with respect to providing an effective tool to rank the significance of defect causes and to optimize their resources consumed for defect prevention. (C) 2013 American Society of Civil Engineers.