Improving construction site management practices through knowledge management
thesisposted on 07.02.2011, 10:28 by Sarajul F. Mohamed
There are several challenging engineering and management problems that occur on construction sites. Failure in managing construction site problems results in a high proportion of rework, defects, delays, disputes and cost overruns on construction projects. In site management, knowledge is often embedded not only in documents and repositories but also in organisational routines, processes, practices and norms. However, site management teams still do not have a systematic approach to managing knowledge. Knowledge management (KM) processes can effectively be used to enable construction site managers deal with on-site problems and risks in a systematic and efficient way. With regard to these problems, the aim of this research was to investigate the improvement of construction site management practices through the integration of knowledge management processes. The research methodology adopted consisted of several methods. A literature review on site management practices and knowledge management as first undertaken . This was followed by case studies involving five construction sites which sought to investigate the key problems of site management practices and to examine existing knowledge management practices on the construction site. They also explored how KM processes could improve current site management practices. The cases tudy findings underpinned by literature results were used to develop a conceptual framework to managing construction knowledge that is entrenched in site management processes. The integrated K&4 framework (incorporating both proactive and reactive approaches) was intended to enable site managers to adopt a knowledge management approach to addressing site management problems. The framework was encapsulated in a computer-based prototype system (developed using Microsoft Visual Basic) to simplify the use of the integrated KM framework and provide construction organisations with a practical tool. Evaluation of the prototype system was carried out by industry practitioners and construction researchers to assess its appropriateness and functionality. It was established that the prototype system was highly effective in enabling site managers to address site management problems from a knowledge management perspective. Several benefits of the system were also identified. It is concluded that construction site management practices can be improved if the knowledge dimensions of the problems are well understood and appropriately managed. This research has developed an integrated KM framework that provides a structured approach to achieving this. The framework is simple to use, requires a relatively short time to implement, is scalable to any type of project and can easily be deployed on any construction site. Knowledge gains economic value when it is used to solve problems, explore opportunities and make decisions. The developed prototype system is expected to increase the ability of the site manager to learn from previous experience and to better address any site management problems that may occur. It also enables the site manager to be proactive in minimising the number of problems that occur on the construction site and to reduce the impact of those that do occur.
- Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering