Development of a management framework to improve the building services engineering design process; a case study of engineering management in an Irish consultancy practice

Reilly, R 2022, Development of a management framework to improve the building services engineering design process; a case study of engineering management in an Irish consultancy practice , DProf thesis, University of Salford.

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The building services engineering (BSE) design process is a major source of problems at construction stage, even to the extent of undermining systematic management. Managerial practitioners have wrestled with this productivity gap for many years, and the time has come to innovate. The current approach to BSE management is inherently complex, which is exacerbated by the highly dynamic nature of the architectural, engineering and construction (AEC) industry in Ireland. A critical literature review provides an academic overview of engineering management in BSE practice, and demonstrates how this managerial role influences the performance of activities during design stage, and its impact at construction stage. BSE management at these key junctures was further scrutinised by focusing on its relationship to people, processes and technology, by which a theoretical framework was established. Modern theory suggests that any unresolved issues at design stage must be resolved at construction stage, which consequently, initiate dysfunction in practice. Engineering management issues cannot be resolved by simply tightening the design process, achieving the same milestones with less information, but by systematically cultivating a skilful design team, embracing efficient processes and accelerating digitalisation. Adapting a qualitative inquiry permitted the researcher to parallel the different components of the synthesised theory (theoretical framework) with triangulated data sourced from a cross-sectional instrumental case study using interviews, and supported by document analysis and the researcher’s self-reflective journal. As the primary research method, structured, open-ended interviews were conducted with fifteen key professionals directly involved with delivering the case study project. An analysis of this practice-based research contributed to the development of a managerial framework, which is intended to improve the BSE design process, thus the basis for promoting a sustainable engineering practice during and after-design. The validity of this framework was also tested by conducting interviews with five seasoned BSE managing directors, who were judiciously chosen from five leading Irish BSE practices. Scholarship in BSE consultancy practice is limited, particularly in engineering management, and although this inquiry is a means of advancing knowledge, it also serves as a disciplined and systematic procedure by shedding a new light on managerial effectiveness, whether or not the conclusion leads to popularism amongst peers. This academic inquiry draws on conventional wisdom of engineering management, and deals rigorously with the evidence to improve the design process by adapting a modern management approach to ensure that BSE practice consists of people with relevant education, skills and experience, who are committed to conducting staged processes throughout the project life by embracing digital engineering. Furthermore, this doctoral thesis concludes that the adaptation of this managerial framework by BSE practices has the potential to enhance technical efficiency and operational effectiveness, thus sustaining a natural, social and built environment.

Item Type: Thesis (DProf)
Contributors: Allen, S (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > School of the Built Environment
Depositing User: R Reilly
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2022 09:51
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2022 13:07

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