I have more than 24 years experience in higher education as well as the construction industry in the UK. I have been exploring issues surrounding integration of design and construction processes and how, through education, a better understanding of issues can be achieved and best practice delivered. By acquiring and exploiting the knowledge and skills of experts in the field, students can be educated in the cause and effect relationships, which result from decision making. This is demonstrated as best practice as well as illustrating the weaknesses in the way activities are currently carried out. With input from leading organisations in the field such as Mace, Lend Lease and Rise, I have developed several courses and lectures, sourced and developed site based case studies, which at the same time have enabled these organisations to question their management approaches. These courses at postgraduate level, as well as CPD modules were delivered at the University of Reading, School of Construction Management and Engineering. I also developed courses that I delivered at the Mace Business School to potential site teams and their trade contractors.
Sustainable construction will require ever more integration between design and production and concepts such as Technology Clusters that recognise the inherent complexities and new management structures will be essential in the future. My latest paper: Management Framework for Technology Clusters implementation, was published in Construction Management and Economics, the leading international journal in the field. Potentially the follow through from this paper could lead to a radical rethinking of construction management practice. In addition to conventional academic research I have been concerned with the problems of knowledge capture and the reuse of experience. To this end I produced an interactive knowledge base of good construction management practice attached to a process map of the whole construction process from inception to completion. The practice has been gleaned from a wide range of experience; academic, theoretical and practice which when integrated in this way presents practitioners with a fast track approach to rapid knowledge gain.
A continuing thrust of my work is how to embed changes in practice in a complex situation where the knowledge capability is variable and fragmented. An example of this is the development of briefing decision support based around Quality Function Deployment (QFD). The task was to develop a performance based decision support for the built environment. For the underlying knowledge base I undertook a major literature search, turned general requirements into performance based goals and developed the PeBBu decision support system. The final programme has many original features; interactive access to the Web, decision recording within the QFD matrix and enhanced reporting geared to performance based briefing. The latest development was to use the framework of this work and develop a decision support tool for risk assessment of cross infection in hospital environments to reduce the growth of Health Care Acquired Infections such as MRSA.