Challenges to and opportunities for establishing a qualitative approach to Built Environment research in higher educatio...Published: 17 August 2018 by Emerald (MCB UP ) in Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology
There are serious implications for adopting inappropriate research strategies and methods, and this is evident in the Built Environment (BE) given the under adoption of qualitative strategies in some countries. Therefore, based on empirical evidence from Nigeria, the purpose of this study is to examine the challenges to and opportunities for establishing Qualitative Approach (QA) to BE research in higher education institutions (HEIs) and to develop an improvement framework for QA. Academics and research students in the BE research of Nigerian HEIs were interviewed and the data analysed thematically. Based on the findings, including recommendations from the respondents, a framework for improving the use of QA in BE research was developed and academics evaluated it for workability. This study reveals that the challenges to QA in BE research include information constraints, socio-cultural issues and the negative attitudes of senior academics to QA. The opportunities include the realisation for a paradigm shift, the characteristics of the socio-cultural context and features of BE and the general potentials of QA. The proposed framework encompasses encouraging and providing a platform for international collaboration between academics in developing and developed countries, and preferential treatment for QA. It also enables regulatory and incentive mechanisms, which will act as drivers. This study provides stakeholders in academia with knowledge and a detailed guideline for establishing QA to research in the BE. This study provides a country context-based detailed guide for establishing QA in HEIs BE research towards ensuring that research strategies adopted in BE research are fit for purpose, in turn are aligned to addressing problems in the society. There is little or no study of this nature in BE.
PurposeLiterature suggests that there are sets of common variables that are capable of explaining organisational performance differentials. These variables are used to examine performance variance and its contribution to organisation profitability. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to examine the determinants of large construction organisations’ performance in South Africa using a partial least squares path analytic method.Design/methodology/approachThis study examines the interrelationship between a number of constructs, namely, organisational characteristics, resources/capabilities, competitive strategies, business environment and performance, using a questionnaire survey to obtain data from 72 large construction organisations in South Africa. Using a path analytic approach, the paper examines the relationship between the constructs discussed in the study.FindingsThe findings from the analysis of the data show that organisational characteristics do indeed influence the performance of organisations, and that the business environment is capable of moderating the relationship between competitive strategies and performance. The results, however, indicate that organisations that combine sustained organisational characteristics and strategy tend to experience high performance over those that do not.Originality/valueThe study findings have implications for management practice, as it could help managers of construction organisations to acknowledge the influence of organisational characteristics, unique resources/capabilities, competitive strategies and business environment as sources of competitive advantage. The study contributes to the current debate on the causes of performance differentials among large construction organisations.
PurposeThis paper aims to examine briefing practices and whether these are related to the quality of brief documents and client satisfaction in constructed health-care facilities in South Africa. The rational for the examination stems from the view held by scholars that the briefing process is critical to the success of projects, as well as client/user satisfaction in the constructed facility, and also because of undocumented reports of client/end-user dissatisfaction in constructed health-care facilities in South Africa.Design/methodology/approachThe research process consisted of a literature review to identify existing briefing framework and practices in use applicable to facilities. This was supported by an exploratory case study of a recently completed public hospital in East London, South Africa. Data collection for the study was undertaken by means of conducting semi-structured interviews with two groups consisting of client representatives and the technical design team on the project.FindingsThe research established that in the context of this case study, inadequate client consultation took place, not all design consultants were adequately involved in the development of the project brief, limited use was made of a specific briefing framework in developing the project brief and that despite these shortcomings in the briefing process followed, a comprehensive good quality briefing document was produced and the client was satisfied with the health-care facility constructed.Research limitations/implicationsThe results of this study are generalizable with health-care facilities only. As such, research inferences and projections can only be made within this set and may not necessarily be applicable to the wider construction sector or to all projects within this sector.Practical implicationsThe implications of this research are applicable to constructed health-care facilities. Practical inferences include the need to acknowledge that there is a need for a briefing framework, which should outline the involvement of all design consultants and client representatives when developing the project briefs for health-care facilities. The briefing framework is proposed for use in addressing the shortcomings in the briefing processes and practices and will also help the client in the choice of a brief process and practice which will comprehensively capture their requirements, give clear directives/information to the design consultants and will result in higher levels of end-user/patient satisfaction in the constructed health-care facility.Social implicationsClients and allied professionals in charge of health-care facilities’ construction are encouraged to consider the implementation of a standard framework for use in the briefing process. This reflection should encourage engagement through formative legislative provision and transparent awareness campaigns.Originality/valueThis work is original insofar, as it directly addresses the alignment of briefing practices to quality of brief documents and client satisfaction in constructed health-care facilities within the context of the South African construction industry. However, similar exercises have been undertaken on briefing practices in the wider construction sector.
