Architecture, Building and Planning - Research Publications

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    Building circularity in infrastructure and commercial construction
    Aranda-Mena, G ; Vaz-Serra, P (Deakin University, 2021-10-28)
    This paper discusses issues, challenges and opportunities to engage with circularity and the circular economy in the property construction and infrastructure sectors. In particular when looking at procurement delivery methods in which operational expenditure (Opex) can offset higher upfront expenditure (Capex). Opportunities are here discussed for governments and the private sector to increase their environmental credentials and project performance. At the heart of this lies engaging with values for circularity through procurement. Two whole of life-cycle procurement methods are discussed in relation to opportunities including Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) and Build to Rent (BTR), each presents opportunities for Value for Money (VfM); increased project quality; and reduction of carbon footprint and waste in building and infrastructure projects. This paper concludes with an argument on business opportunities with circularity and whole-of-life-cycle (WoL) in mind. And reminds of the moral and ethical responsibility to all property, construction and infrastructure stakeholders.
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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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    Knowledge Management Systems in construction: a case study in the Portuguese industry
    VAZ-SERRA, P ; GARDINER, B ; Zuo, J ; Daniel, L ; Soebarto, V (The Architectural Science Association and The University of Adelaide, 2016)
    Knowledge Management Systems (KMS) are a structured framework for the retention and application of organisational knowledge. The costs of investment in KMS can be high and such systems need to be well planned to increase the likelihood of success. KMS in construction companies have been analysed in the last decade by both industry and academia to identify the best solutions for successful implementation. This research reports on a comparative case study in Portugal on the perception of KMS by construction professionals, architecture and engineering consultants and consultants in the business, information technology, and communication sectors. This comparison helped to identify the lessons learned in sectors where KMS are successfully developed and transpose this learning to the construction industry. Research data was obtained through semi-structured interviews encompassing professionals, Operational Managers, Project Managers and technical experts to ensure that a broad range of views was obtained. Findings demonstrate that for a KMS to be effective and successful in the construction industry, the system should be seen as integrated rather than external. This paper identifies the need to prepare a successful KMS in organisational culture with a strategy and identification of values of knowledge into an integrated organisational process.
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    Knowledge management system in a construction company: A case study
    Vaz-Serra, PVS ; Ribeiro, Francisco Loforte, FLR ; Grilo, Antonio, AG ; Gudnason, Gudni, GG ; Scherer, Raimar, RS (Taylor & Francis Group, 2012)
    In an increasingly global world, with great mobility, construction companies must be in permanent alert finding new solutions in order to be more competitive and innovative, reducing costs and response times. The construction company can be seen as an entity where the confidence is a key factor in the decision. Often the more decisive choice is the one that can get the most positive evaluations of previous clients, good price and service. The system ConstruKnowledge was created to be used by construction companies for their knowledge management process. One of the innovations of this system is the fact that, in a simplified form and without great effort, the users can start using the system without be necessary to change their usual procedures. The system has been mapped in tree different sites: the My Site where are the information about the worker, the Site Room where the information of each project are and a third part called Knowledge Base Site where all the information are included regarding all the collaborator. That allow to the company to have access also to external knowledge avoiding sharing only inside, without external and refreshing ideas. The results of the system ConstruKnowledge have demonstrated that knowledge management is important for an enduring relationship between a construction company and a customer, providing the whole process documentation and construction phases that the client may require in the future.
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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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    The Challenge of Knowledge Management for Design, Engineering and Management Companies
    VAZ-SERRA, PVS (RICS, 2016)
    The challenge of Knowledge Management (KM) can bring new innovative solutions, competitiveness advantages, reduced response times and increased control risks. For the De-sign, Engineering and Management (DEM) companies, identification, capture, dissemination and reuse of knowledge is a priority and, therefore, one their most valuable assets. However, there is little consensus on the ways this knowledge is managed and the true nature and chal-lenges of knowledge creation and dissemination processes. Previous research has found that the knowledge created in each design is often lost due to the fast pace of the design process of a typical building project. This research identifies the challenge of KM implementation in twelve DEM companies in Portugal and with three international Business Consultants (BC) with successful Knowledge Management Systems (KMS). Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with closed and open-ended questions. The analysis of the data revealed that DEM companies in Portugal are aware of the importance of KM systems, but that only one-third has implemented them. Comparison with international BC companies with mature KMS clearly demonstrated that some management rules are essential to success. In conclu-sion, ten recommendations were identified to help DEM companies in their KMS implementa-tion challenge.
