0115 966 7955 Today's Opening Times 10:00 - 20:00 (BST)

Process Management Methods for Construction Performance

Disclaimer: This dissertation has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional dissertation writers. You can view samples of our professional work here.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UK Essays.


The purpose of this research was to study how the construction performance can be improved by adopting the process management approaches, in order to provide better client value and more cost-efficient production. The research focused on the manufacturing process , and referring point, and transfer this process thinking into the construction. The methods were tested in pilot tests in which the developed cost and value engineering prototype application was used.

This thesis demonstrates an integration of design and production planning based on the product model approach. The final outcome is that the main contractor can utilise information coming from designers as input in its own tendering and cost estimation applications.

The key methodology used for describing the information management process throughout the building process life-cycle was IDEF0. The analysis of the current process (as-is), in the form of an IDEF0 model, helped in identifying the main problems of current practice. The target process (to-be) definition was based on product model utilisation and takes into account the possibilities for process reengineering supported by product data technology. One specific requirement was deemed important in view of the anticipated developments in thearea of data exchange; the target system should be structured in such a way that it could easily be adapted to receive data according to the emerging IFC core model schemas.

The overall result of the research reported in this thesis is that the product model approach can be used for a substantially reengineered information management process of a main contractor, especially in design and construct type contracts



The construction industry is suffering from its fragmented nature¼ˆEuropean Commission, 1994¼‰. The lack of co-ordination and communication between parties, the informal and unstructured learning process, adversarial contractual relationships and the lack of customer focus are what inhibit the performance of the industry (Latham, 1994; Egan, 1998). Because the construction project is regarded as unpredictable in terms of delivery time, cost, profitability and quality, the industry has not been able to combine high quality with productivity, customer satisfaction and flexibility (Fairclough, 2002).

Howell (1999) pointed out that the ‘inefficiency’ of the industry has tended to be the way of life. However, Latham (1994) suggests using the manufacturing as a referencing point and transferring the practices and theories from manufacturing industry. And Howell suggests that the learning from manufacturing could be a two way process: manufacturing could learn from construction in areas such as project-based management; and construction could learn from manufacturing’s developed and developing solutions to improve competitiveness.

In manufacturers are accustomed to taking a process view of their operations, and they usually model both discrete product activities and holistic high-level process both internal and external activities. Base upon this, Egan (1998) recommends that process modelling could be used as a method to improve the construction performance. Furthermore, many other models derived from manufacturing and process management theories have been recognized and adopted by construction companies

Nevertheless, as Ball (1988) summarised, construction industry has distinctive characteristics differentiating from other sectors as well as manufacturing. Although solutions have been recommended, their implementation in manufacturing is far advanced in comparison to construction industry. Thus to what extent these process management approaches and models can improve the design and construction process will need to be examined. RESEARCH AIM

The aim of the research is to understand construction process management and to prove it as an approach that could help to improve the construction performance. In order to achieve the aim, specific objectives were set


The research project objectives are outlined below

l To explore the readiness of construction to embrace the process approach to deliver project

l to identify the present state of process management in construction

l To Study the current trends and developments of construction process management


The starting point of this research is exploring the construction process management approach and find out its influence on construction productivity and competitiveness.

A cross-section research method is adopted in the collection and analysing of the data and presentation of the findings. To obtain comprehensive understanding of the relationship between manufacturing process and construction process, as well as theories on construction process management, a great quantity of books and documents need to be looked through. Then the implementation of process management in construction is inspected by adoption of the case study qualitative research approach.


The general instruction and structure of the report will be provided in this section. The report is organized to consist of six main chapters. A brief description of the content of each chapter is outlined below

Chapter one

In this chapter, the research report is introduced. The research background is addressed. The aim and objectives are also presented.

Chapter two

Chapter two reviews the existing literature. A wide-ranging literature review was carried out to identify the current knowledge and keep up on any development on the field. The literature review covers the understanding of manufacturing process, construction industry situation and problems within it, process management theory, and the implementation of construction process management approach.

Chapter Three

In this chapter, an overall outline of various research methods that might applied in this research is presented. The selection and justification of the research methods are described. The chosen methods and research plan are highlighted in this chapter.

Chapter Four

This chapter examines the collected data and analyzes the data within cases, as well as a detailed cross-case analysis of cases.

Chapter Five

This chapter is directly linked to the chapter four. An in-depth discussion is held based upon the previous analysis and research.

Chapter Six

This chapter provides the conclusion of the report as well as the recommendation. The direction of further research is also proposed




Over the past few years, researchers and sponsors have increasingly turned their attentions to finding ways managing the construction process. After decades of neglect, construction process is high on the agenda. As the construction product has in most instances been a ‘one-off’, much emphasis has been placed on project management. However actually the industry is focused on design and development of a building product and should look to manufacturing reference on how to manage the design and development process. Examining the manufacturing perspective and understanding how it can be applied to design and construction and considering the use of techniques and technologies available to support the process and the issues relating to the implementation on projects is essential for construction industry . However, whether this process approach is needed in the construction field, and to what extent it contributes to the construction industry, this required to be researched and evaluated. Therefore in this project, why there should be process management in construction industry, the state-of-the-art, how it is applied and the future of it will be identified.

