The application of concurrent engineering philosophy to the construction industry
The research explores the rationale of applying Concurrent Engineering (CE) philosophy to the construction industry. CE was considered based on its successful implementation in other industries. In the manufacturing industry it is used to overcome problems similar in nature to those of the construction industry, resulting from the practice of the traditional 'over the wall' processes in product design and manufacturing (construction). During the initial stage, the research evaluated current problems faced by the industry, such as the high degree of fragmentation of industry structure and work processes, adversarial elationships among project participants' lack of communication, etc., and its effort to achieve improvement. The research also investigated the theoretical background of CE philosophy, its application in other industries especially in manufacturing, the rationale for its application to construction, and current practices within the construction industry similar to those encompassed within the CE philosophy. CE consists of several basic principles, of which the teamwork was the main focus of this research and is used as the main strategy to achieve CE implementation for construction industry. By using both quantitative and qualitative evaluation, the research determined that there was no evidence to support that CE has been practised in construction as a complete process, as it has in other industries. The research also established a number of factors that support and inhibit collaborative teamwork in construction, and rank them according to their relative importance. The rankings indicate the priorities for the industry in order to achieve collaborative working, which is critical to CE implementation. The main output of the research was the establishment of 'guidelines' for implementing a Cross Functional Project Team (CFPT), i.e. the cross functional teamwork concept based on CE principles, forming the main strategy to implement CE in construction. The 'guidelines' were developed based on the consensus opinion of industry experts using the Delphi study technique. The findings from case studies were used to validate these 'guidelines'. The research also developed a tool known as the Matrix Measurement Guidelines - 'Toward CE in Construction' (MMG-TCEiC) to help the industry to map the process toward achieving a collaborative teamwork concept based on CE environments within construction projects.