Issue 21.1 Contents list and editorial

ECAM 21.1


Managing the health risks of extreme weather events by managing hospital infrastructure
Martin Loosemore and Vivien Chow


Impact of Values on the Learning Approaches of Chinese Construction Students in Hong Kong

Mei-yung Leung, Chen Dongyu and Anita Liu,


Improving construction management practice with the Last Planner System: a case study

Abdullah AlSehaimi, Patricia Tzortzopoulos and Lauri Koskela


The health and safety impact of construction project features

Patrick Manu, Nii Ankrah, David Proverbs and Subashini Suresh


Framework for Enhanced progress tracking and control of Linear Projects

Tarek Hegazy, Mohamed Abdel-Monem, and Dina Atef Saad


Causal ascription of rework in building and civil engineering projects: A multivariate exploration

Ekambaram Palaneeswaran, Peter Love, Mohan Kumaraswamy and Thomas Ng


ECAM 21.1 required the extraordinarily high number of 19 authors to produce 6 papers. Multi-authorship and multi-country papers are the feature. One paper had 2 authors, three papers had 3 authors and two papers had 4 authors. Two papers spanned two countries namely Hong Kong and China and the UK and Saudi Arabia. Two papers involved collaboration with three institutions which is slightly higher than usual as collaboration between two institutions is more common. The ECAM 21.1 group of authors were four from Australia, three from Canada, one from China, four from Hong Kong, six from UK and one from Saudi Arabia.


Planning would be the theme of ECAM 21.1 featuring in two papers and issues relevant to productivity in one other.


Topics in this issue include hospital infrastructure and disaster management, learning of Chinese construction students, a planning case study. Health and safety and project features, improving repetitive planning and managing re-work.

The research methods for data collection are mainly interviews, questionnaires and case studies. I prefer any approach involving direct contact rather than remote questionnaires. I have more confidence in the information produced and in that both the researcher and the practitioner would have a greater understanding of each other. I was pleased to see the development of an improvement to planning of repetitive work. Backed by a case study this was an effort to improve and change practice not simply an observation of what is occurring. I like research that tries to drive change.



The papers in ECAM 21.1 are:

Loosemore and Chow invite us to consider the increasing health demands on hospitals due to climate change-extreme weather events when the infrastructure of the hospitals did not have such demands anticipated when designed. Their information sources were focus groups and case studies in Australia and New Zealand.


Their findings are that hospital managers see the infrastructure as an important component of disaster response, apparently this challenges previous research. However the infrastructure is the least flexible. The need therefore emerges for adaptable organisational and management sub-systems. It is interesting to link disaster response with managing the infrastructure. My previous readings in this topic simply accepted the facilities available and sort of worked round them. This paper at least offers a more positive approach.


Leung, Dongyu and Liu surveyed 431 ethnically-Chinese construction students in four Universities in Hong Kong. The survey identified six influential values. The authors recommend developing appropriate value systems in freshmen courses. The authors should present with more authority and detail how to include these ‘values’ in courses and present a case study where the values have been deployed and the resulting benefits. Perhaps we can look forward to a future paper.


AlSehaimi, Tzortzopoulos and Koskela offer us a case study in the use of the planning system ‘Last Planner’ in Saudi Arabia. The data and information sources were observations and a survey. We get few papers that offer observations on practice such as this and it is to be welcomed. These authors are trying to ensure that the use of a planning system improves and develops. The main issues of planning are present, for example sub-contractors, commitment and attitude.


Manu, Ankrah, Proverbs and Suresh using semi-structured interviews and questionnaires explore the degree to which Construction Project Features influence accident occurrence. They were trying to determine whether the causal influence of accidents and if these are common or prevalent within construction project features. The findings are that the CPFs have a moderate to high influence. I think therefore that means these can be changed to reduce accidents. Therefore the authors need to find ways and means of adjusting the construction project features. They have left the conclusions as providing an insight but this has got to be driven towards effective actions that will change practice.


Hegazy, Abdel-Monem, and Saad are interested in progress tracking and control in repetitive projects. They have built a framework that automates the documentation of as-built information and links it directly to the project schedule. The technology is e-mail based and they claim a more accurate computation of the critical path and linear scheduling. They demonstrate the worth of the new approach by a case study. This paper presents a nice bit of enhancement in planning and scheduling. The authors need to find ways of promoting the approach to gain wider use and therefore impact on practice.


Palaneeswaran, Love, Kumaraswamy and Ng use supervised questionnaires and case study interviews with data from 112 construction projects to obtain knowledge of the underlying nature of re-work. The analysis revealed difference between civil engineering projects and building and the authors claim that the associations will help build prevention strategies. There seems more to do to reach this stage.


Finally as ECAM 21.1 is the first edition of 2014 it gives me great pleasure to wish you all a happy and productive New Year. Notwithstanding that as I write this the sun is out, the sky is blue and there’s not a cloud to spoil the view and it feels more like a late sunny summer day than an early Northern hemisphere autumn. For us in these latitudes New Year is associated with the depths of an icy winter. Nevertheless 2014 could be a very special year.


Ronald McCaffer