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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, Volume 6, Issue 2
This issue features articles covering building design innovation, using the Gaussian and hyperbolic distributions to improve quality in construction, job satisfaction of South African quantity surveyors comparing employers with employees, risk identification on community-based construction projects in Zambia, women helping women and entrepreneurship education in a developing country.
Murphy, Perera, and Heaney discuss the adoption of product innovations into construction projects by designers. They proceed to identify and classify recent examples of innovation using an accepted construction innovation model. They found in their study that designers interpreted building linkages more diversely than product manufacturers and suppliers. These linkages included aspects of building orientation, façade design, service integration, floor layouts, lighting design, fire safety, and sustainability. The authors motivate for the increased uptake of innovation by building designers.
Tam and Le compare the use of Gaussian and hyperbolic distributions to improve the quality of construction. They recognize that primarily management and statistical techniques have been used by organizations to improve construction quality. They demonstrate that the six α principle could be employed using these distributions and that costs could consequently be lowered and project quality improved. They found that of the two distributions, the hyperbolic distribution can more effectively model to model project cost data.
In their paper, Bowen, Cattell, Michell, and Edwards report the findings of a comparative study examining the levels of job satisfaction of employees and employers in the quantity surveying profession in South Africa. Their web-based national survey found that employers and employees did not differ significantly in lob satisfaction levels. Employers reported greater presence of factors such as salary, promotion prospects, personal satisfaction, recognition, autonomy, team participation and social interaction. On the other hand, employees reported more instances of discrimination on the basis of gender. The authors argue that the findings of the study provide food for thought for both employers and employees.
Mañelele and Muya discuss the risks associated with the involvement of local communities in infrastructure development. They contend that that community members involved in such projects might not be conversant with construction and procurement procedures. The findings of their study in Zambia were that there were critical risks associated with project initiation, community contribution and participation, budget and finance, skilled labor, materials procurement and technical supervision, and quality control. These risks required forward planning, assessment and mitigation.
In her paper, Verwey describes the findings of a pilot study in South Africa on empowering women through mentoring and coaching. In a pilot project partnering with industry stakeholders, the Development Bank of Southern Africa as incubator of South African Women in Construction, further explored what support women contractors required to succeed, tested mentoring and coaching as part of enterprise development. Analysis of data derived from a survey of women contractors indicated that women overwhelming viewed mentoring and coaching as key capacity building and growth strategies towards successful women-owned construction enterprises. She argues that knowledge sharing of lessons learnt in the joint initiative between government, the building industry, development finance institutions and women associations contributed to addressing critical skills shortages and gender equity. This particular study was one of the first major interventions in the South African construction industry that succeeded in the development of women contractors using women mentors and coaches and presents as developmental model for future similar projects.
In the final paper, Jaafar and Abdul Aziz evaluate the entrepreneurship module offered in a project management postgraduate degree at master’s level in an effort to demonstrate the necessity of entrepreneurship education in construction programs. The findings are discussed in the context of the contribution of SMEs in the national economy. They found that the insistence of the Malaysian Government to have entrepreneurship education included in public university programs was strongly supported and might reduce the number of construction business failures.
Special thanks to each of the contributing authors and reviewers for their contributions to the papers in this particular issue.
Theo C. Haupt