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Alencastro, J, Fuertes, A and de Wilde, P (2020) Quality Management in UK Social Housing Projects: Addressing Thermal Performance. In: Scott, L and Neilson, C J (Eds.), Proceedings 36th Annual ARCOM Conference, 7-8 September 2020, UK, Association of Researchers in Construction Management, 156-165.

  • Type: Conference Proceedings
  • Keywords: Quality management, thermal performance, construction defects. social housing
  • ISBN/ISSN: 978-0-9955463-3-2
  • URL: http://www.arcom.ac.uk/-docs/proceedings/1273fb676a1003be1734e29f3ab85363.pdf
  • Abstract:

    Construction defects in the domestic sector, especially those occurring in the building fabric, are acknowledged to contribute to the energy performance gap of buildings. Discontinuity of insulation layers, gaps in the vapour/air barriers and thermal bridging through building elements lead to undesired heat loss, and thus to the increase of energy use for space heating. There is strong body of evidence showing that despite the number of quality management procedures put in place in social housing projects, defects affecting the thermal performance of dwellings are still a major issue to be managed. Within this context, this study investigates how Project Quality Plans related to thermal performance of dwellings are defined and implemented in the UK social housing projects. Understanding how established Project Quality Plans are addressing quality defects affecting the thermal performance of social housing is the first step to enable the development of measures to improve the thermal performance of dwellings and the delivery of a common good in society through higher comfort levels, reduced energy bills and carbon emissions. The analysis of evidence collected from five social housing case studies suggests that in the majority of the projects, the deployed quality management procedures focused on visual quality issues, allowing defects with the potential to impair the thermal performance of the dwellings to remain uncorrected. Despite a range of quality management procedures administered by the projects’ stakeholders, they did not systematically appraise such defects neither during preconstruction phase, nor during the construction stage. This study provides a summary of the challenges encountered in relation to the development and implementation of Project Quality Plans with focus on the thermal performance of dwellings. In addition, recommendations focused on offsetting the identified challenges are proposed as means to mitigate the quality issues affecting the thermal performance in social housing projects.