The development of a project process evaluation (PPE) framework that aims to measure the effectiveness of implementing a new design and construction project process
Increased globalised competition and the need to meet continuously changing customer requirements has forced the UK construction industry to consider its practice. The industry has been repeatedly criticised for its inefficiency, fragmentation, profitability, and lack of co-ordination and communication by many governmental and institutional reports (Phillips, 1950; Emmerson, 1962; Banwell, 1964; Gyles, 1992; Latham, 1994; Egan, 1998). Latham and Egan cited that process improvement and learning from the manufacturing industry could aid the prevailing situation. Following such recommendations, a number of construction clients started developing their own design and construction process, including BAA (British Airports Authority), BAe (British Aerospace) and London Underground, as a way to improve the prevailing situation. An appraisal of these industrial approaches highlighted a common structure that contributed to the development of the Generic Design and Construction Process Protocol (GDCPP). This research project, led by the University of Salford, proved to be the impetus for a flurry of other construction companies to remodel their processes. However, the success of a construction project is not always directly attributed to the performance of the new project process, and vice versa. Framed in these terms, how can the effectiveness of implementing a new design and construction project process be measured in recompense to this growing trend of process improvement? Construction performance measurement today is myopic. For too long, construction organisations have focused on short-termism. If they are to remain competitive, they need to embrace broader issues other than the traditional time cost and quality metrics of construction performance (Love & Holt, 2000). They must also consider the performance of the project process itself (Neely et al, 2000) as to determine the true barriers to success, be that the process itself or implementation factors. However, there is at present a lack of understanding on how the measurement of project processes should be approached. This is attributable in part to the absence of publicly available information, and in part to the inherent difficulty of measuring a complex and creative process. This thesis describes the development of the project process evaluation (PPE) framework that aims to address this research gap. Literature reviews and a scoping survey questionnaire were used in this research investigation for the discovery and building of the PPE framework. The framework consists of five steps, which guides the user from the identification of performance indicators governing the selection of the new project process, through into a knowledge-learning domain in order to improve upon future projects. A case study research strategy was then used to test and validate the model, which employed various research methods to collect both qualitative and quantitative data for the study; the Process Protocol was deployed on the case studies in order to certify the framework. The resulting PPE framework provides an original, prototypical solution to assessing the effectiveness of implementing a new design and construction project process.