Being continuously criticized for its less than optimal performance by several government and institutional reports such as Philips(1950) and Latham(1994), The UK construction industry has been under increasing pressure to improve its practices(Howell, 1999). From the analysis of these reports, conclusion coming up that the fragmented nature of the industry, the lack of co-ordination and communication between parties the informal and unstructured learning process, adversarial contractual relationships and the lack of customer focus are widely and typically existing in the construction industry and are supposed to embarrass the industry’s performance. Furthermore, Fairclough(2002) indicates that construction are often seen as unpredictable in terms of delivery time, cost, profitability and quality, and the investment into research and development is usually seen as expensive when compared to other industry. According to Howell, the “inefficiency” of the industry has tended to be the way of life. This may be due to the fact that none of the reports, apart from Latham (1994) and Egan (1998), has been sufficiently acted upon. So Lutham suggests using manufacturing as a reference point and Egan, in his Rethinking Construction report, recommends process modelling as a method of improvement.

There has been a constant subject of discussion on the transfer of the transfer of practices and theories from other sectors as Lutham (1994) suggested in his report. Some construction practitioners are obstinate that their industry is unique and that the transference of principles cannot be adopted wholeheartedly. Due to it, Ball (1998) emphasized some of the arguments most commonly used to differentiate construction from other industries:

  • The one-of-a-kind product.
  • The spatial fixity of buildings.
  • One-site production.
  • The effect of land price on design and construction possibilities.
  • The requirement for long life expectancy.
  • The inexperience of clients
  • The merchant role of company.
  • The overwhelmingly domestic industry.
  • The masculine stereotype of the workforce.
  • The long cycle from design to production.
  • The high cost of the projects.
  • The amplified reaction to economic crisis.
  • The labour intensive production
  • The fragmented nature of the industry.

Nevertheless, there are also many practitioners and academics who believe that the construction industry has much to learn from other industries typically manufacturing. Howell (1999) goes so far as to suggest that this learning could be a two way process: manufacturing could learn from construction in area such as project-based management; and construction could learn from manufacturing’s developed and developing solutions, to improve its performance of competitiveness and productivity.

As stated by Love¼†Gunasekaran (1996) and Korenlius¼†Wamelink (1998), manufacturing has been a constant reference point and a source of innovation in construction for many decades. Solutions that have been recommended to help overcome the problems of construction include industrialization, computer-integrated construction, robotics and automated construction. However their implementation in manufacturing is far advanced in comparison to the construction industry. Koskela (1992) believes that the fundamental theories and principles of manufacturing should be harnessed to deliver the full benefits to construction rather than the ‘technological solutions’.

In recent years the realization that the construction industry might not be as unique as was traditionally thought has initiated new research, which In particularly, has resulted in a development of the concept that construction is a manufacturing process. Moreover a research fund under the Innovative Manufacturing Initiative (IMI) sector of the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC, 1998) to continue and expound upon current thinking.

a new phenomenon currently appears to being steadily exploited within construction companies at the side of the new technologies taken from manufacturing. It is based upon the development and use of fundamental core processes to improve efficiency of the industry, with great emphasis upon the basic theories and principles underlying the design and construction process. Egan(1998) draw attention to this factor by reporting that due to the fragmented nature of the construction industry very little work had gone into process modelling. Manufacturers are in the habit of taking a process view of their operations; they usually model both discrete product activities and holistic high-level for both internal and external activities. In particular, there has be a growing volume of research focusing upon the consolidation of the just-in-time(JIT) and the total quality management(TQM) theories, with an array of other practices such as productive maintenance, visual management and re-engineering. Investigations by construction practitioners and academics alike have now sought to develop the content and manufacturing, agile production and lean production.

Current Researches on Construction Industry

The Civil Engineering Research Foundation (CERT) Report observes that the construction industry is becoming frustrated over the lack of progress in removing or mitigating barriers to improving construction practices and is necessary to support sustainable development goals. the industry has to face Many difficulties as it approach this goal: facilities are designed by using least-cost technologies that ignore opportunities to improve productivity and enhance environmental quality; it seems to be complicated, to achieve agreement on government design and construction policies that advance sustainable development; what’s more, there are the frustration of knowing better technologies are available but not having the capacity o find and retrieve them; and international concentration on construction research and practice is far more inadequate. Also the report identifies specific constraints to innovation that characterize the challenges facing the construction industry which represent the areas where work needs to be done. The observers indicate that the design and construction process often discourage the introduction of innovative technologies and systems that have superior characteristics but are not necessarily the least-cost option, which can work to the detriment of owners and the environment; unsuitable building codes and disjointed regulatory systems that does not allow for adopting new and better materials and practices are often be applied when buildings and facilities are designed and constructed. There is a lack of understanding by the public and by industry of practices and opportunities to promote sustainable development; there is lack of timely and accurate information and a knowledge base on proven design and construction solutions and techniques for assuring quality construction, which results in lost opportunities to improve system efficiencies and productivity through adoption of innovative technologies; there are no consistent, accurate, and comprehensive predictive models available for designing for sustainability making the process difficult to validate, monitor, and evaluate. Therefore, the observers suggest, new tools and methods are required for advancing state-of-the-art technologies, including taking advantage of advances in information systems to increase the construction industry’s efficiency and productivity.

