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- Industry context
About Salam Al-Bizri
Research and teaching interest is mainly in the areas of integrating design and constructionAcademic
I have been exploring the issues surrounding integration of design and construction processes and how through education a better understanding of issues can be achieved and best practice delivered. By acquiring and exploiting the knowledge and skills of the experts in the field, the students can be educated in the cause and effect relationships, which result from decisions making. This is demonstrated as best practice as well as illustrating the current weaknesses in the way activities are currently carried out. With input from leading organisations in the field I have been developing several courses and lectures, sourcing and developing site based case studies, which at the same time aiming at enabling these organisations to question their management approaches.
Production management theory for many industries has advanced considerably and been embedded in new manufacturing techniques urged on by the international agenda for quality improvement. Continuous manufacturing processes enable embedding and fosters continuous improvement. Construction on the other hand, being a one off prototype product has to take a different approach. Many of the ideas concepts and practices of manufacturing have been tried and found inadequate mainly because there is no consistent recording of the best practice and therefore limited embedding from one project to the next. Therefore for the construction organisations to increase their competitiveness the issue is how to rapidly transfer leading edge practice from one project to the next.
I’ve been involved in developing a set of integrated techniques over many years and elements have been tried and tested in many projects. These includes technology cluster, integrated working of the team and work area control. The interrelationship of the parties in this approach is complex with the ultimate focus on the production process delivered through the work areas. This is the delivery of the technology but the working practices to achieve this focus are delivered through the right project organisation and the attitudes and overall culture within the project to operate the organisation effectively. The set of integrated technique implementation could lead to a radical rethinking of construction management practice.
In addition to academic research I’m concerned with the problems of knowledge capture and the reuse of experience. To this end I produced an interactive knowledge base of good construction management practice attached to a process map of the whole construction process from inception to completion. The practice has been gleaned from a wide range of experience; academic, theoretical and practice which when integrated in this way presents practitioners with a fast track approach to rapid knowledge gain.
A continuing thrust of my work is how to embed changes in practice in a complex situation where the knowledge capability is variable and fragmented. An example of this is the development of briefing decision support based around Quality Function Deployment (QFD). The task was to develop a performance based decision support for the built environment. For the underlying knowledge base I undertook a major literature search, turned general requirements into performance based goals and developed the PeBBu decision support system. The final programme has many original features; interactive access to the www, decision recording within the QFD matrix and enhanced reporting geared to performance based briefing. The latest development was to use the framework of this work and develop a decision support tool for risk assessment of cross infection in hospital environments to reduce the growth of Health Care Acquired Infections such as MRSA.
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