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An empirical study of the complexity of requirements management in construction projects

Abdou Karim Jallow (Supply Chain and Information Systems, Smeal College of Business, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA)
Peter Demian (School of Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK)
Andrew N. Baldwin (School of Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK)
Chimay Anumba (Department of Architectural Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 9 September 2014

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate in-depth the current approach of managing client requirements in construction and to highlight the significant factors, which contribute to the complexity of managing the requirements in order to define a better approach.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study of a leading international global built asset and engineering consultancy organization was conducted over two years. The case study was conducted principally using semi-participant observations supplemented with other qualitative data collection methods (i.e. interviews, questionnaires and document analysis). Thematic analysis was used to analyze the data.

Findings

The results highlight major factors associated with the complexity of managing client requirements information, which include: mechanisms for documentation, storage and access, distribution of requirements information between stakeholders and across lifecycle phases of a project, traceability management and the provision of effective change management incorporating dependency checking and impact analysis.

Research limitations/implications

The main limitation of the research is the use of an in-depth study of a single organization, which applied the same project management method across all the projects they managed. Further work is planned to develop the proposed framework fully, and develop a software platform to operationalize and evaluate its industrial applicability with construction projects.

Practical implications

The implications of this research is that a better approach to managing requirements information is needed, which will facilitate the design, construction and operations of buildings within budget and time. An integrated framework and an associated tool are suggested to implement the approach.

Originality/value

This study identifies major research gaps and problems in the architecture, engineering, construction and facilities management industry; proposes and presents Electronic Requirements Information Management framework to facilitate lifecycle management of the requirements.

Keywords

Citation

Karim Jallow, A., Demian, P., N. Baldwin, A. and Anumba, C. (2014), "An empirical study of the complexity of requirements management in construction projects", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 21 No. 5, pp. 505-531. https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-09-2013-0084

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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