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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Diving deeper and drilling further
Article Type: Editorial From: Built Environment Project and Asset Management, Volume 6, Issue 3.
Apart from looking further and wider, to identify critical gaps in domain knowledge that could justify a PhD or a healthy research grant, academics are expected to dive deeper and drill further, ideally "where nobody has gone before". This inspired the above caption since it also resonates with what we expect from journal papers, in unveiling deeper knowledge and unearthing better than good practices, the "best" probably being a "moving target" and necessarily so for continuous improvement in practice, apart from continuing employment in research! This third issue in BEPAM Volume 6, with two more in the pipeline, lives up to the above expectations in delving deeper and probing further in some less explored research domains, as well as in some popular directions, all of which are relevant to our journal objectives and thrusts.
Tracking our trajectory, BEPAM grew organically, given our steadily increasing stakeholder base, from two issues per year in 2011, to four per year from 2014 and now to five per year. Although we could have increased the number of issues to six from next year, while continually increasing "quality" too, we decided to "hold" the number of issues at five for a second year. Instead, we will increase our targeted total number of papers published per year from 35 in 2016 to 38 in 2017. Our strong and internationally well-positioned editorial team helps sustain our consistently high standards as well. Apart from our "quality" menu, we also aspire to serve a suitably varied and "balanced diet" to our stakeholders, including authors and readers exploring emerging fields that are relevant to BEPAM. For this, apart from the range and diversity of the papers that are submitted to our regular issues, our special issues help us to probe deeper into identified areas of increasing importance that relate to BEPAM, so as to also develop inter-locking nuggets of specific domain knowledge within one package/issue.
For example, our next Issue (6.4) will be a special issue on "Capacity Building for Disaster Risk Reduction". It is already "good to go" having been ably conceived, co-ordinated and delivered by Guest Editors Udayangani Kulatunga and Bingunath Ingirige, who are based in the UK. The next special issue will be on "Sustainability: Business Drivers and Managerial Implications" and is being shepherded by Yasangika Sandanayake (in Sri Lanka), Anupa Manewa (in UK) and Jacky Chung (in Singapore). It is in good progress to be the first issue of Volume 7, while we are just "kicking off" on receiving and processing submissions for a special issue on "Securing Clients’ Objectives throughout Construction Project Life Cycles" which is driven by Chamila Ramanayaka and Monty Sutrisna (in Australia). While there are links and relationships between these domains as would be expected, given that they also fit well under the BEPAM umbrella, the range of themes, and even the spread of the locations of the Guest Editors are indicative of the refreshing diversity of our BEPAM reach and coverage. The following BEPAM awards for 2015 also provide another perspective of our range.
Best paper (2015)
A systems information model for managing electrical, control, and instrumentation assets
Peter E.D. Love, Jingyang Zhou, Jane Matthews, Chun-Pong Sing, Brad Carey
Three highly commended papers (2015)
Government-led critical success factors in PPP infrastructure development
Andreas Wibowo, Hans Wilhelm Alfen
Leadership style of sustainability professionals in the UK construction industry
Alex Opoku, Vian Ahmed, Heather Cruickshank
Analysis of US commercial buildings’ energy efficiency programs
Andrea N. Ofori-Boadu, Musibau A. Shofoluwe, De-Graft Owusu-Manu, Gary D. Holt, David Edwards,
Outstanding reviewers (2015)
Dr Arshad Ali Javed – Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Dr Sepani Senaratne – University of Western Sydney
Our current Issue 6.3 also demonstrates our "unity in diversity". Geographically, the papers are based on studies in China, Nigeria, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Australia and Saudi Arabia, while some of the co-authors are based in countries other than the foregoing, e.g. the UK and Singapore, and all may be drawing on experiences in other countries too. Second, the links between the diverse themes themselves, demonstrate the potential synergies in even a regular issue of BEPAM.
The opening paper by Bo Xia, Tian Wu, Martin Skitmore, Qing Chen, Mei Li and Jian Zuo, aims to unveil "best practices in real sustainable community projects", although as observed in the opening paragraph of this editorial, the "best" would probably be a moving target, given that most may strive to do better than any previous "best". The focus on "sustainable communities" provides a refreshing counterpoint to high-powered thrusts towards "smart cities" and even more so, given that the case study is based in a megacity where a "sense of community" may sometimes get "lost in the crowd and the rat-race". Of course it would be laudable to be simultaneously smart and sustainable, in terms of community hardware, software and "humanware".
Bankole Awuzie and Peter McDermott shift gears and change direction form the above thrust, to drive towards organisational viability which apart from its own importance, is also part of what is required for a sustainable community. They aim to overcome difficulties in the delivery of, for example, socio-economic outcomes, which in turn also relates to sustainable communities, by deploying a "viable infrastructure delivery model".
Florence Ling and Wei Wey Khoo narrow down the focus further, i.e. from community to organisational in the above two papers, to project level. Specifically, they drill into good relational practices that can help improve construction project outcomes in Malaysia. Identifying 14 potentially useful relational practices under five relational norms, they find that client leadership in adopting appropriate relational practices can lead to better project outcomes, apart from improved relationships between clients-consultants-contractors.
The next two papers in this issue are under a sustainability theme, albeit narrowing down from the "sustainable communities" thrust of the first paper. Although their specific focus areas are also quite different, the base data for both studies has been collected in Sri Lanka. Wellana Hewawasam Chamara Dimuthu Kumara, Anuradha Waidyasekara and Rajapaksha Pathiranage Nilmini Pradeepika Weerasinghe investigate and report on the contributions of a building management system to a sustainable built environment in Sri Lanka. On the other hand, Pournima Sridarran and Nirodha Fernando, noting increasing demands to outsource some services, probe and reach useful conclusions on the importance of change management in enabling sustainable outsourcing of facilities management services.
The sixth paper zooms in on a specific sustainability dimension in a particular built asset type in Australia, Weena Lokuge, Nirdosha Gamage and Sujeeva Setunge. Identifying common causes of timber bridge deterioration, they develop and demonstrate an integrated approach using fault tree analysis to estimate the risk of failure of timber bridge sub-systems, hence empowering better informed decisions to optimise maintenance and/or rehabilitation. The final paper then zooms out to a broader view of defects management in construction projects in general. Abdullah Almusharraf and Andrew Whyte deconstruct work packages into components such as columns, tasks such as rebar and sub-tasks such as longitudinal bars. They then propose and test an "anatomical classification" approach (using six classes) to defect management based on design specification, building code requirements, and actual output of identified sub-tasks related to concrete columns in their project data sample from Saudi Arabia.
Apart from the interesting tour through findings from organisations and projects in China, Nigeria, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Australia and Saudi Arabia, this issue does indeed dive deeper and drill further into topics that should be of general interest to many of our readers, while we hope that many would also benefit from some specific advances in their particular areas on interest.