Please wait a minute...

Frontiers of Engineering Management

Current Issue

, Volume 5 Issue 3 Previous Issue   
For Selected: View Abstracts Toggle Thumbnails
EDITORIAL
RESEARCH ARTICLE
Conceptualising the nexus of projects, finance and capacity in construction business
Arun BAJRACHARYA, Stephen Olu OGUNLANA, Cheng Siew GOH, Hai Chen TAN
Front. Eng. 2018, 5 (3): 289-297.  https://doi.org/10.15302/J-FEM-2018021
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1258KB)

This paper addresses a research question on why construction companies fail in their business. Starting with the concept of growth and capacity underinvestment archetype, a new and operational systems thinking model is developed. The conceptual systems thinking model includes a set of causal structure that can explain various modes (including the growth and failure modes) of business performance of small and medium construction companies. Mainly the three components – projects, finance and capacity – and the understanding of their nexus (or causal inter-relationships) are found to be sufficient to reveal different performance modes in construction business. Further, the three operational aspects, namely, the business growth or decline process; the situation of financial and other capacity resource consumption; and the management of projects, finance and other capacity resources have been identified as the inter-related core and integral aspects of construction business. The three inter-related core aspects could actually include and explain different possible range of business situations, policies and practices in a construction company.

Figures and Tables | References | Related Articles | Metrics
Model server enabled management of collaborative changes in building information models
Muhammad Tariq SHAFIQ, Jane MATTHEWS, Steve LOCKLEY, Peter E.D. LOVE
Front. Eng. 2018, 5 (3): 298-306.  https://doi.org/10.15302/J-FEM-2018009
Abstract   HTML   PDF (569KB)

The issues and challenges involved in controlling the collaborative changes in a Building Information Modeling (BIM) data repository, in a multi-model collaboration environment, are discussed. It is suggested that managing iterative changes in BIMs is a database problem, exacerbated by the long transaction times needed to support collaborative design progression. This is yet to be resolved in the construction industry and better solutions are needed to support the underlying workflows and computing operations for seamless collaboration on BIMs. With this in mind, this paper proposes the use of the structural and semantic characteristics of BIM objects as a mechanism for tracking changes across co-developed solutions. The creation of object signatures, using hash codes derived from their characteristics, provides a potential mechanism for object comparison and effective change recognition and management.

Figures and Tables | References | Related Articles | Metrics
Attributes, challenges and future directions of community resilience
Bo MENG, Nan LI, Dongping FANG
Front. Eng. 2018, 5 (3): 307-323.  https://doi.org/10.15302/J-FEM-2018030
Abstract   HTML   PDF (795KB)

With the continuous development of human society, the damage to the natural environment is becoming increasingly large, causing crisis events to occur frequently. In recent years, the study of community resilience is becoming popular among scholars because of its perspective on disaster prevention and mitigation. In this study, we apply database retrieval to untangle community resilience-related papers from multiple directions. We analyze the connotation, attribute, and composition of community, resilience, and community resilience comprehensively by summarizing important issues and research progress in community resilience. Challenges and shortcomings faced by community resilience development are also determined. Moreover, we put forward the research directions that future research can focus on. Through literature review, current research on community resilience focuses on the following aspects: “infrastructure construction,” “crowd in the community,” “economic resilience,” “social capital,” and “measurement of community resilience.” Such research is not yet systematic and relatively decentralized. The attention to collective resilience in the community is relatively weak, which makes achieving the goal of “people-oriented and systematic control” difficult. Therefore, this study states that the development of future community resilience should stand from the perspective of “system of system” and build on knowledge and tools of various relevant domains. Therefore, public needs and participation are highlighted as breakthrough points. The research should integrate infrastructure and economic resilience, social resource allocation, network connection, and other aspects to build a holistic and functional resilient community.

Figures and Tables | References | Related Articles | Metrics
Facility managers’ perceptions on building performance assessment
Rafaela BORTOLINI, Núria FORCADA
Front. Eng. 2018, 5 (3): 324-333.  https://doi.org/10.15302/J-FEM-2018010
Abstract   HTML   PDF (612KB)

During the operational phase, building performance may decrease in various areas, so that the end users’ requirements are no longer met. Consequently, indicators are useful to assess and improve the performance of existing buildings. In this study, we carried out a literature review and organized a focus group with facility management experts to gather and analyze facility managers’ perceptions on operational indicators that could be used to assess the performance of buildings. The results revealed that the core indicators used to measure a building’s operational performance are related to safety and assets working properly, health and comfort, space functionality, and energy performance. The findings also revealed that these indicators can be obtained from three sources: a) facility managers/operators, who carry out corrective maintenance and perform technical inspections, b) regular users, who report complaints and fill-in satisfaction questionnaires, and c) sporadic users, who also fill-in satisfaction questionnaires. These indicators and their sources can contribute to a better analysis of building performance and the definition of measures to improve performance during the operational phase of a building.

