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Atkinson, A R (1998) Human error in the management of building projects. Construction Management and Economics, 16(03), 339-49.

  • Type: Journal Article
  • Keywords: defect; human error; project management
  • ISBN/ISSN: 0144-6193
  • URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/014461998372367
  • Abstract:

    This paper seeks to improve the understanding of human error as it is applied to the generation of defects in construction projects. It reviews the literature concerning human error, commencing at the psychological basis of errors. From this, the review is expanded to include literature from forensic engineering, industrial safety, reliability engineering, sociology and quality management. Based on the literature, a model of the factors influencing the incidence of errors in project based industries is constructed. This model proposes that errors leading to defects and more dramatic failures can be generated from all levels of project organizations. They stem from primary factors (related to the performance of the individual), management factors (related to a range of managerial tasks) and global factors (related to wider external influences). These factors can be displayed as a hierarchy with primary factors at the base and global factors at the top. The paper reports on the results of an initial test of this model by reference to a survey of a sample of construction industry practitioners. The findings of the survey support the model, with some modifications. Additionally, some differences in view were noted: in particular, respondents from a construction background emphasized managerial factors more strongly than those from a design background.