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Learning from defects in the UK housing sector using action research: a case study of a housing association

Hopkin, T., Lu, S.-L., Sexton, M. and Rogers, P. (2019) Learning from defects in the UK housing sector using action research: a case study of a housing association. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management. ISSN 0969-9988

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1108/ECAM-04-2018-0146

Abstract/Summary

Purpose: Maximising the benefit of learning from defects is regarded by UK housing associations (HAs) as a key opportunity to meet their challenges of building more homes with reduced government funding and rent incomes. Despite learning from defects being a frequent recommendation to reduce defects in the construction literature, there is scarce empirical evidence into how HAs actually learn from defects. This research aims to better understand how HAs learn from past defects and induce change to reduce defects. Design/methodology/approach: Guided by organisational learning (OL) as the theoretical lens, a 21-month action research (AR) project explored one HA’s defects management and learning processes. Findings: OL has the potential to reduce defects in new homes but is a secondary task which is reliant on a defects management team analysing defect data to identify priority areas. As such, learning from defects can be reduced due to peaks in workload if data analysis is a manual process. . Furthermore, a dual learning approach plays a significant role for HA’s learning consisting of designing out defects (codification) supported by networking (personalisation) to tackle issues of workmanship on site and those defects that cannot be designed out. Originality/value: This study demonstrates OL has the potential to reduce defects in new homes but is a secondary task in HA’s practice; and highlights the practical challenges of academia and industry co-production in AR in construction.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of the Built Environment > Construction Management and Engineering > Business Innovation in Construction
ID Code:81620
Publisher:Emerald

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