The management of renewable energy technologies implementations within a contracting organisation's processes
thesisposted on 23.07.2013, 14:26 by Tristan Williams
The construction industry is facing ever more challenging targets to reduce the environmental impact of new-build and refurbishment projects. The construction industry has failed to adopt renewable energy technologies (RETs) into mainstream construction projects; however, this aspect of the construction challenge needs addressing by large contractors. This thesis has established that there is a need to educate contractor personnel in the application and integration of RETs into construction projects to ensure that the construction industry can preserve its legacy for future generations. In order to improve the construction industry s use of renewable energy in building projects, it was necessary to reassess how the industry viewed energy. Contracting organisations have a diverse workforce, a fact established through a company-based desk study, workshops, interviews and surveys; this guided the direction of the project to satisfy the aims and objectives. The initial research findings enabled development of a strategy to improve RET knowledge within a UK contracting organisation. This research has developed trialled and tested a training programme aimed at educating construction professionals on the application of RETs that are relevant to new-build construction projects, and at improving knowledge sharing within a contracting organisation. Training material has been developed that includes six RET handbooks, a sustainability workshop incorporating RETs, an e-learning suite of online modules designed to suit a range of construction disciplines from designers to site-based staff. In addition, the research improved business practice through supporting knowledge share across all business units in addition to identifying the benefits of post-occupancy evaluation. The research has impacted the sponsoring organisation on several business elements including creation of a new business unit to assess completed projects in order to inform design and construction on future projects leading towards improved knowledge management on RETs. The e-learning component uses a combination of graphical imagery, audio voice-overs, knowledge-checks and assessment gathered from active construction projects to enable employees to engage in knowledge and experience sharing on a project-by-project basis, and organisational learning through case studies and post-occupancy evaluation of completed projects. Feedback received from the pilot study of the training materials has been encouraging and positive. While further research is required to measure the long-term effect of the initiative on the workforce population, a six month review suggested that a refresher course is required bi-annually to ensure the workforce score consistent results in the assessment and to update the training with new project experience to share within the organisation. The wider impact on the industry is to showcase the potential learning benefits of post-occupancy evaluation (POE) to contractors and the industry as a whole. The research has highlighted typical industry practice within a contracting organisations regarding knowledge sharing within the company and has demonstrated the improvement on employee knowledge after introduction of a training initiative utilising POE (typically a consultant tool) during the construction phase to prevent re-inventing the wheel . Through regularly and collectively sharing information and project experience, it is envisaged that the full range of contractor disciplines will have increased interaction to ensure all perspectives are accommodated during the design, construction and facility management phases of a building s life cycle.
- Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering
- Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Engineering (CICE)