Figures and Tables | References | Related Articles | Metrics
Causations of failure in megaprojects: A case study of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant project
Oluwole Alfred OLATUNJI
Front. Eng. 2018, 5 (3): 334-346.  https://doi.org/10.15302/J-FEM-2018011
Abstract   HTML   PDF (183KB)

This paper uses project organizational theories to draw lessons from a historic megaproject, the Ajaokuta Steel Plant (ASP). Archival reports on the ASP were explored to identify the unique attributes of the project; the political wrangling that underplayed its evolution, its economic significance and organizational impacts. Findings suggest the goals of the ASP project were, and still are, unambiguous. Failure occurred as socio-political forces aggravated the project’s complex milestones. Stakeholders were impatient with pre-project investigations. During planning, owners ignored opinions that were contrary to their expectations. While delays lingered, pressures from the global economy weakened the project’s motivation to succeed. These combined to turn the project’s outcomes into a chaotic situation that triggered dire implications. Despite about 1400% overrun in cost, the success achieved on the plant was 28% at commissioning. Contractors remained on site until eight years after commissioning. Six key elements of the 482 items in the ASP project contract were not delivered nearly 40 years on. A simplistic look at these suggests poor planning is the main problem. However, planning issues is not entirely strange in greenfield projects. The paper draws strength from project organization theories to explain what was poor about the planning. Socrates’ generic management theory was used to explain the role of leadership in the failure of the ASP project. McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y explain the significance of stakeholders’ integration in megaprojects. Systems and chaos theories were used to explain the sensitivity of the ASP project to uncertainties. Narratives on these combine well to inspire stakeholders of megaprojects on where and how to seek courage in making effective plans that can help achieve success in complex projects. While normative literature only recognizes project success in a definitive perspective, this study provides insights from failure as an instrument to trigger sublime reflections.

References | Related Articles | Metrics
Sustainable public-private partnerships: Balancing the multi-actor ecosystem and societal requirements
Pekka Leviäkangas, Yanbing YE, Oluwole Alfred OLATUNJI
Front. Eng. 2018, 5 (3): 347-356.  https://doi.org/10.15302/J-FEM-2018020
Abstract   HTML   PDF (829KB)

The funding gap of public infrastructure networks (roads, railways, ports, electricity, and energy lines) can be solved partly by introducing private capital for investments, i.e., public-private partnerships (PPP). This paper introduces an integrated model of a PPP project and investigates its implications on PPP policies and strategies regarding appropriate project appraisal and selection. The model has different resolution levels, namely, project level, business ecosystem level, and market and societal levels. The integrated model suggests that investing in merely financially viable projects is insufficient to realize economically and socially sustainable and acceptable projects.

Figures and Tables | References | Related Articles | Metrics
Floating production storage and offloading systems’ cost and motion performance: A systems thinking application
Rini NISHANTH, Andrew WHYTE, V. John KURIAN
Front. Eng. 2018, 5 (3): 357-368.  https://doi.org/10.15302/J-FEM-2018022
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1653KB)

Floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) units increasingly represent a practical and economic means for deep-water oil extraction and production. Systems thinking gives a unique opportunity to seek a balance between FPSO technical performance(s), with whole-cost; stakeholder decision-making is charged to align different fit-for-use design specification options’ that address technical-motion(s), with respective life-cycle cost analyses (LCCA). Soft system methodology allows situation based analyses over set periods-of-time by diagnosing the problem-at-hand; namely, assessing the antecedents of life-cycle cost relative to FPSO sub-component design alternatives. Alternative mooring- component comparisons for either new-build hulls or refurbished hulls represent an initial necessary consideration to facilitate extraction, production and storage of deep-water oil reserves. Coupled dynamic analysis has been performed to generate FPSO motion in six degrees of freedom using SESAM DeepC, while life-cycle cost analysis (LCAA) studies give net-present-value comparisons reflective of market conditions. A parametric study has been conducted by varying wave heights from 4 – 8 m to understand FPSO motion behavior in the presence of wind and current, as well as comparing the motions of turreted versus spread mooring design alternatives. LCCA data has been generated to compare the cost of such different mooring options/hull conditions over 10 and 25-year periods. Systems thinking has been used to explain the interaction of problem variables; resultantly this paper is able to identify explicit factors affecting the choice of FPSO configurations in terms of motion and whole-cost, toward assisting significantly with the front-end engineering design (FEED) phase of fit-for-purpose configured FPSOs, in waters off Malaysia and Australia.