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    ‘BLT’ is not a sandwich: learning & teaching emerging building procurement methods; Australian, Asian and European perspectives
    Aranda-Mena, G ; Vaz-Serra, P ; Zhao, X ; Kalutara, P ; Webber, R (Central Queensland University, 2019)
    A clear understanding of procurement methods for built environment professionals is paramount. The current building process continues to evolve for both, governments and private sector clients and in cases also for combined public-private concessions. Over the last 25 years clients have become more knowledgeable on procurement, project finance and construction delivery mechanisms. Some institutional clients have evolved to become industry experts, in other cases contractors have become project investors such as in Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) or Build-Lease-Transfer (BLT). As building and construction procurement methods continue to change it is then paramount to bring this knowledge into Master and Higher Education programs related to the built-environment. It is important to clearly understand the emerging procurement methods and mechanisms to successfully deliver and operate projects including building with quality, stakeholder engagement, risk sharing, owner life-cycle operations and project financing strategies. It is important is to learn how to identify key project attributes before selecting a procurement route. This matching exercise is explained in the paper utilising six techniques. This paper then discusses on learning and teaching procurement as experienced by the authors with experiences in Australia, Asia and Europe in particular with research and teaching to Master and Honours students in architecture, engineering, building operations and construction management.
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    Construction Project Manager Skills: a systematic literature review
    Oliveros, JR ; Vaz-Serra, P ; Rajagopalan, P ; Andamon, MM (The Architectural Science Association and RMIT, 2018)
    The construction industry is one of the most important economic activities in the world, and research in this field has identified a positive relationship between project management skills and the success of construction projects. This research project systematically reviewed more than 380 documents in 14 academic journals from the construction and project management fields, searching for construction managers’ skills and competencies, and identifying key skills in educative terms for graduates. The final selection of articles was reviewed in detail and categorised into three themes: education, project manager competencies, and employment. Additionally, a database with 306 competencies, gathered from the reviewed studies, was quantitatively analysed, grouping them into overarching categories. One of the main findings from this systematic literature review is the importance (in quantitative terms) of a project manager’s personal attributes and leadership skills. This systematic literature review explores the current dichotomy the exists within the literature between research about key managerial competencies, and the lack of them within the industry and formal education institutions. Future research will explore how to bridge the gap between academic programs and industry needs.
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    “If you Cannot Measure it, you Cannot Manage it” – Buildability and Performance-Based Appraisal
    Gao, S ; VAZ-SERRA, P ; Gardiner, B ; Lamb, M (Australasian Universities Building Education Association Conference, 2017)
    Buildability has been a perennial issue in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry, with advocates arguing for positive benefits related to cost, time, quality and safety in project development. Evidently, buildability has been seen to offer broader industry gains and efficiencies, and its assessment has been encouraged as a criterion in the regulatory approval process of some countries. If buildability offers positive outcomes in project development, how can these be introduced, measured and assessed in the project development process? In the absence of mandated buildability appraisal systems, does the industry develop its market mechanism to leverage the gains that its consideration offers? Detailed coverage is systematically reviewed with the aim to identify the current trends in buildability. Based on a comparative analysis of existing assessment models of buildability, this paper reviews the suitability of this model, by highlighting the potential difficulties of its adoption, against the current deregulated and highly performance-based context of the Australian construction industry. The outcome of this paper is to provide a research methodology to develop a buildability assessment tool for Australia.
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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.