According to Kraiem & Diekman’s (1987) theory delays of project are classified into three groups: compensable, excusable and non-excusable. Generally, a delay is considered compensable to the contractor when its cause is within the control, is the fault of or is caused by the negligence of the owner. Excusable delays occur when the contractor is delayed by occurrences that are not attributable to either the contractor or owner. Non-excusable delays are caused by the contractor's own action and/or inaction. These can be caused by the fault of the contractor, or his subcontractors, material, workforce or suppliers. The delay damages from the contractor is regarded could be retrieved by the owner conceivably. Lieshmann (1991) presented the consequences of delays in construction, especially from the legal point of view. Herbsman et al. (1995) catalogued the influence of delays on time, cost and quality. Baldwin & Manthei (1971) studied the causes of delay in building projects in the USA. The major causes of delay were the result of weather, labour supply and subcontractors. These authors found that adequate planning at the very early stages of the project is important for minimizing delay and cost overruns in most projects in developing countries. This study dealt with developing countries where workers are relatively skilled. The authors realised that some of these problems relate to the special characteristics of this part of the world, such as productivity, whereas others are inherent in the nature of construction projects, such as planning and control problems. Yates (1993) developed a decision support system for construction delay analysis called the delay analysis system (DAS). The main categories of delays in the DAS system include engineering, equipment, external delays, labour, management, materials, owner, subcontractor and weather. Assaf et al. (1995) studied the causes of delay in large building construction projects in Saudi Arabia. Some of the most important causes of delay included approval of shop drawings, delays in contractors' payment by owners, design changes by owners, cash problems during construction, the relationships between different subcontractors' schedules in the execution of the project, the slowness of the owners' decision-making process, design errors, excessive bureaucracy in project-owner organization, labour shortages and inadequate labour skills. From analysing the factors causing the delay of project, there should be elicitation on whether it can be diminished by application of process management.

Atkin, Borgbrant&Josephson (2003) argues that ideas of what should be considered in the design stage of a new building often seems to be a headache for architects, engineers and clients. These ideas invariably lead to some compromise between the demands of hard engineering and softer issues, with the potential likewise to compromise on the physical characteristics and performance of the building leading to some measure of failure. Examples of failure include high energy costs, health problems and structural destruction because of moisture, for which the occupant must pay directly or indirectly. Long-term socio-economic consequences can occur from this as well. Current problems are failures resulting from neglect of building physics principles are examined and their causes are highlighted. Research is continuing into the development of tools to help reduce the risk of failure and to highlight the costs and risks attached to the insufficient attention to building physics principles.

Theories on Manufacturing Process and Process Management

According to Melan’s(1992) research, a well- managed manufacturing process has the following characteristics:

1. Clearly defined ownership. Traditionally, ownership of a manufacturing operation is generally clear and explicit; it resides with a manager. The manager responsible for the operation is readily identifiable. The organization objectives, its output, and what the manager is accountable for must be fully understood. Standards such as cost, schedule, and quality are established for judging the manager’s performance. However, in recent years, authorized work teams and self-directed work groups where employees are assuming some of the tradition roles of management have gradually take the place of the traditional management ownership. A process owner, whether an individual or a team, is fully responsible for yield, cost, quality, and schedule, and must management the process to the targets set on these standards. Further, an owner has the authority to change or oversee a change in the process within his or her area of jurisdiction.

2. Defined boundaries. Manufacturing processes have a clearly defined beginning and end. He final output, or deliverable, as well as the input required to create it are clear and unambiguous. What is sometimes not clear, however, is whether output specifications truly reflect customer requirements and whether input specifications represent what is needed in the ensuring transformations. The lack of understanding of requirements on either the input side or output side underlies many business processes. In a well-managed manufacturing process, requirements problems are minimized through conscious effort aimed at specifying the work product as it proceeds from one operation to another.

3. Documented flow of work. Work flow in a manufacturing process is generally documented in great detail. There are several reasons for this. Documentation provides a permanent record of the manner in which a physical transformation takes place for production purposes. This record also provides a reference point or baseline from which any changes are to be made and serves as a means for replicating the process. Finally, documentation also serves as both a training and reference aid for the personnel involved in the process.

4. Established control points. Control points serve as a means for regulating the quality of work. Because of the natural variation that occurs in physical process, control points are established to manage variation. These points involve such activities as inspection, verification of required characteristics, and the disposition of discrepant material.

5. Established measurements. Measurements provide a statistical basis for controlling the flow of work and managing variation. Statistical techniques such as the control chart serve as useful tools for managing variation in many operations of a repetitive nature.

6. Control of process deviations. In managed processed, corrective action is performed in a timely manner and from a statistical basis when an undesirable variation occurs. Feedback and regulation are the heart of process control and, without control, the process loses its capacity of providing consistent output quality.

Anderson’s (1994) theory clearly introduces the manufacturing process. He states that the most obvious characteristics of a production facility are the volume of items produced and the variety of different products made using the same resources. The volume and variety characteristics provide one way to look at the process of manufacture. Usually an increasing volume of production, in term of the number of individual units of each product, will go hand in hand with decreasing variety, in terms of the number of different products. And the author classifies the manufacturing process into three types: Mass Production involves producing a small number of different products in a great quantity, which provides the stereotype of manufacturing industry: long assembly lines where men or machines endlessly turn on the same product month after month. One characteristic of a mass production process is that operations are linked together in a line: when one operation is finished on a product it moves directly to the next operation; Batch Production is used when there are a greater variety of products being produced, with correspondingly smaller volumes. In this situation it is usual to have machinery and equipment which can be used to carry out operations on a number of different products. A single machine will carry out an operation on a whole batch of items of one kind and then be set up to carry out a similar operation on a whole batch of items of another kind; One-off production is used when individual customers each require an individual product, which is different from any product the company has made in the recent past. This implies low volumes but the greatest possible variety. With very large and complicated items the manufacturing process may be project based. This indicates that the manufacturing processes sufficiently complex, and over a long enough time-scale, that the major difficulties are associated with planning how various different operations and activities will fit together.

