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Impacts of residential construction defects on customer satisfaction

Raphael Negri Milion (Department of Civil Engineering, Federal University of San Carlos, São Carlos, Brazil) (Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, San Diego State University, San Diego, California, USA)
Thaís da C.L. Alves (Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, San Diego State University, San Diego, California, USA)
José Carlos Paliari (Department of Engineering, Federal University of San Carlos, São Carlos, Brazil)

International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation

ISSN: 2398-4708

Article publication date: 10 July 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of defects on the satisfaction of residential construction customers. Three working hypotheses were tested: first, defects in residential construction impact the customer satisfaction; second, different defects have different impacts on customer satisfaction; and third, interviewing customers about defects in their residential units is not a reliable method to collect data.

Design/methodology/approach

The research investigated correlations between data on defects and customer satisfaction surveys carried out by a construction company on its projects. Data were cross-checked to determine what kinds of defects have the worse impact on customer satisfaction.

Findings

The occurrence of defects does not necessarily jeopardize customer satisfaction, although it appears to be a concern to the customers who responded to the survey. When the occurrence of defects did interfere with customer satisfaction, it was found that the worse impacts resulted from the occurrence of multiple defects in a single unit, the inability of the construction company to communicate with the customer after a claim was filed, and the occurrence of functional defects. Results suggest that interviewing customers about the defect occurrence in their units is not a reliable method to collect data for research purposes.

Practical implications

Results can be used to help companies better define continuous improvement activities and avoid the occurrence of defects that cause the worse impacts to customer satisfaction.

Originality/value

Data availability is a challenge for studies on defects. This study had direct access to data from a construction company, which made the presented analyses possible.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge the contributions of Stefani Nogueira Incorporacão e Construcão for its support for the development of this research.

Citation

Milion, R.N., Alves, T.d.C.L. and Paliari, J.C. (2017), "Impacts of residential construction defects on customer satisfaction", International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation, Vol. 35 No. 3, pp. 218-232. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJBPA-12-2016-0033

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited