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On quality and complexity: Non-conformance failures, management perspectives and learning outcomes on a highways megaproject

Ford, Gavin, Gosling, Jonathan ORCID: and Naim, Mohamed ORCID: 2023. On quality and complexity: Non-conformance failures, management perspectives and learning outcomes on a highways megaproject. International Journal of Quality and Reliability Management 40 (10) , pp. 2539-2558. 10.1108/IJQRM-11-2022-0313

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Purpose The construction industry continues to struggle to deliver a right first time culture, seeking a panacea for improvement whilst maintaining project milestones. Complex construction projects demand stringent programmes, however, (un)foreseen changes, political influences and human behaviours all have significant impacts on delivering schemes without error. Previous studies have questioned the ability of the construction industry to successfully learn from errors. A major barrier has been the sharing of sensitive data from failed outcomes. Hence, this paper investigates non-conformance on an existing scheme and suggests avenues for improvement. Design/methodology/approach A mixed-method approach was adopted whereby 1,260 non-conformance reports (NCRs) from a highways megaproject were interrogated using root cause analysis (RCA) techniques to uncover the most frequent and costly areas. This was followed by a survey to industry professionals within a tier 1 principal contractor to gain insight into their perceptions of non-conformance and rework on construction projects. Findings Using Pareto analysis, the authors find that materials management, workmanship (poor quality execution) and supervision issues are the most frequently occurring and costly root causes of non-conformance on a major highways scheme. Furthermore, the authors link corresponding viewpoints of two project professional groups to the posed, achieving a high degree of consensus for the areas requiring development. Lastly, the authors suggest avenues for improvement via lessons learnt. These include greater emphasis on quality culture via a strong leadership mandate, enhanced vetting of workforce competence and improving the way materials are managed by embracing technology to drive efficiency. Originality/value This paper interrogates a current highways scheme using a uniquely rich, sensitive dataset to determine how the construction sector may improve efforts to achieving right first time outcomes.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Publisher: Emerald
ISSN: 0265-671X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 3 March 2023
Date of Acceptance: 18 February 2023
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2023 18:09

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