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Article
Publication date: 22 June 2021

Johnson Adafin, Suzanne Wilkinson, James O. B. Rotimi, Casimir MacGregor, John Tookey and Regan Potangaroa

This study aims to examine how innovation can be accelerated within the New Zealand (NZ) building industry to improve the productivity and efficiency of the industry.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine how innovation can be accelerated within the New Zealand (NZ) building industry to improve the productivity and efficiency of the industry.

Design/methodology/approach

The study adopted a mixed philosophical approach combining interpretivism and post-positivism. Data for the study were obtained through a focus group of 50 practitioners that were selected using a stratified sampling procedure. All focus group data were audio-recorded, notes of the discussions were taken and then transcribed, de-identified and managed using NVivo software. Data analysis was undertaken using thematic analysis and inductive reasoning consistent with interpretative phenomenological analysis.

Findings

The study findings revealed that the industry could benefit from the adoption of new and emerging technologies to improve its performance, especially its productivity and efficiency. Key drivers for the adoption of innovative practices included the adaptation of “local best practices” from case studies that would consist of stories of successful innovations that could foster confidence in future innovation. It was also identified that Government and industry should nurture innovation through collaborative contracts, policies and regulations. Further, it was highlighted that a culture of innovation needed to be developed to help nurture competencies and capability within the industry workforce.

Research limitations/implications

This study provides an in-depth examination of the need for innovation from the point of view of building industry practitioners. This study provides a useful starting-off point for further research and for the creation of policies that could help to support and accelerate innovation within the NZ building industry.

Practical implications

NZ’s building industry productivity and efficiency have been sub-optimal relative to other industries. But using evidence from the experiences and knowledge of industry practitioners, strategies can be developed to accelerate innovation within the NZ building industry that could help reverse industry performance. Further, the research findings can help inform government policies to develop support mechanisms that could encourage innovation in the industry in NZ. In addition, it is anticipated that the findings will provide a useful set of guidance for other countries that have similar market and physical constraints as those encountered by NZ.

Originality/value

There is a dearth of empirical studies on innovation in the NZ building industry which the current study contributes to. By sharing industry practitioners’ experiences and knowledge of innovation, the paper seeks to counteract more technocratic and technological optimist accounts of innovation within the building industry. Further, the paper provides insights into how the NZ building industry can transform its performance through innovation.

Details

Construction Innovation , vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

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Article
Publication date: 16 January 2017

Yan Chang-Richards, Suzanne Wilkinson, Erica Seville and David Brunsdon

The purpose of this paper is to empirically investigate the effects of a major disaster on the management of human resources in the construction sector. It sets out to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to empirically investigate the effects of a major disaster on the management of human resources in the construction sector. It sets out to identify the construction skills challenges and the factors that affected skills availability following the 2010/2011 earthquakes in Christchurch. It is hoped that this study will provide insights for on-going reconstruction and future disaster response with respect to the problem of skills shortages.

Design/methodology/approach

A triangulation method was adopted. The quantitative method, namely, a questionnaire survey, was employed to provide a baseline description. Field observations and interviews were used as a follow-up to ascertain issues and potential shortages over time. Three focus groups in the form of research workshops were convened to gain further insight into the feedback and to investigate the validity and applicability of the research findings.

Findings

The earthquakes in Christchurch had compounded the pre-existing skills shortages in the country due to heightened demand from reconstruction. Skills shortages primarily existed in seismic assessment and design for land and structures, certain trades, project management and site supervision. The limited technical capability available nationally, shortage of temporary accommodation to house additional workers, time needed for trainees to become skilled workers, lack of information about reconstruction workloads and lack of operational capacity within construction organisations, were critical constraints to the resourcing of disaster recovery projects.

Research limitations/implications

The research findings contribute to the debate on skills issues in construction. The study provides evidence that contributes to an improved understanding of the industry’s skills vulnerability and emerging issues that would likely exist after a major disaster in a resource-limited country such as New Zealand.

Practical implications

From this research, decision makers and construction organisations can gain a clear direction for improving the construction capacity and capability for on-going reconstruction. Factors that affected the post-earthquake skills availability can be considered by decision makers and construction organisations in their workforce planning for future disaster events. The recommendations will assist them in addressing skills shortages for on-going reconstruction.

