Architecture, Building and Planning - Research Publications

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    Preparing for Building Equality: Insights for Success
    Francis, V ; Costigan, A ; Cunningham, E (The University of Melbourne, 2022)
    The report was commissioned by the Victorian Government so they could develop their Building Equality strategy. This strategy was to be a research led strategy and will be announced later in 2022. This report has took a holistic approach to understanding women’s experiences in construction by beginning in early adolescence when forming vocational interests and concluding in late career. the comprehensive literature review identified career barriers and enablers by career stages. It then reviewed nearly 400 national and international programs aimed at increasing the number of women into non traditional careers and assisting in their retention. The programs were thematically analysed by career stage. 6 exemplar programs were selected and analysed using program theory. Finally, CEOs,/Directors of construction companies were interviewed and focus groups held with women and women's organizations to discuss career barriers. This comprehensive report investigated past literature, current best practice and local barriers to provide a framework for a new government strategy.
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    The Evaluation of the Victorian Women in Construction Strategy Program
    Francis, V ; Chugh, R ; Yang, W ; Tivendale, L ; Cunningham, E (Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, The University of Melbourne, 2021)
    This research led report evaluated the Victorian Government Women in Construction Strategy. Qualitative and quantitative research approaches were deemed appropriate; however, the evaluation adopted a primarily qualitative approach due to the context and timing. Data collection used specific protocols and included key informant interviews, participant interviews, observations, surveys and focus groups, with interviews and focus groups transcribed verbatim. Participants included female school students, careers teachers, female trainees, and industry representatives. Data analysis was conducted at both the individual and cohort level, with qualitative and quantitative data analysed separately and, where appropriate, brought together to produce themes. The evaluation found that "The Women in Construction" Strategy achieved its goals. While the original scope of work was affected by the COVID‐19 situation, modifications were made, and the intended parties received the various pilot programs well. The programs enacted as a part of this strategy have been beneficial in increasing the knowledge of young women looking to enter careers in the construction industry, supporting those in the industry or encouraging cultural change in the workplaces women inhabit. Therefore, their continuation is supported so that longer‐term effects can transpire.
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    Critical Appraisal of Building Information Modelling Research in Australia: A Bibliometric Analysis
    Oraee, M ; Francis, V ; Aibinu, A (Deakin University, 2021)
    Interest in advanced digital technology such as Building Information Modelling (BIM) has grown remarkably in the Architecture, Engineering, Construction, and Operations (AECO) industry over the past decade, and BIM research has proliferated globally. In Australia, alongside the increasing rate of implementing BIM within the AECO industry, academic research has also risen on the topic; however, to the best of authors’ knowledge, a systematic review of the extant literature on BIM in Australia is missing. This study addresses this lack by offering a Scientometric analysis to explore the state of BIM literature in Australia. To this end, a quantitative approach using the ‘science mapping’ technique is employed to examine 473 articles in the field and to highlight their academic discourses that have occurred and emerged over time. Findings revealed primary topic areas in BIM research and their connections as well as research institutions active in BIM research, key authors and their collaboration networks, influential countries, and research outlets. The findings are instructive in identifying the gaps in current research. Research in the area of 3D modelling, visualisation, and technical aspects of BIM has dominated BIM research in Australia. There has been less emphasis on the managerial aspect of BIM, education and training, as well as the emerging and interrelated areas such as the Internet of Things, Blockchain, and Digital Twin. Analysis of the collaboration network of the Australian institutions active in BIM research shows that institutions mainly work in isolation with little or no in-country collaboration. From an international perspective, findings demonstrate an increased collaboration with China rather than those identified as leading countries in BIM research such as the U.K. and the U.S. By providing a view from a meta-perspective, the present study contributes to the body of knowledge of BIM in Australia by informing the researchers, the institutions, and the industry of the need for the future research direction and deeper exchange of knowledge.
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    Augmented Reality adoption in the Australian construction industry: A qualitative framework
    Wang, Y ; Oraee, M ; Vaz-Serra, P ; Francis, V (Deakin University, 2021)
    The adoption of innovative technologies in the construction industry has provided significant benefits to the industry. In Australia, the use of innovative construction technologies has grown increasingly over the past decade and received a significant increase in the level of adoption in construction site activities due to the recent pandemic. One technology that is receiving additional attention to be beneficial to the industry is Augmented Reality (AR). However, its current level of adoption is still very limited due to several reasons the theoretically advantages are not yet well received by the practitioners. To address this gap, this study aimed at investigating the low-level adoption and widespread use of AR technology in the Australian construction industry. To this end, semi-structured interviews were conducted to explore perceptions of the use of AR technology and its limitations from end-users perspectives and managers of construction companies in particular. As a result, a model is presented to map the influential factors and barriers to the adoption of AR. Findings revealed several concepts including lack of knowledge about AR, conservative management attitudes, absence of feasibility analysis, operability and work culture as factors influencing AR adoption in the industry. Moreover, the model provides a basis to direct future research on the topic.
