Managing quality in construction: construction as biological cells

Abeysekera, Vasantha and Shelke, Mayur G. (2013) Managing quality in construction: construction as biological cells. In: 19th International CIB World Building Congress, 05-09 May 2013 , Brisbane, Australia.

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Construction is noted for handing over projects with defects with associated quality problems plaguing construction. Available models seem inadequate to ensure quality. Given this background, this study explores a new approach inspired by the high level of accuracy successfully achieved in the replication and proliferation of biological cells.

Construction operations are in many ways repetitive in nature. Hypothetically it can be broken down into basic repetitive units or ‘cells’ which undergo replication to constitute the ‘whole’ with similarities with biological cell. However, replication in construction is less error free when compared with the replication and proliferation of biological cells to produce a functional multicellular organ with an abnormally low error rate. As such, this study investigates this phenomenon with the aim of finding a better way for managing quality in construction by focussing on the replication of repetitive ‘cells’ (units) in construction.

A detailed study of the biological cell theory identified two new concepts relevant for construction (amongst others), namely, ‘embedded design’ and ‘rate of proliferation’ which impacts on cell-quality.

The relevance of these two concepts are explored further through the case study methodology: The first case study examines the impact of variation in the rate of poured concrete in a tunnel construction project whilst the second case study investigates the embedded design concept for planning and scheduling repetitive units in a multi-storey residential apartment complex providing two interim conclusions: Firstly, it is seen that variation in rate of production indicates presence of issues which have the potential for causing serious quality problems calling for closer attention whenever the rate of production changes. Secondly, the ‘embedded design’ concept is a relevant and viable concept for managing quality in construction which demands further exploration.

These two case studies have identified the need to examine the two concepts described herein further including other relevant concepts of the Biological Cell Theory with the intention of developing a new model for achieving an error free repeatability of construction units or cells.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Copyright 2013 The authors and/or their employers. No indication of copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Agricultural, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Date Deposited: 19 May 2016 23:45
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2017 06:24
Uncontrolled Keywords: biological cell, embedded design, quality, repeatability, replication
Fields of Research : 12 Built Environment and Design > 1202 Building > 120201 Building Construction Management and Project Planning
Socio-Economic Objective: B Economic Development > 87 Construction > 8799 Other Construction > 879999 Construction not elsewhere classified

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