Born (1994) has provided a systematic method for integrating process management with quality management. It is based on a notion called the Quality Process Language (QPL), which is capable of representing and analysing all process within an organization. It also provides a basis for quality management approaches, such as ownership of processes, improved communication and compliance with requirements and regulations. QPL has been used in many types of organisation, large and small, highly structured and loosely structured. It provides a foundation for practical approaches such as facilitated workshops, process mapping and improvement, and documentation of procedures. The author also point out that activities and roles inputs and results of any organization can be well represented if the nation of QPL is mastered and then this notion can be converted into ordinary text and flow charts, for use in procedure and other documentation about the organization. The use of QPL as author states provides a common language for process and quality specialists to communicate directly. This offers an opportunity to discuss and design organizational and process changes without ignoring the effect on quality. QPL is a diagrammatic language, and it makes it easier for non-quality specialists to understand how processes affect quality and vice versa.

Process Management in Construction

Report (Kagioglou, Cooper, Aouad&Sexton, 2000) introduces the findings and recommendation on the process management relate to the state of the construction industry at the present time and recommend some solutions as t in respect of how some of the problems might be overcome by transferring established practices from the manufacturing industry. However, the authors deem that it must be very careful when transferring knowledge and practices from manufacturing into the construction industry due to a number of reasons. First, the differences between the level of maturity of both processes and practices are distinct, with manufacturing having the 'lead'. Second, because construction depends heavily on Temporary Multi-organizations (TMOs) while long-term partnership arrangements normally play the operation role in the manufacturing industry, the structure of the industries and of the organization of project personnel is dissimilar. Finally, comparison between the processes and the practices of both industries must be made by considering the levels in which they exist, such as strategic, managerial and operational. Therefore, clarification of process levels can have an important influence on the management of those processes.

Kagioglou (1998) argues that there are two chief perspectives of manufacturing that construction can benefit from: the project process or New Product Development (NPD) and the operational and production processes. The first relates very closely, both in terms of nature and content, to the design and construction process. For itself, the development that of a solution from a demand identified in the market place or internally within an organization to the implementation is considered. This is achieved by organizing the activities that need to take place in a number of phases, which are made distinct by the determination of review points between the phases. This is very similar to the enactment of a construction project, the difference being that the distinction between the phases is usually determined by the entry of the different parties or functions, for example, architects, contractors, to the process. The second area is related to the way in which the production of a product, including material flow, process design and resources planning, is undertaken. Indeed, a number of very effective philosophies and practices such as Just in Time (JIT), lean production and others have a legacy of optimized production in the manufacturing sector. JIT aims to improve production by utilizing the internal and external supply chains in terms of people and material flow. The first two benefits can be realized in the construction industry perhaps more readily than the third one, which requires a significant reorganization and mind-shift of the litigation-driven industry. This investigation concentrates on what can be absorbed from the NPD project process of manufacturing, and reference to it is made throughout the description of the Generic Design and Construction Process Protocol (GDCPP).

Koskela (1992) expresses in his report that currently some construction subproducts are produced in processes that possess a manufacturing character. The assembly of such components with the building frame usually represents a minor share of the total costs. Windows, doors, elevators, prefabricated concrete components, and prefabricated houses, are examples of this kind of manufactured product. In regard to quality management, clear progress has been made in many countries. Many supplying firms have acquired quality certification according to the ISO standard. The application of the new production philosophy is least problematic in this part of the construction industry: the methods and techniques developed in manufacturing can be applied directly. However, except for quality management techniques, only a minor fraction of the factories and plants delivering to construction sites have begun to implement the new philosophy. It may be anticipated that this transformation will proceed rapidly after having gained initial momentum. Thus, industrialized construction might gain competitive benefits sooner than site construction.

Additionally, Koskela (1992) summarized the condition of Implementation of process improvement by engineering and construction organizations. The inherent recommendation of the new philosophy to construction practitioners is clear that the share of non value-adding activities in all processes has to be systematically and persistently decreased. Increasing the efficiency of value-adding activities has to be continued in parallel. Construction should adopt the new production philosophy. In manufacturing, the new production philosophy improves competitiveness by identifying and eliminating waste (non value-adding) activities. Traditionally, construction is viewed and modelled only as a series of conversion (value-adding) activities. For example, waste activities such as waiting, storing inventory, moving material, and inspection are not generally modelled by Critical Path Models (CPM) or other control tools. Construction has traditionally tried to improve competitiveness by making conversions incrementally more efficient. But judging from the manufacturing experience, construction could realize dramatic improvements simply by identifying and eliminating non conversion (non value-adding) activities. In other words, actual construction should be viewed as flow processes (consisting of both waste and conversion activities), not just conversion processes. As demonstrated previously by the manufacturing industry's experience, adoption of the new production philosophy will be a fundamental paradigm shift for the construction industry. The implications of this for design are that the process of construction must be developed in conjunction with the design itself. An initial set of design and improvement principles for flow processes are presented that can serve as an implementation guideline. Major development efforts in construction, like industrialization, computer integrated construction and construction automation has to be redefined to acknowledge the need to balance flow improvement and conversion improvement. The conceptual foundation of construction management and engineering, being based on the concept of conversion only, is obsolete. Formalization of the scientific foundations of construction management and engineering should be a primary long term task for research. The attitude to the new production philosophy in construction provides for a paradox: It contains a promise of tremendous possibilities for improvement and of a solution of the chronic problems of construction; however, the interest of both practitioners and academicians has been at best lukewarm. All in all, the example of manufacturing and pioneering companies in construction show that there is a body of principles, methods and techniques, which are worthwhile to be understand and adopt in construction. They make up a paradigm shift, that will be a long transformation process of both practice and theory of construction engineering and management. The momentum of this paradigm shift has only started to gather. This situation provides opportunities for early adopters to gain competitive benefits. To meet the demands of this new situation, the techniques the author recommended are Computer Integrated Manufacturing and Construction automation. In the construction industry, attention to the new production philosophy has grown slowly.