Figures and Tables | References | Related Articles | Metrics
Rethinking the tendering frameworks of construction contractors in the context of a soft systems methodology approach
Stephen URQUHART, Andrew WHYTE
Front. Eng. 2018, 5 (3): 369-380.  https://doi.org/10.15302/J-FEM-2018019
Abstract   HTML   PDF (967KB)

Limited research has been conducted on the internal tendering procedures (ITP) of construction contractors because of the commercially sensitive and confidential nature of the subject matter. This limitation explains the reluctance of contractors to undergo interviews. Existing research (outside bid/no-bid and margin decision factor identification and subsequent decision modeling development) only begins to provide insights into key tendering stages, particularly around risk assessments and corporate review processes. Early research suggested one to three review stages. However, when considering the whole work procurement process from prospect identification to contract execution, five to seven series of reviews can be arguably applied by some contractors, wherein some reviews stepped through several layers of internal senior management. Tendering processes were presented as flowchart models that traditionally follow “hard” system (rectangular shapes and straight line arrows) steps, which suggest that a precise process also leads to precise results. However, given that contractors do not win every tender they submit, the process is less precise than that suggested in rigidly structured flowcharts. Twenty-five detailed semi-structured interviews were held with purposely selected high-profile publicly and privately owned construction companies in Australia with significantly varied turnovers. Analyses show that contractors are concerned about the negative effects of increasing corporate governance demands, with many stating that people involved are the most critical element to tendering success. A new way of presenting the ITP of contractors is assessed using a soft systems methodology (SSM) approach. SSM offers an alternative way of considering human interaction challenges within the ITP of contractors, which needs to be tested with the industry. The format graphics of SSM guidelines are presented as a way of offering contractors a different approach, which may assist individuals who are looking to re-structure their tendering activities in a more humanistic and less rigid procedural approach.

Figures and Tables | References | Related Articles | Metrics
Life cycle carbon emission assessment of a multi-purpose university building: A case study of Sri Lanka
Ramya KUMANAYAKE, Hanbin LUO
Front. Eng. 2018, 5 (3): 381-393.  https://doi.org/10.15302/J-FEM-2018055
Abstract   HTML   PDF (415KB)

Buildings are known to significantly affect the global carbon emissions throughout their life cycle. To mitigate carbon emissions, investigation of the current performance of buildings with regard to energy consumption and carbon emissions is necessary. This paper presents a process-based life cycle assessment methodology for assessing carbon emissions of buildings, using a multi-storey reinforced concrete building in a Sri Lankan university as a case study. The entire cradle-to-grave building life cycle was assessed and the life span of the building was assumed as 50 years. The results provide evidence of the significance of operation and material production stages, which contributed to the total carbon emissions by 63.22% and 31.59% respectively. Between them, the main structural materials, concrete and reinforcement steel made up 61.91% of the total carbon emitted at the material production stage. The life cycle carbon emissions of the building were found to be 31.81 kg·m2 CO2 per year, which is comparable with the values obtained in similar studies found in the literature. In minimizing the life cycle carbon emissions, the importance of identifying control measures for both building operation and material production at the early design stage were emphasized. Although the other life cycle stages only contributed to about 5.19% of the life cycle carbon emissions, they should also receive attention when formulating control strategies. Some of the recommended strategies are introducing energy efficiency measures in building design and operation, using renewable energy for building operation and manufacturing of materials, identifying designs that can save mass material quantities, using alternative materials that are locally available in Sri Lanka and implementing material reuse and recycling. This study is one of the first to undertake a life cycle carbon emissions assessment for a building in the Sri Lankan context, with the hope of facilitating environmentally-friendly buildings and promoting sustainable construction practices in the country.

Figures and Tables | References | Related Articles | Metrics
REVIEW ARTICLE
Critical review of studies on building information modeling (BIM) in project management
Albert P. C. CHAN, Xiaozhi MA, Wen YI, Xin ZHOU, Feng XIONG
Front. Eng. 2018, 5 (3): 394-406.  https://doi.org/10.15302/J-FEM-2018203
Abstract   HTML   PDF (363KB)

Building information modeling (BIM) and project management are two major research topics that accommodate large volumes of research efforts. BIM has been interpreted as a process technology that aids in enhancing project management. Hence, the investigation from an interdisciplinary perspective of the two concepts may bring new insights to understanding related research. In this paper, a structural approach is adopted in reviewing BIM studies in project management from 2005 to 2017 within identified target journals. This review aims to classify the major research directions and topics for BIM research in project management. Moreover, given BIM’s potential for application in project management, this paper attempts to establish a fundamental research foundation for a new paradigm of project management that incorporates BIM, namely, BIM-based project management. The preliminary result suggests that BIM research in project management develops drastically in the examined duration. The research directions of BIM studies in project management include enabling BIM as a technology in project management; BIM application as a solution for specific project management scopes; integration issues of BIM that have been brought to project management; institutional environment and regulatory governance of BIM in realizing project management strategies; and analysis of effects and strategies of BIM adoption and implementation in projects. The directions and trends are then analyzed to develop a research route for BIM studies in project management. Finally, conclusions focus on the relations of the research directions, as well as the contributions and theoretical implications of this review. Future research areas are also recommended.

Figures and Tables | References | Related Articles | Metrics
COMMENTS
Future-proofing ‘Next Generation’ infrastructure assets
Peter E.D. LOVE, Lavagnon A. IKA, Giorgio LOCATELLI, Dominic D. AHIAGA-DAGBUI
Front. Eng. 2018, 5 (3): 407-410.  https://doi.org/10.15302/J-FEM-2018204
Abstract   HTML   PDF (72KB)
References | Related Articles | Metrics
SUPERENGINEERING
13 articles

LinksMore