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Recurrent problems in the construction process : an action research study of the design and construction quality of hospital en-suites

Jeffrey, JH


JH Jeffrey


P Porter


Research was undertaken based upon the suspicion that there were recurrent problems with
the design and construction of hospital en-suites. An investigation was planned to confirm
whether or not this suspicion was true and that there were, in fact, recurrent problems.
Following on from this it would be to find out if they existed, what they were and whether
and how they could be overcome. These objectives needed to be formulated, and then
positioned within a framework that identified if the practitioners within the industry even
knew about the problems and if they did, whether they chose not to resolve them or could not
overcome the barriers that prevented the resolution.
A review of the Literature identified that little research had been undertaken in the area of
problems with the design and construction of hospital en-suites. The broader perspective of
problems within the construction industry was covered by the theories supporting
construction Process Improvement. This area was reviewed and it was found that the results
of practical implementation of Process Improvement were rather less successful than had
originally been anticipated. The Sub-processes that combined together to make up the whole
processes were considered and reviewed also. Theories relating to the improvement of the
Sub-process of Design; Management, Quality and Briefing were reviewed. These reviews of
the Process and Design Sub-processes identified that there were significant barriers within
organisation that made improvements difficult to implement.
The opportunity arose to review the suggested existence of problems with the design and
construction of hospital en-suites by way of case Study research at the £330million Derby PFI
hospital redevelopment. At this project approximately 400 en-suites were going to be
constructed. Action Research was proposed to implement practical interventions aimed at
identifying the problems and their solutions. During the course of the research a second
project, the similarly sized £330 million PFI redevelopment of the Mansfield hospital project,
also with approximately 400 en-suites. This provided the basis for a second Case Study. The
original research approach of Action Research within a Case Study was modified to two Case
Studies each embracing Action Research contained within an overarching Action Research
Planned interventions in the construction processes were undertaken to identify whether
knowledge could become embedded in that construction process that would eliminate any
problems identified in the design and construction of hospital en-suites. The techniques for
information gathering included workshops, constructing Mock-ups, Simulation exercises,
Structured interview based on carefully prepared Questionnaires to form agenda's and Site Visits. From the research emerged the 'Notion of Solute' as a theoretical model for problem
resolution which overcomes the difficulty of Knowledge Transfer. From the investigations
within the two Case Studies into hospital en-suites a solution to the problems required the
transfer of the knowledge of three components:
The nature of the problems,
The implications of not remedying the problems.
Recommendations for resolving the problems.
These three components, which formulate the solutions, were suggested to be defined as a
'Solute'. This is a distinct and focussed 'package of knowledge' that can be readily
transferred, both between individuals and also between projects. This 'Solute' is a theoreticz
model that could be transferred to other problems within hospitals, other problems within
construction projects and even to problems in other industries. Each 'Solute' is then
populated with the specific parameters required to enable a problem to be understood and a
solution to be implemented.
Keywords: Knowledge, Design, Quality, Hospital, En-suite.


Jeffrey, J. Recurrent problems in the construction process : an action research study of the design and construction quality of hospital en-suites. (Thesis). Salford : University of Salford

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Oct 3, 2012
Award Date Jan 1, 2010