Research of Atkin&Borgbrant&Josephson (2003) focuses on the problems that arise in construction industry. Because the construction process is fragmented into different technical disciplines across different phases, it leads to a process in which almost every decision is a compromise between two or more actors over various aspects of the process and the complex combination of different technology and systems, each of which may have to interact in a different way within the building. The primary focus of attention in the design phase of the process should be operational phase of the building and is something that should continue throughout the subsequence construction phase. In order to integrate the work of technical disciplines across the different phases, key technical criteria must be established. These help to pinpoint errors and their causes- for example, a structural problem stemming from an incorrect mix of competence or an economic problem arising from and imbalance between short-term investment cost and long-term operational cost. The researchers highlighted as well that managing the complexity of construction, in terms of handling, controlling and directing organizations to perform as planned on projects, is key to success. Efficiency will result in greater certainty both for the organization and its client. Furthermore, by eliminating uncertainty and non-value-adding activities, the client will benefit from a lower overall cost. Unraveling the complexity of the construction supply chain is fundamental to the release of better value for money. Achieving these objectives is no trivial affair and requires a degree of transparency and process efficiency that is generally not common in construction. A study is addressing the introduction of process thinking into a construction company and a structured way of making systematic representation of processes. The preliminary results points in the direction of a common platform for management information systems with a single representation and description as a basis for improving project efficiency.

Investigation (Fisher, Barlow, Garnett, Finch, Newcombe, 1997) points out that project modelling is used to test investment business cases internally with a view to shortening the decision making process from months to weeks, and in some cases days, at the same time increasing the completeness, quality and consistency of the information presented. The authors introduce the thinking, technology and process reengineering behind such performance improvements. It takes risk out of the one-off project, because for the first time it is possible to develop an affordable realistic 3D prototype electronically. The detectives also indicate that the use of electronic prototypes, visualisation and the harnessing of user knowledge will result in more certainty in terms of cost, time and quality targets, and the gradual improvements in value for money, operating costs and buildings that incorporate lessons learned elsewhere. The better preplanning, in all its forms, will slowly achieve the improvements, not from cutting fees, scope, specification or from robbing players of a reasonable profit, but from performance improvements that gradually eat into the current ‘build in’ inefficiencies that have evolved with the traditional fragmented system.

Research (Harris, McCaffer & Edum-Fotwe, 2006) address total quality management in construction which is regarded as one of the approaches to improve the process management. According to their research, total quality management is a process led by senior management to obtain the envelopment of all employees in the continuous improvement of performance of all activities, as part of normal business, and to meet the needs and satisfaction o the customer whether internal or external. Quality assurance is all those planned and systematic actions necessary to provide adequate confidence that a product or service will satisfy given requirements for quality. TQM is an umbrella for continuous improvement an incorporated QA. QA is a systematic approach, which control attitudes and working environment whereas TQM provides principles, tools and techniques for culture change and continuous improvement. They also indicate the TQM tools and techniques. According to their point of view, The ability of management and employees to control their work processes, to recognise problems, to trace their root causes and implement effective remedies is the cornerstone of a continuous quality improvement programme. A wide range of quality tools and techniques are available to companies and these provide a common language, a consistency of approach to continuous quality improvement. These tools range from simple technique such as brainstorming to a more sophisticated option including statistical process control techniques.

In order to study how the data management of a main contractor can be improved, and to provide better client value and more cost efficient production, Laitinen (1999) operated a pilot test focusing on the methods for reengineering the information management using product modeling as an enabling technology. By Analysing the interviews made with the test company staff and staff from design offices during and after the pilot projects after the pilot projects and after some other test projects. The researchers drew the conclusion that the achieved accuracy is acceptable and the savings in time are about 80 %. Also most mechanical and human errors are avoided and in addition it is always possible to check the model using visual Auto-Cad images. Alternative design and production solutions are relatively easy to create and quick to evaluate. The most probable way in which the COVE application will be used in the near future is for modelling production models by the contractor’s design management and estimation staff. Using AutoCAD files as a basis for modelling is, for the time being, a convenient modelling method. Modelling on the basis of AutoCAD image files was in the pilots found to be considerably faster than working with drawings on the paper. The time taken to precise modelling from paper drawings can be estimated as two to three times the time taken to model with AutoCAD files (comparisons made in typical housing projects). However, the most important achievement according to the production planners is that now the information is in usable form for other activities (production planning, scheduling etc.) in later phases. In summary the proposed main contribution of this research is that the product model approach can be used as the technical means for a substantially reengineered information management process of a main contractor. Although the testing is not complete, it goes a longer way into full-scale testing in an industrial setting than most of the reported building product model research. This type of applied research is very much needed to provide the "proof-of-concept" of the utilisation of product models within the construction industry, which is needed to convince company managers to go ahead and invest in reengineering the way their companies work.

