Infrastructure Engineering - Research Publications

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    Evaluating uncertainties to deliver enhanced service performance in education PPPs: a hierarchical reliability framework
    Geng, L ; Herath, N ; Hui, FKP ; Liu, X ; Duffield, C ; Zhang, L (EMERALD GROUP PUBLISHING LTD, 2022-06-20)
    Purpose This study aims to develop a hierarchical reliability framework to evaluate the service delivery performance of education public–private partnerships (PPPs) effectively and efficiently during long-term operations. Design/methodology/approach The research design included development and test phases. In the development phase, three performance layers, i.e. indicator, component and system, in the education service delivery system were identified. Then, service component reliability was computed through first order reliability method (FORM). Finally, the reliability of the service system was obtained using dynamic component weightings. A PPP school example in Australia was set up in the test phase, where performance indicators were collected from relevant contract documents and performance data were simulated under three assumptive scenarios. Findings The example in the test phase yielded good results for the developed framework in evaluating uncertainties of service delivery performance for education PPPs. Potentially underperforming services from the component to the system level at dynamic timepoints were identified, and effective preventative maintenance strategies were developed. Research limitations/implications This research enriches reliability theory and performance evaluation research on education PPPs. First, a series of performance evaluation indicators are constructed for assessing the performance of the service delivery of the education PPP operations. Then, a reliability-based framework for service components and system is developed to predict service performance of the PPP school operations with consideration of a range of uncertainties during project delivery. Practical implications The developed framework was illustrated with a real-world case study. It demonstrates that the developed reliability-based framework could potentially provide the practitioners of the public sector with a basis for developing effective preventative maintenance strategies with the aim of prolonging the service life of the PPP schools. Originality/value Evaluating education PPPs is challenging as it involves long-term measurement of various service components under uncertainty. The developed reliability-based framework is a valuable tool to ensure that reliability is maintained throughout the service life of education PPPs in the presence of uncertainty.
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    Improving Design by Partnering in Engineering-Procurement-Construction (EPC) Hydropower Projects: A Case Study of a Large-Scale Hydropower Project in China
    Liu, Y ; Tang, W ; Duffield, CF ; Hui, FKP ; Zhang, L ; Zhang, X ; Kang, Y (MDPI, 2021-12-01)
    Hydropower, as a renewable energy resource, has become an important way to fit for Chinese long-term energy policy of energy transformation. Engineering–procurement–construction (EPC) has been increasingly adopted for improving hydropower project delivery efficiency in the utilization of water resources and generation of clean energy, where design plays a critical role in project success. Existing studies advocate the need to use partnering for better solutions to designs in EPC hydropower projects. However, there is a lack of a theoretical framework to systematically address design-related issues considering different participants’ interactions. This study coherently examined the causal relationships among partnering, design management, design capability, and EPC hydropower project performance by establishing and validating a conceptual model, with the support of data collected from a large-scale EPC hydropower project. Path analysis reveals that partnering can directly promote design management and design capability and exert an effect on design capability through enhancing design management, thereby achieving better hydropower project outcomes. This study’s contribution lies in that it theoretically builds the links between intra- and inter-organizational design-related activities by systematically mapping EPC hydropower project performance on partnering, design management, and design capability. These findings also suggest broad practical strategies for participants to optimally integrate their complementary resources into designs to achieve superior hydropower project performance.
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    HOW TO GET INTERNATIONAL CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS DELIVERED ON TIME: FROM CHINESE CONTRACTORS' PERSPECTIVE
    Sun, H ; Tang, W ; Duffield, CF ; Zhang, L ; Hui, FKP (VILNIUS GEDIMINAS TECH UNIV, 2022-01-01)
    67.9% of Chinese international construction projects are seriously delayed, which creates the potential for instability in its rapidly growing share of global contracting markets. A greater understanding of the reasons behind the challenges confronting international contractors is urgently required such that improvements can be developed that ultimately will benefit many countries. This study aims to investigate the time performance of international projects in developing countries and to explore the root causes of time overrun. Based on both quantitative and qualitative analysis of 112 case study projects, collected from 12 of the largest Chinse state-owned enterprises (SOEs), this study identifies the distinctive characteristics of three types of projects (late, acceptable, early) classified based on their time performances. It is established that time performance is significantly related to the contractor’s adaptability and project complexity. The results reveal the root causes of construction delays in international project delivery, which provides a structured and in-depth understanding of both internal and external time performance influential factors. The above findings provide sound basis for guiding practitioners in choosing appropriate strategies to improve project time performance, such as encouraging cross-cultural dialogues, integrating global resources and establishing long-term global partnerships with stakeholders.