Originality/value

Although the study is country-specific, the findings show the nature and scale of skills challenges the construction industry is likely to face following a major disaster, and the potential issues that may compound skills shortages. It provides lessons for other disaster-prone countries where the resource pool is small and a large number of additional workers are needed to undertake reconstruction.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 24 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 17 June 2020

Johnson Adafin, James O.B. Rotimi and Suzanne Wilkinson

There has been a lack of research, particularly within the New Zealand (NZ) context, focusing on the identification and assessment of risk factors for construction…

Abstract

Purpose

There has been a lack of research, particularly within the New Zealand (NZ) context, focusing on the identification and assessment of risk factors for construction projects, leading to a wide variation between design-phase elemental cost plans (ECPs) and the outturn tender sums (OTS). Still to be investigated is how risks interact to produce such variability. This study aims to determine the risk-influencing factors, identified through risk measurement, during design development.

Design/methodology/approach

This study adopted literature review and online questionnaire survey. The literature review was used to identify the factors affecting project budgetary performance, which was used to design the questionnaire survey culminating in data analysis. The questionnaire was administered to 64 practising project managers (PMs) in NZ. Their responses were analysed using descriptive statistics, mean ranking analysis, degree-of-risk measure and correlational analysis, to find the top-five risk factors impacting the variability observed, through ranking the mean and degree of risk values that produce such variability.

Findings

Significant risk factors were identified from the questionnaire survey analysis, such as changes in project owner/stakeholder requirements, experience of project team, site condition information, competency of consultants and information flow and quality. These provided some insights in explaining the variability between the design-phase ECPs and OTS based on risk impacts from PMs’ viewpoints.

Research limitations/implications

Findings revealed a drift of 23.86% in budgeted costs (inflated risks), which seems significant. Prioritising top risk factors may provide handy information for researchers on the variables that could be relied upon for the development of a forecasting model for application in NZ.

Practical implications

The study findings have implications for PMs seeking to provide information on mitigation strategies by using risk management approach, considering the influence of development risks on building project delivery and, consequently the project owner’s financial position. To guard against wide variation between design-phase ECPs and OTS, the main contribution of this study is to raise consultants’ awareness of the important risk factors for their planning at the outset, thus assisting PMs in pro-actively managing their clients' budgets.

Originality/value

This study creates value by synthesising literature on construction project budgeting and highlighting areas for further research. By giving adequate attention to key risks associated with budget overruns in commercial projects, variability between ECPs and OTS, a common phenomenon in NZ, can be controlled to achieve cost savings. Based on this, further study suggests the development of a model that could assist the stakeholders in NZ to more reliably predict OTS from the design-phase ECP and pro-actively avoid unfortunate budget/cost overruns, disputes and even project abandonment.

Details

Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology , vol. 19 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1726-0531

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2020

Shankar Neeraj, Sandeeka Mannakkara and Suzanne Wilkinson

This paper aims to understand the recovery process after the 2018 floods in Kerala, India, and it determines whether the recovery efforts were aligned with Build Back…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to understand the recovery process after the 2018 floods in Kerala, India, and it determines whether the recovery efforts were aligned with Build Back Better (BBB) concepts.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative approach was adopted to collect the data from the officials of Government and NGOs involved in Kerala recovery. The participants were interviewed on the challenges faced during the recovery process and the actions taken by them to overcome it.

Findings

The study identified that the Kerala Government was proactive at making the community resilient from future disasters by – encouraging owner-driven reconstruction among flood-affected households; supporting locals to rejuvenate their business; and by creating a local-level recovery authority. Further, this paper identifies the areas that Kerala was lacking in terms of BBB and where resilience-based plans and actions are needed for the future.

Research limitations/implications

The participants were employees of Government and NGOs at a state level as they were the primary decision-makers to implement any recovery actions. Researchers believe that the authorities at district and village level could have had a different perspective towards implementing the recovery actions.

Practical implications

The best practices presented in this paper for effective BBB will assist the government to build/improve resilience in the community.

Originality/value

The implementation of BBB concepts in the areas of disaster risk reduction, community recovery and effective implementation was never studied extensively. The research provides valuable information on what extent Kerala’s post-disaster recovery and reconstruction activities were in-line with BBB practices.