Cooper (2005) introduces the New Product Development (NPD) process as a new approach of construction process management by referring to the manufacturing process. He classified the three types of the NPD activities as pre-development activities, development activities and post-development activities. The way in which these activities performed has resulted in a number of new product development process models. Based on the number and nature of the activities of NPD process, the NPD models can be represented in various ways. According to his research, they are briefly defined as Sequential approach and the Development funnel. As well he introduced the two well recognized construction project process models in UK’s construction industry, which are the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Plan of work and the British property Federation (BPF) manual. The author also described the development of the process protocol which is a generic design and construction process for use by all sectors of the construction industry. The construction and manufacturing experiences that formulating the principles and eventual structure and form of the process protocol are described as well.

According to cooper’s(2005) research, the principles of the Process Protocol can, therefore, be summarized as a framework model that is capable of representing the diverse interests of all the parties involved in the process, which is sufficiently repeatable and definable to allow IT to be devised to support this management and information management. Therefore, a mechanism by which the systematic and consistent interfacing of the existing practices, professional practice and IT practice support tools can be facilitated. The simplicity within the protocol allows its interpretation and flexible application. This is achieved at a variety of strategic levels across a variety of scales of projects, using combinations of virtual teams and IT systems; all are based within clarity in terms of what is required from whom, when and with whose co-operation; for whom the requirements are to be delivered, for what purposes and how they will be evaluated (through the phase review board). Other principles underlying the Process Protocol were the standardization of deliverables and roles associated with achieving managing and reviewing the process and the product. The Process Protocol is divided into a series of subphases defined as preproject, preconstruction, construction and postconstruction; within each of these major phases are subphases that can be operated concurrently or concatenate to make the process more efficient in smaller scale projects Novelty arises within the Process Protocol in a number of areas, in particular: the extension of the boundaries of design and construction process into the requirements capture phase of prebriefing client decision-making; the extension of the boundary of theprocess beyond practicable completion to allow the management of use and the learning from performance in use to improve the product and process for future projects; the creation of an explicit process management and change management role to co-ordinate the functionaries and deliverables associated with the process, the information that supports the functional roles and is delivered via the creation and products, and a stable platform to allow innovations in process and in products and operations to be facilitated in a co-ordinate and repeatable manner.


From the research above, a clear realization that the construction process management approach is gradually recognized and more and more attention had been paid to the development of this approach can be achieved. By referring to the manufacturing industry, the fundamental principles of process management had been accepted. Owing to its unique characteristics and traits on improving the performance of both in manufacturing and construction industry, the approach would attract more and more interesting from practitioner and academic. Some models based on this approach has been established and utilized and really benefit to the clients. Systems such as NPD process, TQM and CAD system are being applied in lots of construction projects and Project extranet and Building information model are no more unacquainted to construction industry. However, because of the pressure of ensuring the efficiency and profit of project, the progress of construction innovation and research is rapid. What to do next step should be discovering the potential advantage of the process management in construction, optimizing the models and consummating the construction process management system so as to improve the performance of construction projects to the most extent.



An overview of the research methods as well as the data collection approaches is presented in this chapter. The aim of this chapter is to choose the appropriate methods and produce the research strategy.

Research methodology is the principles and procedures of logical processes applied to scientific investigation (Fellow and Liu, 1997). Generally, There are two types of research strategies, namely, ‘qualitative research’ and ‘quantitative research’, however, triangulation method which is regarded as the combination of both quantitative and qualitative method is commonly adopted when conducting the research project.

Quantitative Research

Naoum (1998) defines that Quantitative method is a formal, objective, and systematic process in which numerical data are used to obtain information about the world. Quantitative research is ‘objective’ in nature. It is defined as an investigation into a social or human problem, based on examining a theory or a hypothesis comprise of variables, measured with numbers, and analysed with statistical procedures, in order to determine whether the hypothesis or the theory hold true (Naoum, 1998). Quantitative data is therefore not abstract, they are hard and reliable they are measurements of tangible, countable, sensate features of the world. Holt (1998) claims that Quantitative method is more analytical. Commonly, research on the basis of quantitative methods can be repeated and it is quite probably to obtain the same results.

Qualitative Research

Qualitative research is ‘subjective’ in nature. It emphasises meanings, experiences, description and so on (Naoum, 1998). The information collected in Qualitative research can be categorized under two types of research, which are exploratory and attitudinal.

Exploratory Research

Exploratory research is used when the knowledge of the project topic is limited and the purpose of exploratory research is interwoven with the demand for a clear and precise declaration of the recognised problem. What people have said or a description of what has been observed will be gathered research as the raw in exploratory research (Naoum, 1998).

Attitudinal research

The attitudinal research is used to subjectively evaluate the opinion, view, or the perception of a variable, towards a particular object which is referred to as an ‘attribute’ a ‘variable’, a ‘factor’ or a ‘question’ .Creswell (1994) classifies some principles when using the qualitative approach, these are:

  • Employ it in a manner consistent with the type of qualitative design.
  • Use it inductively so that it does not become something to test, but rather to develop and to be shaped through the process of research.
  • Create a visual model of the theory as it emerges.
  • If used at the end of the study, compare and contrast it with other theories.