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    Mobile Communication Technologies and the Work-Life Balance of Construction Managers
    FRANCIS, V ; DAVIS, H ; VAZ-SERRA, P (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, 2016)
    The work-life balance of construction managers is precarious due to long work hours and high levels of work-family conflict (WFC). The impact of mobile communication technologies (MCT), such as the mobile phones and tablets, on WFC has not been researched in construction. Research suggests that their use contributes to the blurring of work and non-work boundaries, making it easier for work to intrude on home activities. This research examined the effect of MCT usage on the WFC of Australian construction site managers. An online survey of site management staff with a national construction company ascertained WFC and MCT usage and investigated psychological attachment to work, segmentation preferences (between home and work) and segmentation supplies. Respondents who had higher levels of WFC worked longer hours and extended their work time by using MCTs at home for work. However, they did not perceive MCTs to be useful for their job and overall, a pattern of MCT devices interfering in home life was apparent. Younger workers considered themselves technologically savvy and used more MCT devices at home for work demonstrating that, if correctly configured, MCTs may allow workers to better manage their work and home boundaries. Future research in the area is discussed.
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    Can construction bidding practices be improved through use of the scrum project framework?
    Francis, V ; Vaz-Serra, P ; Ullal, Andre, AU ; Nahri, Aslan Ghods, AGN (© RICS, 2018, 2018)
    The selection of the “right” construction contractor has been a topic of continual interest within academia and industry, with attention focussed on both the selection of the optimal procurement method and the process of tender evaluation. As a consequence, the bidding process, as well as how a tender is conceived and developed, has now been recognised as a crucial element of future project success. This research investigates whether scrum, an agile project management framework, could be of benefit in the tender development and bidding process. The scrum framework, initially developed to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of collaborative projects in the information technology (IT) industry, has been associated with improvements in project planning, communication, team work and project outcomes. The applicability of scrum to construction tender formulation will be considered and proposed research, involving a two-stage methodology of interviews and focus groups with six major contractors, described. A generic model of both the bidding and tendering process and scrum application will be developed. In this first phase of the research, traditionally procured building projects ranging from AUD 20 to 80 million will be examined. Further research will be extended to design and construct (D&C) projects with their additional complexities.
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    Exclusion and Inclusion in the Australian AEC Industry and Its Significance for Women and Their Organizations
    Francis, V ; Michielsens, E (ASCE-AMER SOC CIVIL ENGINEERS, 2021-09-01)
    Based on valuing individual differences and embracing all employees, diversity management is relatively widespread and evident in many organizations. However, discriminatory work practices and lack of support persist in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry, with higher turnover for women and lower participation rates still evident. While well-meaning, these diversity strategies and practices are costly. Therefore, it is essential to understand the benefits women and their organizations gain, as well as attributes associated with more diverse and inclusionary workplaces. A theoretical framework based on social exchange theory was used to develop a questionnaire administered to professional women in the AEC industry. The sample was divided into two groups, women who experienced inclusion or exclusion, and comparisons made using a range of statistical tests. While inclusion did not affect women's career advancement, it was associated with increased satisfaction and decreased turnover intent. Inclusive companies had more female employees and leaders and also featured significantly higher mentoring and organizational training levels. The findings demonstrate inclusion to be essential for women's retention and an important management objective for the AEC industry.
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    Individual Risk Attitudes in Postgraduate Risk Management Education
    Vaz-Serra, P ; Edwards, P ; Gao, S ; Francis, V ; Lamb, M (EasyChair, 2017-10-23)
    Risk management is important for contemporary construction organisations and is a vital constituent of project management education. Before learning about the processes of systematic risk management, construction and project management students need to better understand risk concepts and their own attitudes towards risk. Risk is a psycho- social construct experienced and perceived by individuals. In the Risk in Construction subject offered in the Master of Construction Management programme at the University of Melbourne, students were first invited to respond to a simple questionnaire that measured their own risk attitudes from a task, team and individual risk perspective. This self-knowledge discovery was then applied in their subsequent individual and group assignment work for the subject. The risk profiles were also used in a novel approach to assignment group formation. Students valued the opportunity to explore the alignment between formal project risk management and their own risk attitudes, and used their newly-found understanding in other management-related subjects. Future research will explore cultural and gender influences in these student journeys of self-understanding.
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    Use of an Object-Oriented System for Optimizing Life Cycle Embodied Energy and Life Cycle Material Cost of Shopping Centres
    Weththasinghe, K ; Stephan, A ; Francis, V ; Tiwari, P ; Littlewood, J ; Howlett, RJ ; Capozzoli, A ; Jain, LC (Springer London, 2019)
    Shopping centres are an integral part and a critical component of urban cities in most economies. Typically, the shorter refurbishment cycle and frequent tenant replacements in shopping centres cause excessive use of building materials over its service life. This drastic use of resources, consequently, increase life cycle embodied energy (LCEE) and life cycle material cost (LCMC) of shopping centres. Therefore, careful selection of materials is vital to reduce the negative environmental impacts and material costs. Current research on the implications of material choices on LCEE and LCMC of shopping centres are insubstantial and decisions makers are left with limited information to make better selections. Therefore, selection of energy efficient, cost-effective and environmentally responsive materials and assemblies has been a critical process for the professionals who are involved in decision-making. This paper proposes the use of object-oriented programming (OOP) to develop a mathematical model to develop combinations of building assemblies with minimum LCEE and LCMC of shopping centres through material selection. The model is based for sub-regional shopping centres in Australia, yet can be applied for any similar property type with modifications to databases and model architecture. However, scope of this paper is limited to the development of model architecture with detailed explanations on databases and computing core development. Even though, the detailed presentation of development of OOP structure pro-vides proper insight to the mathematical core for future application.
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