Skilled labour supply in the South African construction industry: The nexus between certification, quality of work outpu...Published: 10 June 2016 by AOSIS Open Journals in SA Journal of Human Resource Management
Orientation: Construction human resource management.Research purpose: The study examines the skilled labour supply in the South African construction industry and determines whether there is a relationship between trade certification, quality of work output and scarce labour skills.Motivation for the study: The rationale for the investigation is based on the view of scholars that a skilled labour shortage is preponderant in the South African construction industry even though there is a high level of youth unemployment in South Africa and that the perceived skills shortage contributes to a decrease in productivity and product quality.Research design, approach and method: The paper reviews relevant literature and employs a mixed method research approach in collecting empirical data from contracting companies within the Western Cape Province of South Africa that are listed on the Construction Industry Development Board contractor register.Main findings: The study demonstrated that there is no shortage of manpower, but there is a shortage of qualified or skilled tradesmen, such as electricians, plumbers, welders, fitters and carpenters, whose professions are more technical and require formal training and certification. The level of supply of skilled tradesmen is attributed to the lack of high-quality basic education, the state of the economy, compulsory certification of tradesmen and an ageing workforce. It was also found that there is a significant relationship between skilled labour shortages and the requirement that labour be certified and that work output is unsatisfactory when there is no certification requirement.Practical/managerial implications: Based on these findings, the study concludes that skilled labour shortages and poor work output quality continue to be experienced in the South African construction industry when workers are unable to obtain formal certification for informal work experience acquired through years of practice on construction sites.Contribution: It is recommended that the South African government establish proactive strategies in the form of a framework for use in evaluating, certifying and grading the informal expertise acquired by workers through years of practice. This recommendation seeks to ensure that the supply of certified craftsmen capable of undertaking and producing high-quality construction work meets demand.Keywords: Artisans; Education; Experience; Expertise; Practice
Examination of Green Building Drivers in the South African Construction Industry: Economics versus EcologyPublished: 09 September 2014 by MDPI in Sustainability
There is a large body of literature on green buildings, but few studies have focused on the motivation behind the construction of green buildings globally, and in South Africa in particular. This paper investigates the key drivers of green building in the Western Cape Construction Industry of South Africa and examines whether these drivers have changed over time. A comprehensive literature review was undertaken to provide an overview of green building issues globally and in South Africa, followed by an empirical investigation into the drivers of green building in South Africa using a multi-case study approach. The findings reveal that the key drivers of green building include rising energy costs, the industry’s Green Star rating system, competitive advantages and legislation. The study also indicates that these key drivers have not changed significantly over time. Taken together, these results suggest that the increase in green building has little to do with ecological factors and more to do with economic factors—operational costs and stakeholder demands. The paper concludes that as long as the cost of energy continues to increase and there are recognised industry rating systems in place, the need for green buildings is likely to remain.
This paper examines contemporary issues in building collapse and its implications for sustainable development in Nigeria. It explores whether the approach to construction by industry stakeholders is in line with the principles of sustainable development following the spate of building collapses in Nigeria. The rationale for the investigation stems from the view by scholars that construction industry stakeholders’ do not seem to consider the future in their current activities. The study establishes that the approach to construction by industry stakeholders do not match sustainable principles, and contributes to general under perforxmance of buildings. The paper recommends an overhaul of planning and implementation policies for building development regulations (e.g., building codes). The Nigerian government, as a major construction stakeholder should initiate sustainable construction measures and enforce this as best practice for the construction industry.
Abimbola Windapo participated at conference The 5th World Sustainability Forum.