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Boyd, P, Larsen, G D and Schweber, L (2014) Perspectives on the specification of Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) technology in construction projects. In: Raiden, A and Aboagye-Nimo, E (Eds.), Proceedings 30th Annual ARCOM Conference, 1-3 September 2014, Portsmouth, UK, Association of Researchers in Construction Management, 153–62.
- Type: Conference Proceedings
- Keywords: BIPV; innovation; social groups; social construction of technology
- ISBN/ISSN: 978-0-9552390-8-3
- URL: http://www.arcom.ac.uk/-docs/proceedings/ar2014-0153-0162_Boyd_Larsen_Schweber.pdf
Innovative, low carbon technologies are already available for use in the construction of buildings, but the impact of their specification on construction projects is unclear. This exploratory research identifies issues which arise following the specification of BIPV in non-residential construction projects. Rather than treating the inclusion of a new technology as a technical problem, the research explores the issue from a socio-technical perspective to understand the accommodations which the project team makes and their effect on the building and the technology. The paper is part of a larger research project which uses a Social Construction of Technology Approach (SCOT) to explore the accommodations made to working practices and design when Building Integrated PhotoVoltaic (BIPV) technology is introduced. The approach explores how the requirements of the technology from different groups of actors (Relevant Social Groups or RSG's) give rise to problems and create solutions. As such it rejects the notion of a rational linear view of innovation diffusion; instead it suggests that the variety and composition of the Relevant Social Groups set the agenda for problem solving and solutions as the project progresses. The research explores the experiences of three people who have extensive histories of involvement with BIPV in construction, looks at how SCOT can inform our understanding of the issues involved and identifies themes and issues in the specification of BIPV on construction projects. A key finding concerns the alignment of inflection points at which interviewees have found themselves changing from one RSG to another as new problems and solutions are identified.. The points at which they change RSG often occurred at points which mirror conventional construction categories (in terms of project specification, tender, design and construction).