Approaches to data collection

The adoption of approaches for conducting the research, depends upon the nature of the investigation and the type of data and information that are required and available, generally, there are two approaches to data collection namely primary data collection and second data collection, both of which are described below.

Primary data collection

The primary data collection can be associated with three practical approaches.

The survey approach

Surveys are used to gather data from a relative large number of respondents within a limited time frame. It is thus concerned with a generalised result when data is abstracted from a particular sample or population.

The case study approach

Case studies are used to support the argument by an in-depth analysis of a person, a group of persons, an organisation or a particular project. As the nature of the case study focuses on one aspect of a problem, the conclusion drawn will not be generalised but, rather, related to one particular event. This is not to say that the case study approach is of limited value. On the contrary, it provides an in-depth analysis of a specific problem.

Problem-solving approach

With the survey and the case study approach, the researcher tends not to affect or interfere with that which is being studied. In the problem-solving approach, the researcher reviews the current situation, identifies the problem, gets involved in introducing some changes to improve the situation and possibly, evaluates the effects of the changes. This type of research is more attractive to practitioners, industrialists and students from the professional backgrounds that have identified a problem during the course of their work and wish to investigate and propose a change to improve the situation.

Secondary data collection

The data collected using the above three approaches (survey, case studies, problem-solving) are called ‘primary’ data because they are obtained first hand. While the data collected using the desk study approach are called ‘secondary’ data because the data are obtained from other sources. Secondary data can be stored either in a statistical or descriptive format.

Statistical format

The word ‘statistical’ refers to official statistics collected by the state and its agencies. These statistics are available in all public libraries and in most university libraries. The sources that publish this official information include institutions such as:

  1. British research establishment (BRE)
  2. Royal institute of British architects ()
  3. Construction industry research and information association()
  4. Chartered institute of building
  5. Royal institute of chartered surveyors

Generally speaking, the above institutions assemble the data in two ways, namely through registration or self-survey. As far as the registered information is concerned, all construction-related companies are required to provide information to the government by law. Therefore the researcher can at any time make use of this data to show ‘what is happening’. On the other hand, government bodies conduct their own routine surveys to collect data and publish them at regular intervals.

Descriptive documents

The other method for conducting secondary data research is to analyse and critically appraise the contents of an archival document. This is similar to appraising previous literature and can include diaries, newspaper, observations, internet, etc. secondary data are usually processed before the researcher starts to make use of them. Therefore the researcher should take absolute care when using them.

Research Plan and Methodology

First, data from both quantitative and qualitative research will be collected in this study. The aim of this project research is to identify the current application of the process management approaches and find out their effect on the performance of both design and construction company, then provide suggestions to the process management. Therefore statistics that can reflect the real profit associated with process management approaches is crucial. Then the experiences and the attitude of process management process approach from the practitioners need to be gathered. For example why do they apply this approach, what happened after their adopting the approaches, etc. therefore in this project research, it is hard to distinguish whether qualitative research or quantitative research is needed. However, data collected by both these two types of research tend to support this project. For instance, when conducting the nature of manufacturing process and connecting it to the design and construction, quantitative approach is preferable, while qualitative approach can be used to survey the attitude to application of process management approach.

Then, the case study approach will be used in this study. The fundamental of this project research is understanding the manufacturing process, and the relevant management approach. This can be achieved by studying cases on manufacturing. Then, detailed cases on design and construction projects and companies will provide evidence on questions such as: who is using the process management approach? Why are they adopting these approaches? What is happening when the approaches are adopted? Importantly, the commonality and connection between manufacturing process and construction process can be conducted from the specific analysis of cases.

Lastly, secondary data collection will contribute more in this research. The most significant of the advantage of the secondary data are related to time and cost. In general, it is much less expensive to uses secondary data than it is to conduct a primary research investigation. This is true even when there are costs associated with obtaining the secondary data. When answers tp questions are required quickly, the only practical alternative is to consult secondary resources. Moreover, statistics from the official surveys is regarded to be more intuitive and comprehensive than that are conducted by individuals. The authoritativeness and conviction is considered to support the opinion strongly. Published documents will also be referred to research the project, nevertheless, attention should be paid on such questions as: is the material factually accurate? Is the material reliable? etc.


Data collection can be regarded as the fundamental of a project research, the reliability, availability and practicability directly affect the result of the project. However statistics gathering is a comprehensive procedure involving various approaches and techniques. One single method definitely cannot support an academic project research. In contrary, it required the interaction of different approaches and tools.



Currently, there exists varying approaches to deliver construction, among which the traditional method, design-build method and construction management. Awareness of referring to manufacturing process makes it possible to develop new process management approaches in construction. Consequently, design and construction companies have been applying process management and models in some projects so as to make sure the profitability and productivity. Several companies and typical projects are selected to examine the implementation of the construction process management.


The Britannia Walk project is a complex brownfield development suited in Hackney, London, and accupies a site close to Moorfield’s Eye Hospital which had for many years been under-utilised as an NCP car park. The university of Salford and Alfred McAlphine led The Britannia Walk project study. They applied their previous developmental research resulting from the process protocol into this project. As a result of the large number of stakeholders and the mixed-use nature of the scheme with different types of accommodation, the project was complex; also the funding of the project, which consisted of public and private finance, and the high design standards of the scheme. Managing efficiently seems to be a challenge owing to all of these elements.

