The Construction and Property Research Centre (CPRC) has
had an impact on supply chain collaboration, process improvement, and
technology integration in the construction industry, primarily in the
South West of England, but also nationally and internationally. Its impact
has been enhanced by its leading role in four major regional knowledge
exchange initiatives (Construction Knowledge Exchange, Future Foundations,
Constructing Excellence and the Environmental iNet). Through these
initiatives, CPRC's research has contributed to the
change in culture of the construction industry from `adversarial' to more
collaborative. This has increased capacity and improved performance of
public and private construction clients, construction companies,
specialist subcontractors, SMEs and individual professionals. By
delivering training and on-line materials, and supporting the sector
through numerous business consultancies and `best practice clubs' it has
directly influenced over 700 companies and 1700 professionals leading to
streamlined construction processes, costs savings, reduced errors, and
increases in efficiency, productivity and profitability.
Research at Teesside University has enhanced sustainability and
productivity in construction and related sectors. Between 1998 and 2008,
Professor Dawood's research team developed a range of advanced
multi-constraint and multi-dimensional visual construction planning and
coordination approaches and tools. The global commercial application of
this work in Architectural, Engineering and Construction (AEC)
organisations has generated a substantial economic impact. For five
indicative organisations used as examples in this case study, the impact
amounts to more than £1,500,000 in the form of increased
turnover, cash injection from technology funds and a spin out company.
Procuring Social and Economic Value through Construction is
focused on improving the sustainability and profitability of, and ensuring
public benefit from, the UK construction sector, demonstrating the
The researchers have delivered 10 funded studies (£700,000), 50+ peer-reviewed publications and five knowledge transfer conferences (750+ delegates). The samples presented led to materials being delivered to 100,000+ industry practitioners. Further, the international reach of UK OSH guidance is substantial, influencing Australia, Hong Kong, South Africa, and North America. The research helped improve Occupational Safety & Health (OSH) practices in major construction companies, with global reach, e.g. MACE (3,700 employees, over 69 countries, turnover £1bn), who implemented developed practices, resulting in 30% drop in accident rates. Our 'OSH communication images' are used in CITB training, delivered to over 100,000 workers.
The types of impact highlighted in this case study are: improved
effectiveness of workplace practices in relation to health and safety
management, time management and collaborative working; development of
resources to enhance professional practice; stimulation of practitioner
debate on the impact of new legislation on criminal liability for poor
management of health and safety; and improvement in turnover of SMEs
through ICT adoption. The mechanisms by which the impact was achieved were
KTPs, membership of relevant industry panels and organisation of relevant
workshops, CPD events and similar events aimed at practitioners.
Development of the UK construction industry was hampered by a focus on
individual projects, with two drawbacks: limited transfer of lessons
learned from one project to the next, and limited focus on systemic
innovation and wider commercial opportunities.
Drawing on their research, our Innovation and Entrepreneurship Group
helped construction companies — including Laing O'Rourke (LOR), Arup, and
Mace — overcome these obstacles by adopting a `systems integration' model
to capture and utilise lessons learned, and by developing Executive
Education programmes to make project engineers aware of wider commercial
and innovation issues. These improvements enhanced delivery of major
projects such as the Olympic Park and Crossrail.
The Group changed firm behaviour, re-orientated project management
practices, and translated lessons learned into organisational capabilities
at LOR, Arup, and Mace.
Beneficiaries were the UK construction and consulting engineering sector,
who as a result were better equipped to innovate and compete globally, and
their clients, such as the UK Olympic Delivery Authority and Crossrail.
The innovative construction procurement framework developed from research
conducted at the University of Reading between 2001 and 2012, has been
adopted by industry in the UK and overseas and has informed the
development of a new British Standard for construction procurement.
Working closely with a range of industry participants, the School of
Construction Management and Engineering developed a new understanding of
the costs of construction tendering and procurement. By focusing the
enquiry on finance, project cash flow and the relationships between
markets and business models, the research departed from previous analyses
of tendering and procurement that have tended to rely on anecdote and
generally accepted practice. The results led to the development of a new
framework that sets procurement within a business context and explains how
unnecessary tendering and procurement costs can be avoided.
This case study focuses upon research surrounding knowledge management
(KM) practice and implementation (organisational change). The case study
utilises research and impact from the Systems Thinking and Organisational
Change Research Group (SYTOC), which existed in Derby Business School
between 2007 and 2012.
Impact included enhanced business process and practice for many
organisations through the significant dissemination of the research. The
core group of SYTOC includes Longbottom, Dexter, Marshall
and Seddon, visiting professor and a leading authority on
change in the public sector.
Building Information Modelling and Management (BIM(M)) research at the
University of Salford has contributed to the concept and development of an
integrated approach to improved efficiency in the construction sector:
Research undertaken by Starkey and colleagues has informed the
development of a particular philosophy and practice of research. This has
informed policy debates about the nature of effective management research
for engaging with practice — now widely referred to as co-production — and
led to new insights into the practice of policymaking in government. The
research informed (1) the development of a new approach to policymaking
adopted by the previous administration in work conducted for and with the
Cabinet Office with senior civil servants and representation from the
House of Lords; (2) collaborative work on the development of low carbon
communities which was conducted with the Department of The Environment and