A framework for improving project performance of standard design models

Improving project performance in the construction industry poses several challenges for stakeholders. Recently, there have been frequent calls for the importance of adopting standardisation in improving construction design as well as the process and a focus on learning mapping from other industries. The Saudi Ministry of Interior (SMoI) has adopted a new Standard Design Model (SDM) approach for the development of its construction programme to effectively manage its complex project portfolio and improve project performance. A review of existing literature indicates that despite the adoption of SDM repetitive projects, which enable learning from past mistakes and improving the performance of future projects, it has been realised that there is a lack of learning instruments to capture, store and disseminate Lessons Learnt (LL). This research proposes a framework for improving the project performance of SDMs in the Saudi construction industry. Eight case studies related to a typical standard design project were performed that included interviews with of 24 key stakeholders who are involved in the planning and implementation of SDM projects within the SMoI. The research identified 14 critical success factors CSFs have a direct impact on the SDM project performance. These are classified into three main CSF-related clusters: adaptability to the context; contract management; and construction management. A framework, which comprises the identified 14 CSFs, was developed, refined and validated through a workshop with 12 key stakeholders in the SMoI construction programme. Additionally, a framework implementation process map was developed. Web-based tools and KM were identified as core factors in the framework implementation strategy. Although many past CSF-related studies were conducted to develop a range of construction project performance improvement frameworks, the paper provides the first initiative to develop a framework to improve the performance of standard design and repetitive projects.