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Boothman, J C, Higham, A and Horsfall, B (2012) Attaining zero defects within building schools for the future: a realistic target or a Sisyphean task?. In: Smith, S.D (Ed.), Proceedings 28th Annual ARCOM Conference, 3-5 September 2012, Edinburgh, UK. Association of Researchers in Construction Management, 991–1001.

  • Type: Conference Proceedings
  • Keywords: building defects; quality; total quality management
  • ISBN/ISSN: 978-0-9552390-6-9
  • URL: http://www.arcom.ac.uk/-docs/proceedings/ar2012-0991-1001_Boothman_Higham_Horsfall.pdf
  • Abstract:
    Until its demise in July 2010 The Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme represented the biggest single UK government investment in school buildings for more than 50 years. One of the key goals of the investment programme was the desire to ensure that pupils learn in High Quantity 21st-century facilities that are designed or redesigned to allow for educational transformation in historically underperforming schools who’s pupils where often enshroud in depravation and social exclusion. This represents a major challenge to those involved in the delivery of the new or refurbished schools. The paper explores the extent to which schools completed under the umbrella of BSF lived up to the government’s ideology of ‘value for money’ a key parameter of which is the delivery of high quality buildings. Drawing on an embedded case study methodology based around one local authority which completed nine secondary schools under the BSF funding model between 2006 and 2010. The findings portray the many challenges faced by constructors in the pursuit of zero defect construction. Critical to this, the authors argue, is the approach used by stakeholders to define and measure the presence of a ‘defect’. Analysis of quantitative defect data reported in the paper suggests a large number of those defects identified related to mere cosmetic imperfections caused by inter alia the client team moving the school into the new building rather than serious defects caused by poor workmanship on behalf of the constructor. Findings from the research raise important questions about the use of ‘defects’ as a performance measurement for quality within the construction sector.