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Analysis of factors that drive brief development in construction

Ayman A.E. Othman (Department of Social Services and Commercial Buildings, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)
Tarek M. Hassan (Department of Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK)
Christine L. Pasquire (Department of Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 1 February 2005



The purpose of this paper is to analyse the factors that drive changes to the construction project brief and the background to those factors. The founding argument, that incorporating these changes is paramount for achieving client satisfaction, introduces the concept of dynamic brief development (DBP), which permits changes throughout the project life cycle. The understanding and attitude of the major construction project stakeholders towards DBP are investigated along with identifying the originators of brief development and the value and risk sources.


A threefold method was used comprising a comprehensive questionnaire survey followed by structured interviews. The results of these were further investigated though a brainstorming session with major construction project stakeholders. A total population of 266,434 units for the survey was identified, reduced to a random stratified sample of 530. The response rate was 49.2 per cent and the responses were analysed using a weighted relative importance index. A total of 88 interviews were carried out and 12 client organisations participated in the brainstorming session.


The findings lead to the conclusion that there is a need to set out a detailed brief development management system that incorporates both value management and risk management. This system should enable the appropriate project participant to make informed decisions at the right time for the benefit of the client. The system must facilitate feedback to both client organisations and construction professionals to enable lessons to be learned. Understanding the relationship between the factors that drive brief development and the various project team members will facilitate managing brief development in a way that increases client satisfaction and enhances the performance of the project.


The paper identifies deficiencies in current practices and techniques and presents a system which overcomes them.



Othman, A.A.E., Hassan, T.M. and Pasquire, C.L. (2005), "Analysis of factors that drive brief development in construction", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 12 No. 1, pp. 69-87.



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