The differences between the recommended approach defined in the process protocol and the current approach of a highly experienced project team was proved by undertaking this process protocol research and implementation in the Britannia Walk project. However, there is high level similarity between the two approaches because many process protocol deliverables fit in with key project activities. In this project, isolated processes are mapped together which contributes to the awareness of how the participants are contributing so that a far more rationalized process can be set up. The effectiveness of these operational sub-processes is critical in preserving the higher-level strategy acquired at the beginning of the project.

To avoid the generic problems associated with changing triggers and responsibilities between design and construction disciplines, the project also identified the significance of establishing an effective communication strategy and foresting principles of collaboration and open book information-sharing. The operational sub-processes on the Britannia Walk project were developed from the principles of the process protocol and their development has proved that these key principles are practicable. The process approach as recommended by the protocol could not be fully implemented owing to the lack of opportunity to build up the process strategy in advance on the project. Nevertheless the Protocol approach is considered to deal effectively with specific problems even when employed without front-end planning.

this case study demonstrated that the Process Protocol, its framework and key principles are practical in construction project and It is advisable to utilizing the management and implementation of the process in construction project.


Patricia and Sexton (2007) surveyed the implementation of product development process models in construction companies. Based upon the statistics they collected, the analysis of case companies are outlined below.

Company A

The implementation triggers at Company A has put great emphasis on avoiding problems such as variability between different development efforts and risks. Target has been set to achieve a ‘best practice’ process by the company which improves better communications, shorter lead times and better meeting of client requirements in a time and cost saving manner.

Five processes concerned in three levels of detail are described in the model established by the company by adopting the IDEF0 approach. Activity has been described into detail in the new model which was considered complex by company members. As a result, it was redesigned into a holistic process, with reviews defined at the end of each stage. The model has been considered user applicable for its flexibility and simplification. Furthermore, there was an initial belief that the model should be mandatory and used althrough the whole process. However, negative effect will thus be generated as: (1) it generated resistance to change; and (2) the model became bureaucratic, hindering creativity, it takes out the ability of people to find out the best way of developing a project. Company A realized that value can generated out of the model only if it was approached as a framework, through which scenarios, opportunities and threats for the project in hand can be discussed. Thus, the model role will moved from a hard, ‘plan’ perspective to a softer, ‘learning’ perspective, providing room for reflection and innovation. The maintenance of control and formality achieved through the adoption of phase reviews. People is the main issue in the implementation strategy. Factors which affect the industrial implementation could be concluded as: resistance to change, motivation, engagement, commitment, clearly defining benefits, training and leadership. Therefore, the key feature of the process model was continuous changing and improving other than being a one-off activity.

Company B

The main purpose of Implementation of PDP model in company B was to strengthen the cooperation between Company B and one of its major clients. This model is supposed to provide support for the alliance, improve communications, avoid rework, manage knowledge and lessons learnt, enable process control, and make good practice available.

However, because of cultural differences between the two companies and confrontation to change, implementation was unsuccessful. The major barriers are summarized below

  • Poor benefits definition
  • the lack of participation of users in model design,
  • impact on loss of manager’s bargaining power
  • mistrust between middle managers

To clients who used to work in the traditional construction pattern, it’s a cultural change, because they were dictating to the contractor how to operate. They feel they are losing power, which leads to a mistrust atmosphere to managers.Another restraint to the model’s utilization is its knowledge content. Also, the model just identifies a planning and control tool to link design and construction planning rather than the operability of the link. Strategy was lack to support the model’s adoption. Steps taken to design the model included identification of problems, process analysis, model design and definition of procedures.

Company C

The motivation of the PDP implementation at Company C was to supply support for partnering between four companies, focusing to defining process activities and reviews. Planning and proactive process and financial control were concentrated on in these reviews. However it was impossible to examine if the model users think it helped management, and the role of the process model was not accepted by top management or by the future model users. the current problem seems to be persuading people whether this process will work, and if this is the best solution. Implementation becomes very difficult if people don’t have interesting in it.

Though much attention was paid to deciding the steps for the model design, this was totally neglected when it is actual implemented. Finally, the factors potentially affecting implementation were related to people issues, such as resistance to revolutionize, training and illustrating benefits

Company D

Company D intended to gain a company-wide improvement through PDP implementation, and a design management (DM) process model was an integrated part of it. The main implementation objectives were:

  • Achieving consistency via a general understanding of design management all over the company
  • Enabling the utilization of related managerial principles
  • Cultivating a professional team using management tools to provide a consistent approach to best practice and best profit on every project.

However, Implementation was failed mainly because top management, regional managers and design managers had divergentunderstanding about design management principles and about the process model itself. The knowledge content of the model became a restraint to its application again. It is considered that its excessive detail generating difficulties in adapting it to project level contributes to its complexity. Additionally, lacking of clarity in linking design management, bid management and the main project phases, the model was also found not applicable to different business areas of the company.


Among all the case companies it was probable to identify benefits for the organization as a whole, for the PDP and for the final client. Control and rational decision making are emphasized by all companies to ‘force’ a causal correlation between the process model and PDP improvement (Patricia and Sexton, 2007)

All the companies devised ‘to-be’ models describing tools for improved process management.. The models investigated propose some redesign of the sequencing of activities, but no attempts were made to introduce concurrent engin

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Request Removal

If you are the original writer of this dissertation and no longer wish to have the dissertation published on the UK Essays website then please click on the link below to request removal:

More from UK Essays

Get help with your dissertation
Find out more