Details

International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, vol. 12 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1759-5908

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Article
Publication date: 14 January 2020

Osamuede Odiase, Suzanne Wilkinson and Andreas Neef

The risks of natural hazards such as flooding, earthquakes, tsunami, landslides, tornado, coastal erosion and volcano are apparent in Auckland because of its vulnerability…

Abstract

Purpose

The risks of natural hazards such as flooding, earthquakes, tsunami, landslides, tornado, coastal erosion and volcano are apparent in Auckland because of its vulnerability to multiple risks. The coping capacity of individuals serves as a precursor to the adaptation to inherent challenges. The purpose of this paper was to examine the coping capacity of the South African community in Auckland to a disaster event.

Design/methodology/approach

This study gathered information from both primary and secondary sources. Interviews and survey were the main sources of primary data. The research used parametric and non-parametric statistical tools for quantitative data analysis, and the general inductive process and a three-step coding process to analyse qualitative data. The research findings are discussed in line with existing studies.

Findings

The results indicated that the aggregate coping capacity of the community was above average on the scale of 1-5 with communication and economic domains having the highest and least capacities, respectively. An improvement in disaster response activities and economic ability among the vulnerable population should be considered in future policy to enhance coping capacity.

Research limitations/implications

The study was limited to the time of the investigation. The practical coping capacity of the community during challenges will be determined. This study excludes the roles of institutions and the natural environment in coping capacity because the unit of analysis was the individual members of the community.

Originality/value

The research is a pioneer study on the coping capacity of the South African community in Auckland.

Details

International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, vol. 11 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1759-5908

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Article
Publication date: 28 June 2018

Sadegh Aliakbarlou, Suzanne Wilkinson and Seosamh B. Costello

The purpose of this paper is to improve the understanding of what clients value from contractors’ services. Understanding client values and the way by which clients…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to improve the understanding of what clients value from contractors’ services. Understanding client values and the way by which clients perceive value will contribute to client-perceived value within contracting services.

Design/methodology/approach

A literature review was conducted to understand how clients perceive value in the construction industry. In addition, conducting expert interviews and document analysis helped in achieving the research purpose.

Findings

The findings show that values associated with time, cost and quality can be considered as important client values, while they are not exclusive values for assessing contractor service anymore. Construction clients are concerned about health and safety, low rate of environmental impact, guarantees, creativity, technology transfer, value for money, reliability and tangibles of their contractors’ services. In addition, they value their contractors’ behaviour, attitude and professionalism.

Research limitations/implications

The study has disseminated different client values, through classified outcomes, to make the knowledge area more available to construction service providers. This study’s findings helped in understanding client values and how clients perceive value from contractors’ services. With this information, contractors are able to provide better services to clients. Satisfactory delivery of the values identified in this study is believed to have the greatest impact on client-perceived value within contracting services. Developing a management strategy that recognises, prioritises and satisfactorily delivers these values is essential to ensure that highest level of client-perceived value is achieved.

Originality/value

The construction literature is focussed on traditional values related to time, cost and quality, while this study highlighted the role of values such as trust, commitment, communication and other non-result-ordinated values essential for achieving client satisfaction. This study’s findings proposed a new practical assessment concept to value construction contractor services.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 11 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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Article
Publication date: 6 February 2017

Mark Bassett, Suzanne Wilkinson and Sandeeka Mannakkara

The purpose of this paper is to determine how post-disaster legislation can be used to support building back better (BBB) in the horizontal infrastructure sector (roading…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to determine how post-disaster legislation can be used to support building back better (BBB) in the horizontal infrastructure sector (roading, water, wastewater and stormwater networks).

Design/methodology/approach

A case study approach was taken looking at the rebuild following the Canterbury earthquakes in New Zealand. Data were collected through document analysis and semi-structured open-ended interviews with members of the organization responsible for implementing the horizontal infrastructure rebuild.

Findings

The results showed that the post-disaster legislative actions taken in Christchurch were comparable to existing findings on post-disaster legislative best practices in developed countries. This study confirmed that post-disaster legislation is an effective mechanism to support BBB through enforcing BBB concepts such as risk reduction and better implementation, and facilitating the recovery process to improve efficiency.

Research limitations/implications

It is recommended that this study is extended to conduct similar case studies in other countries to further explore legislative implications in different sectors as well as different legislative environments.

Originality/value

This paper makes a valuable contribution to existing research on how post-disaster legislation can be used to support BBB in the horizontal infrastructure sector. The findings also add to wider knowledge on the Canterbury earthquakes recovery process.

