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Prevention through design: conceptual models for the assessment of a principal designer’s skills, knowledge and experience

Ebenezer Adaku (School of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK)
Nii A. Ankrah (School of Engineering and Applied Science, Aston University, Birmingham, UK)
Issaka E. Ndekugri (School of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK)

Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology

ISSN: 1726-0531

Article publication date: 18 January 2021

Issue publication date: 12 April 2022

185

Abstract

Purpose

The prevention through design (PtD) initiative places a duty on designers to originate designs that are inherently safe for construction, maintenance, occupation and demolition. In the UK, legislation has been introduced creating a new statutory role called the principal designer (PD) to ensure that PtD occurs during the design process. To realize this objective, PDs under the regulations must have appropriate skills, knowledge and experience (SKE) of occupational safety and health risks as they relate to construction products. However, there is a paucity of knowledge, in the extant literature and in practice, regarding what specifically constitutes PDs’ SKE of PtD and how to measure the same.

Design/methodology/approach

The study undertook a systematic review of meanings of SKE and carried out content analyses to provide robust conceptualizations of the constructs SKE. This underpinned the development of nomological networks to operationalize the constructs SKE in respect of PDs’ ability to ensure PtD.

Findings

PDs’ SKE of PtD are presented as multidimensional constructs that can be operationalized at different levels of specificity in three theoretical models.

Practical implications

The models indicated in this study can assist project clients to clarify the PtD SKE of prospective PDs in the procurement process. Correspondingly, PDs can look to these frameworks to identify their SKE gaps and take steps to address them.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the PtD literature by providing theoretical frameworks to clarify the PtD SKE of PDs. The study provides a basis for future research to empirically test the attributes of these as they relate to PDs’ competence to ensure PtD.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement no. 837721.

Declarations of interest: None.

Citation

Adaku, E., Ankrah, N.A. and Ndekugri, I.E. (2022), "Prevention through design: conceptual models for the assessment of a principal designer’s skills, knowledge and experience", Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, Vol. 20 No. 3, pp. 595-623. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEDT-07-2020-0278

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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