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    Foreword
    Duffield, C ; Hui, FKP ; Wilson, S ; Duffield, C ; Hui, FKP ; Wilson, S (Open Book Publishers, 2019-11-01)
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    Managing Interfaces in Large-Scale Projects: The Roles of Formal Governance and Partnering
    Shen, W ; Tang, W ; Wang, Y ; Duffield, CF ; Hui, FKP ; Zhang, L (ASCE-AMER SOC CIVIL ENGINEERS, 2021-07-01)
    Interface management has been viewed as one of the important organizational capabilities to promote coordination and integration among stakeholders in construction project delivery, especially for large-scale projects. This paper examines the role of formal governance, partnering, and organizational boundary activities and their interactions in interface management performance. An integrated framework with consideration of the influence of formal governance, partnering, and boundary activities on interface management performance and associated project outcomes was developed and empirically tested with data collected from 85 large-scale international projects. The results show that formal governance is the dominant determinant of interface management performance and can indirectly influence it through improving partnering and boundary activities. Partnering and boundary activities are also significant antecedents of interface management performance, which, in turn, improves project outcomes of large-scale construction projects. Formal governance and partnering mutually reinforce each other. Interface management performance is positively related to project outcomes in terms of quality, cost, and schedule. This empirical research contributes to the fundamental understanding of the critical factors that govern the interface management performance and, ultimately, the project outcomes. In addition, the outcomes of this study highlighted the broad managerial implications for participants in large-scale projects.
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    A Competency Framework for Construction Engineering Graduates: An Industry Perspective
    ZHANG, X ; TANG, W ; Duffield, CF ; Zhang, L ; Hui, K ; Liu, Y ; Kang, Y (Tempus Publications, 2021-06-20)
    Engineering education plays a key role in training talent engineers to meet the challenges of sustainable development in the construction industry. To address the requirements of construction engineering and sustainable development, a new competency framework was developed based on a systematic literature review. This framework incorporates five categories of competencies, including interdisciplinary knowledge, technical expertise and innovation, identifying and solving problems, managerial capacity, and ethical and professional responsibilities. The framework was validated using a questionnaire survey and eight rounds of interviews. The results suggest that all the five competencies within the proposed framework are important and should be incorporated in the construction engineering education, and this can help graduates deal with sustainability issues in the future.
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    Environment Management of Hydropower Development: A Case Study
    Zhang, Y ; Tang, W ; Duffield, C ; Zhang, L ; Hui, FKP (MDPI AG, 2021-04-06)
    Environment management is one of the key aspects of hydropower development in acquiring sustainable energy. However, there has been limited research demonstrating the overall aspects of environment management of hydropower development with support of sound empirical evidence. In present study, the status of environment management in hydropower development was comprehensively investigated by conducting a case study based on the data collected from a field survey. The results show that, as environment management is largely subject to legal requirements, the environment management system needs to be established by integrating the legal requirements and needs of project implementation. This could potentially reduce the influence of legal restrictions on hydropower development. The main hydropower project environment management processes include identifying key environmental factors, implementation, monitoring, and performance measurement, which deal with environmental issues such as terrestrial and aquatic ecology protection, wastewater treatment, solid waste disposal, and acoustic-environment protection. Project participants should establish partnering relationships to cooperatively deal with environmental impacts of hydropower project development, in which public participation and sufficient resources input into environmental protection are essential for project success. The results of this study provide a sound basis for participants to deal with the key issues of environmental protection such as meeting legal requirements, training for improving environment management process, cost control, and cooperative environment management. The results of this study could help practitioners to tackle the interactions among project delivery, environmental protection, and engagement of local communities in an optimized way with the aim of maximizing effectiveness of the resources of all participants.
