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Placing defects at the heart of high quality new homes: a learning perspective

Hopkin, T., Lu, S.-L., Rogers, P. and Sexton, M. (2014) Placing defects at the heart of high quality new homes: a learning perspective. In: the 30th Annual ARCOM Conference, 1-3 September, Portsmouth, UK, pp. 1155-1164.

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The UK new-build housing sector is facing dual pressures to expand supply, whilst delivering against tougher planning and Building Regulation requirements; predominantly in the areas of sustainability. The sector is currently responding by significantly scaling up production and incorporating new technical solutions into new homes. This trajectory of up-scaling and technical innovation has been of research interest; but this research has primarily focus on the ‘upstream’ implications for house builders’ business models and standardised design templates. There has been little attention, though, to the potential ‘downstream’ implications of the ramping up of supply and the introduction of new technologies for build quality and defects. This paper contributes to our understanding of the ‘downstream’ implications through a synthesis of the current UK defect literature with respect to new-build housing. It is found that the prevailing emphasis in the literature is limited to the responsibility, pathology and statistical analysis of defects (and failures). The literature does not extend to how house builders individually and collectively, in practice, collect and learn from defects information. The paper concludes by describing an ongoing collaborative research programme with the National House Building Council (NHBC) to: (a) understand house builders’ localised defects analysis procedures, and their current knowledge feedback loops to inform risk management strategies; and, (b) building on this understanding, design and test action research interventions to develop new data capture, learning processes and systems to reduce targeted defects.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Divisions:Science > School of the Built Environment > Organisation, People and Technology group
ID Code:38341

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