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Interface management of offsite bathroom construction: process- and people-factors

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posted on 09.05.2018 by Michael P. McCarney
Interface management (IM) in its many forms (physical, contractual and organisational) has not received the management research it warrants in the construction sector. Offsite bathroom construction is seen as a sector of offsite construction that can aid the interface problems that are common in construction. However, interface problems that occur when using offsite bathrooms are considered to be as detrimental, if not more to the overall process when compared to traditional bathroom construction. This research will focus on organisational IM, through research into the relevant process and people factors required to mitigate potential IM problems in the offsite bathroom process. A literature review of IM, offsite construction and traditional construction was conducted which identified 16 factors that could have an influence on the organisational IM of offsite bathroom construction. A further literature review was carried out for each factor to establish its connectivity to the holistic process of the IM of offsite bathrooms. A proforma was constructed which gathered quantitative and qualitative data from 82 interviewees, associated with eight case study projects. The methodology adopted was based on the pragmatism philosophical stance, which concurs with a mixed method approach to the collection and analysis of the data. The quantitative data was analysed using frequency tables and the Wilcoxon sign rank test. The quantitative data was analysed using thematic analysis. The analysis identified nine of the 16 factors as main contributors to the IM of offsite bathroom construction. These nine factors consisted of six process factors: procurement, design management, supply chain management, health and safety, tolerance and quality. Three people factors were: communication, client/design team and the role of the project manager. A conceptual model was constructed to encapsulate each of the nine factors and their sub-factors. Important findings from the research identified the procurement route as both an enabler and a constraint, depending on its ability to allow early input from the main contractor and manufacturer to the uptake of offsite bathrooms. The cross-cutting importance of the people factors to the successful implementation of the process factors identified the importance of the main contractor maintaining supervision of the manufacturer and the interface problems created from incomplete design. Further analyses of all the findings identified communication and the role of the project manager as the two most influential factors, with early and informal communication and strong leadership from the project manager relevant to all factors that affect the successful IM of offsite bathroom construction.


Glasgow Caledonian University.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering


© Michael P. McCarney

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.