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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Editorial: overtaking targets and marking milestones
Editorial: overtaking targets and marking milestones
Article Type: Editorial From: Built Environment Project and Asset Management, Volume 1, Issue 2.
It is a pleasure to preface this second BEPAM editorial with a confirmation that we are meeting milestones and exceeding expectations. Apart from keeping ahead of publication schedules, we are publishing more papers than planned for the inaugural year, while upholding quality and our initial objective of linking the project management in the design and delivery of built infrastructure, to the downstream management of these built assets, e.g. in designing for better operations and maintenance.
Some of you may recall an e-mail debate in March 2011 in the “cnbr” (co-operative network of building researchers) group, on the merits or otherwise of launching new journals in our field. We trust that BEPAM is already proving its worth in general, as well as carving a particular niche in highlighting growing imperatives to identify and explore critical interfaces that link front-end design and construction management issues to downstream asset management, in the pursuit of a more sustainable built environment.
For example, in this issue, Raphael's paper targets improved design processes through multi-criteria optimsation of the designed built asset, in terms of energy use in building services. Ling and Ng's paper focuses on improving performance of another type of infrastructure – roads, based on an end-user survey and linking back to design, as well as construction productivity issues. At a broader level, the paper by Madritsch and Ebinger takes us from a “Built Environment Management Model” for measuring the facility management (FM) capability of an organisation to a “Built Environment Management Maturity Model” to measure facility management/real estate maturity. This tool enables the authors to assess the FM capability of a wide range of organisations with real estate portfolios including hospitals, across the USA and Europe, particularly in Austria. Approaching another important issue, as well as from an interestingly different angle, Xu, Duffield and Ma develop and validate from Australia, what they call a “Fuzzy Recognition Based-Benefit Estimation Model” to quantify benefits obtained from mid-project reviews to inform and improve critical decisions in capital projects, including in optimising project lifecycle performance. Braj and Ogunlana's paper analyses conflicts in dam projects using system dynamics tools. This also provides a counterpoint in terms of the chosen conflict analysis approach to that in a paper by Tam in the first BEPAM issue, that focused on another type of water-related infrastructure, i.e. in harbour-front design. Singh uses Bayesian analysis to identify relative failure vulnerabilities of different pipe types at a water utility, thereby providing useful information to both designers and asset managers who can factor these into both initial designs and maintenance strategies. In another topical context given increasing concerns following recent natural disasters, Deshmukh, Oh and Hastak develop and present a severity assessment tool to evaluate the social and economic impact of floods, on critical infrastructure. For example, highways and utilities including electric, water, waste management and gas are considered in their detailed impact assessments.
Indeed it is also interesting to observe the diversity of the built infrastructure types addressed across the papers in this issue as well. Rather than diluting the message, this range illustrates the pervasiveness and relevance of the core BEPAM thrusts and objectives. In terms of geographical diversity, a couple of dimensions are noteworthy – apart from the countries where the studies are based, e.g. Australia, Austria, Nepal, Singapore, USA; the national roots and international exposures of the various authors, e.g. from China, India, Malaysia, Nigeria, South Korea, etc., apart from those countries mentioned above, also indicate the wealth of experiences being woven together in the rich tapestry herein.
Two points from the inaugural editorial merit expansion as follows:
the gratitude I owe to our Emerald colleagues, the editorial team, authors, reviewers and others without whom this issue would not have been released on time and with a quality that you are invited to judge; and
the gratitude I offer in advance to those of you who will contribute as authors and reviewers in the near future, as well as those who decide to spread the word about BEPAM to relevant colleagues, students and friends who may find something of interest in BEPAM, whether purely in some of the content and/or in specific methodologies, or also in the BEPAM vision of bridging project management with asset management issues, within one holistic forum.
Two new points are worthy of mention in terms of “spreading the word” and more important in improving and developing “the word” which after all must grow with, if not ahead of the times:
we arranged BEPAM “Best Paper Awards” to recognise and reward quality at two past international conferences: at the 6th International Conference on “Innovation in AEC”, in the USA in June 2010 and the ISEC-06 Conference in Switzerland in June 2011; while one more is now on offer for the most deserving paper in the “Joint CIB W070, W092 and TG72 International Conference on Facilities Management Procurement Systems and Public Private Partnership” in South Africa in January 2012; and
any of you who have a great idea for a topical theme relevant to our BEPAM thrusts, more importantly coupled with the dedication to shepherd a “Special Issue” on this theme: are welcome to submit a brief proposal, say, in about 250 words for our consideration, also indicating any previous experiences as a Guest Editor.
On the above note of Special Issues, I refer to the 50th Anniversary Special Issue of the ASCE Journal of Construction Engineering and Management. Issued in September 2007, it contains many interesting papers, e.g. a review of 50 years of construction engineering research by Daniel Halpin and a vision of the next 50 years by Ray Levitt. In the latter, he envisages (in 2007) a challenge for the next five decades to “conduct research that will help to maximise the lifecycle economic, environmental and social value of the built environment over its lifecycle through an integrated global network of firms”; also highlighting an “associated educational challenge” to educate “system integrators with a focus on lifecycle triple bottom line maximisation of the built environment”.
It seems to me that the BEPAM vehicle is driving in the same direction as envisioned above. We look forward to accelerating this journey by inspiring and drawing on academia and industry on topical themes and developments, exciting research questions, enlightening findings and breakthrough practices; including of course through synergies with the dissemination in relevant sister journals and other media. Interestingly, the “founding editor” of the above ASCE Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, Dan Morris wrote on the “Evolution of a journal” in its 50th Anniversary Special Issue. Of course all founding editors may not aspire to contribute directly to a golden jubilee issue, given that there is more than one set of sustainability and lifecycle issues involved! Still it is hoped that the foundations we are laying will enable some amongst us to look back in appreciation of how BEPAM itself grew and contributed in its first 50 years, while charting a course for its future contributions.