The role of knowledge management in improving constructability

Kuo, Vincent (2012-12)

Thesis (MScEng)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Constructability issues cause dire repercussions in the industry and often pose as overwhelming threats to the successful delivery of projects. Constructability issues mainly arise from a design, which does not sufficiently embody the knowledge and expertise of the construction phase. Subsequently this creates a variety of negative secondary effects during project execution, which eventually manifest as time-, budget- and quality-risks to the project. The research thesis explores the status quo of constructability issues in South Africa, with specific reference to the relationship between construction and design. It is well known that close collaboration between consultants and contractors has the potential to lead to more effective construction processes, improved construction safety and to cost effective structural solutions. Not all contract forms allow sufficient collaboration between these parties at the time of conceptual design, nor at the detailed design stage. For this reason it is imperative that a designer has sufficient experience and knowledge of construction processes to produce suitably constructible designs. In principle, constructability issues can be regarded as the result of poor coherence, and thus poor communication, between construction and design. The problem therefore lies in the transfer of knowledge between project participants, which can be described as poor knowledge management, in particular, of constructability knowledge. This research aims to address the topic of constructability and to demonstrate how structural knowledge management between contractors and designers can lead to improved construction processes. The concept of constructability is defined, through the identification of technical traits to explicitly describe constructability, concurrently with input from industry expertise and professional experience in the field. Knowledge management principles are also studied in detail and the status quo of current knowledge management initiatives in the industry is investigated. The investigations are done through a series of questionnaire surveys, personal interviews and correspondences. The principle conclusions from the study are that designers do not always understand what constitutes a constructible design. Furthermore, although constructability knowledge is found to exist in complex tacit forms, some explicit guiding principles can indeed be formulated to aid designers. In addition, considering the unique characteristics of each project, these guiding principles should be supported by proposed knowledge management initiatives to facilitate structured forums of knowledge sharing between different parties to develop and transfer constructability knowledge. This will assist to accelerate the learning process towards becoming an accomplished designer, and empower the capacity of both designers and contractors to manage constructability problems.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Boubaarheidsprobleme veroorsaak ernstige gevolge in die bedryf en hou dikwels oorweldigende bedreigings in vir die suksesvolle lewering van projekte. Boubaarheidsprobleme ontstaan hoofsaaklik as gevolg van „n ontwerp wat nie genoeg kennis van die konstruksiefase behels nie. Gevolglik, word „n verskeidenheid van negatiewe sekondêre effekte geskep tydens die projek uitvoering, wat risikos uiteindelik veroorsaak in aspekte van tyd, geld en kwaliteit. Heirdie navorsing ondersoek die status quo van boubaarhiedsprobleme in Suid Afrika, met spesifieke verwysing na die verhouding tussen konstruksie en ontwerp. Dit is bekend dat geskikte samewerking tussen konsultante en kontrakteurs kan lei tot meer effektiewe bouprosesse, verbeterde bouveiligheid en goedkoper strukturele oplossings. Kontraktuele ooreenkomste laat nie altyd toe vir behoorlike samewerking tussen die partye gedurende ontwerp stadiums nie. Om hierdie rede, is dit noodsaaklik dat „n ontwerper voldoende ervaring en kennis van die konstruksie prosesse bevat, om behoorlike boubare ontwerpe te kan poduseer. In beginsel, kan boubaarheidsprobleme beskou word as „n gevolg van swak kommunikasie tussen konstruksie en ontwerp. Die problem lê dus in die oordrag van kennis tussen projek deelnemers, wat ook beskryf kan word as swak kennis-bestuur, in die geval, van boubaarheidskennis. Hierdie navorsing beoog om die onderwerp van boubaarheid aan te spreek en te demonstreer hoe strukturele kennis-bestuur tussen die kontrakteurs en ontwerpers tot verbeterde konstruksie prosesse kan lei. Die konsep van boubaarheid word gedefinieer, deur die idenfisering van tegniese eienskappe wat boubaarheid eksplisiet kan beskryf, gelyktydig met die insette van industrie kundigheid en professionele ondervinding. Kennis-bestuur beginsels word ook in diepte bestudeer en die status quo van die huidige kennis-bestuur inisiatiewe in die bedryf word ondersoek. Die ondersoeke word gedoen deur middel van vraelys opnames, persoonlike onderhoude en korrespondensies. Die algemene gevolgtrekkings uit die studie is dat ontwerpers nie altyd die implikasies van „n boubare ontwerp verstaan nie. Verder, alhoewel boubaarheidskennis bestaan in komplekse vorms in die gedagtes van konstruksie personeel, eksplsiete riglyne kan wel geformuleer word om die ontwerp prosses to steun. Aangesien projekte uniek is, moet hierdie riglyne ondersteun word deur die voorestelde kennis-bestuur inisiatiewe, om oop platforms van kennis oordrag te fasiliteer tussen verskillende partye. Dit sal help om die leer prosess te versnel en sal die kapasiteit van beide ontwerpers en kontrakteurs bemagtig, sodat hulle boubaarheidsprobleme beter te kan hanteer.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/71612
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