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    Initiation of capital projects in industries having an operational focus: an Australian stevedoring case example
    Aldaghlas, H ; Hui, FKP ; Duffield, CF (Emerald, 2020-12-15)
    Purpose: The initiation phase of capital projects is critical as this is where the highest number of options exist for modifying the project with minimal expenditure. Government and large organisations frequently involved in major capital projects have extensive procedures for this phase, yet organisations having an operational focus (like major container terminal stevedores), that only occasionally undertake capital projects face the dilemma of the trade-off between project planning and the management of operations. This research reported in this paper investigated the impact of industry operational considerations on the initiation of capital projects. Design: In addition to an extensive literature review, a living research investigation of real projects initiated by a stevedoring company operating in Australia has been observed; the primary author of this paper spent six months as a participant/observer and witnessed the initiation of 12 capital projects. The collected data was qualitatively analysed using a four-step coding method. Findings: The findings confirm that project initiation is a challenge for organisations who only spasmodically undertake capital projects and available project management frameworks do not necessarily consider the impact of such an organisation's culture. Issues identified that may have a negative impact on the initiation phase include lack of workplace trust, high individualism, ineffective interdepartmental communication, lack of resources and engineering and safety complexity. Originality: The study investigated an underexplored industry within the context of project initiation, using the Australian stevedoring as a case study. This initial investigation suggests that a tailored project management framework is needed for the initiation phase of projects to reflect the unique nature of the stevedoring industry and by inference other industries that have a strong operational focus.
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    Reliability-Based Decision Support Framework for Major Changes to Social Infrastructure PPP Contracts
    Geng, L ; Herath, N ; Zhang, L ; Kin Peng Hui, F ; Duffield, C (MDPI AG, 2020)
    In the operational phase of public-private partnership (PPP) contracts, undue delay in addressing real needs may lead to poor service outcomes; conversely, commencing variations to a PPP agreement on the whim of end-user runs the risk of reducing the value created by detailed structuring and considerations undertaken in establishing agreement. This difficulty is exasperated as there is generally a lack of understanding by the end-user as to the specifics of service delivery performance requirements contracted. In order to address this question, this study, for the first time, develops a reliability-based decision support framework (RDSF) that incorporates end-user’s perceived service quality (i.e., how satisfied it is with the space, operation and maintenance activities) with those specified in the PPP agreement, and further identifies when the gap between end-user’s expectations and contractual obligations warrants reconsideration. This developed framework is then implemented to test the data gathered from three PPP schools in Australia based on both a current snapshot of performance data, i.e., abatements as gathered through contract documents and end-user’s perception through in-depth interviews, and a projected scenario of the future as well. Reliability analysis used here compares time-dependent risk profiles of current and expected performance and thereby identifies major changes in a PPP contract that would sensibly require reconsideration. The specific results indicate there is no current difficulty between end-user’s perception and the contract. However, the projected long-term scenario demonstrates how the decision framework can identify areas for review and changes if end-users are more dissatisfied with the service being achieved. The RDSF is capable of quantifying current service performance, considering the engagement of the end-user. Thus it enriches theories in the field of performance management system (PMS), and also contributes to knowledge regarding an evidence-based test for justifying possible agreement modifications or additional works in social PPPs operations. In addition, guidance for performance improvement strategies in aspects of the dissatisfied area is also provided. Application of this approach would assist in maintaining the long-term value for money of social infrastructure PPP agreements.
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    Potential Infrastructure Enhancements for Ports and Cities: Conclusions, Future Research and Policy Concepts
    Duffield, C ; Wahyuni, S ; Parikesit, D ; Hui, K ; Wilson, S ; Duffield, C ; Hui, K ; Wilson, S (Open Book Publishers, 2019)
    The final chapter of this research monograph draws together key points from each of the chapters. It summarises key findings from the research and poses questions that would benefit from future/further research.