Details

Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal, vol. 26 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0965-3562

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 26 July 2021

Amarachukwu Nnadozie Nwadike and Suzanne Wilkinson

New Zealand building code may be serving its purpose to an extent, there is still a need to develop a framework to improve the use and application of building code for…

Abstract

Purpose

New Zealand building code may be serving its purpose to an extent, there is still a need to develop a framework to improve the use and application of building code for better building performance and services. This study aims to validate the identified parameters in the developed framework to improve building code practice in New Zealand.

Design/methodology/approach

Subject matter experts interview was conducted with key stakeholders that use building code, standards and other associated compliance documents.

Findings

The findings from this study establish the importance of improving the building code, and the efficacy of validated framework helps to identify the areas with the most pressing needs within the building regulatory system. All the subject matter experts unanimously agreed on educating and training the building code users. Besides, the validated framework will enable the policy decision-makers in the building regulatory system to promote the use of building code and the utilisation of its potentials in reducing disaster while increasing the built environment resilience. The study concludes that the designed framework will create more robust strategy implementations to enhance innovative solutions embedded in performance-based building code.

Originality/value

This study originality centres on the practical application of an evidence-based framework for performance-based building code, standards and other related compliance documents.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 11 April 2016

Suzanne Wilkinson, Alice Yan Chang-Richards, Zulkfli Sapeciay and Seosamh B. Costello

Improving the resilience of the construction sector helps countries recover quicker from crises and can assist with improving community resilience and recovery. This study…

Abstract

Purpose

Improving the resilience of the construction sector helps countries recover quicker from crises and can assist with improving community resilience and recovery. This study aims to explore ways in which the construction sector might improve its resilience.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper examined past disasters and the role construction plays to understand what and how better construction resilience can be built, and the impact this will have on recovery and reconstruction.

Findings

The findings showed that after a crisis, the construction sector is called upon to manage building and infrastructure recovery and reconstruction. Construction organisations are needed by the community, as they provide physical resources, people, materials, logistics, management and technical expertise and rebuilding. To ensure that recovery and reconstruction programs are successfully implemented, it is necessary for the construction sector to be resilient. To achieve improved resilience in the construction industry, disaster resilience management needs to become mainstreamed into construction processes.

Research limitations/implications

Although larger organisations have some preparation to respond to crises, including having emergency or disaster plans, smaller companies struggle to achieve a reasonable level of resilience. It appears that senior management and key people in construction organisations are familiar with the procedures but that the majority of staff in organisations lack knowledge and skills.

Practical implications

Understanding the role the construction sector plays in disasters and providing directions for improving construction sector resilience will ultimately improve recovery and reconstruction outcomes.

Social Implications

This paper discusses how communities rely on services provided by construction organisations to enable them to recover from emergencies and crises. Pre-disaster construction company resilience impacts on the ability of construction companies to function post-disaster.

Originality/value

This paper focuses on a number of cases and shows where and how the construction sector has worked in disasters and provides a new analysis of the role the industry plays, and the various disaster stages where the industry has maximum impact.

Details

International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, vol. 7 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1759-5908

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Article
Publication date: 5 June 2017

Sadegh Aliakbarlou, Suzanne Wilkinson, Seosamh B. Costello and Hyounseung Jang

The purpose of this paper is to explore and prioritize the key client values within contracting services for reconstructing the built environment in post-disaster situations.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore and prioritize the key client values within contracting services for reconstructing the built environment in post-disaster situations.

Design/methodology/approach

A literature review, semi-structured interviews and questionnaire survey were included in this study. A comparative analysis was used to obtain different perspectives between public and private sectors.

Findings

A total of 39 client values were identified in this study. Clients for disaster reconstruction services put more emphasis on values such as timeliness, availability of resources, competency, building a trust-based relationship, financial stability, and communication techniques than contract price. Public and private clients have a different perspective regarding the importance of the identified values, while these are not statistically significant for the most important values.

Research limitations/implications

The construction literature is focussed on business-as-usual rather than post-disaster reconstruction. To ensure that reconstruction programmes after a disaster are successfully implemented, it is necessary to identify and prioritize the client values within contracting services. Focussing the attention of the service providers on these values is believed to have the greatest impact on the programmes’ success.

Practical implications

Understanding the client values identified by this study can aid contractors to better prepare for reconstruction programmes and provide improved services to clients.

Originality/value

A number of important client values within contracting services that appear to have a bearing on the success of disaster reconstruction programmes were identified in this study.

Details

Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal, vol. 26 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0965-3562

Keywords

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