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Atkinson, A (1997) The management of construction failures and defects. In: Stephenson, P (Ed.), Proceedings 13th Annual ARCOM Conference, 15-17 September 1997, Cambridge, UK. Association of Researchers in Construction Management, Vol. 1, 342–52.

  • Type: Conference Proceedings
  • Keywords: Construction failure; defects; human error; project management
  • ISBN/ISSN: 0 86 339 759 X
  • URL: http://www.arcom.ac.uk/-docs/proceedings/ar1997-342-352_Atkinson.pdf
  • Abstract:
    Recent developments in research into the avoidance of accidents and failures in several industries has placed emphasis on managerial forces influencing the event rather than the actions of an individual error perpetrator. Similar research into managerial forces related to lesser construction failures is, however, notable by its absence. This paper reports a study of 23 housing projects constructed by two house-building companies in the UK. A statistical analysis was conducted of "individual", "managerial" and "external" factors compared with dependent variables of cost, times and levels of defects for the projects. Significant relationships were not generally noted between factors and dependent variables, with one important exception. There was a correlation between the senior managers 'a priori' ratings for their site managers and out-turn project performance. This supports the commonly held intuitive view that project performance (whether related to cost, time, defects or accidents) depends on the individual quality of key workers, in this case the site manager. The implications of this finding are that efforts to reduce defects should focus on managerial selection, training and education, rather than interventions of the "quality systems" type.