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Atkinson, A R (2002) The pathology of building defects; a human error. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 9(01), 53–61.
- Type: Journal Article
- Keywords: defects; error; management; participant observation; systems
- ISBN/ISSN: 0969-9988
- URL: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/search/expand?pub=infobike://bsc/ecam/2002/00000009/00000001/art00224&unc=
Research driven by major industrial and transportation incidents is increasingly emphasizing the role of managers and systems factors in errors. This is reflected in recent reports and legislation which place emphasis on managerial actions. This paper reports research developing a human error perspective, but applying it to lesser failures in the form of construction defects. An observational study of a 61 unit housing site confirms findings from earlier studies, that managerial factors are important in the occurrence of defects, but also that factors can be linked in a `causal chain'. Latent managerial errors are often hidden behind more obvious operative errors, leading to incorrect attributions and ineffective remedial action. The study also supports a conceptual model of the nature of errors in construction projects, which makes explicit the influence of management on the generation of defects and the need to treat organizations as a whole in considering the reasons for failure