Kemmer, Sergio (2018) Development of a Method for Construction Management in Refurbishment Projects. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

Refurbishments have different features in comparison with new build projects. This refers mainly to the fact that they are carried out in an existing asset that might remain in operation. Such characteristics increase the complexity inherent to construction settings. Yet, studies indicate that mainstream practices, that are not capable of dealing with complex projects, are predominantly used for managing production. Prior research suggests that the use of such an incompatible management approach is likely to lead to poor performance. Indeed, problems in managing refurbishments have been identified in several countries.

Despite this troubling scenario, the management of refurbishment works has not been properly addressed in the current research agenda. There are numerous studies related to the broad refurbishment area, but only a small number refer to the way those projects are managed. Moreover, the majority of studies about this topic have not been based on a proper theory of production. Clearly, there is a gap in this research domain.

In order to fill such a gap, this research aims to developing a method for construction management in refurbishment projects, with the purpose of improving production performance, by indicating appropriate approaches of production control. The method comprises a conceptual model of refurbishments, a framework for project characterisation, and a list of managerial solutions, grounded on a robust theory of production and suited to the context of refurbishments.

The constructive research approach is adopted in the study. Two rounds of empirical studies were conducted throughout the research. Firstly, two studies were carried out to obtain a deeper understanding of the topic investigated and to develop the initial version of the method. Secondly, a study was conducted to implement and refine the artefact. Thirdly, a focus group was organised to evaluate the utility of the method, to refine it, and to examine its scope of applicability.

The main theoretical contributions of the study, embrace the conceptual model of refurbishments to support effective construction management, the framework having project dimensions for helping managers to cope with the management of complexity innate to refurbishments, and the framework of managerial solutions for production management. In practical terms, the study showed that the application of the method assisted managers in choosing suitable practices for managing construction in a retrofit project and contributed to enhance project performance. Moreover, it is contended that the method can be used to help organisations to get started on lean in refurbishment projects.

Sergio Kemmer FINAL THESIS.PDF - Accepted Version
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