Productivity and sustainable refurbishment
Research Project , 2011 – 2014

In project based organizations, project performance is often measured as deviations from original plans. Within the construction industry, performance is measured at different levels, primarily the firm, project and activity levels. Measuring performance as deviations in refurbishment projects is less satisfactory since unforeseen conditions make it difficult to develop precise plans that can be used later to compare with outcomes. The construction industry is criticized for being a major source of waste generation in society, and demolition activities in refurbishment are important here. Measuring actual resource use in refurbishment projects is desirable from a sustainability viewpoint. The purpose is to analyse how construction performance is measured, with a focus on the site monitoring and management of resource use in building refurbishment. An initial analysis of the relations between construction industry productivity and measures of construction project performance indicates that what appears as low productivity growth in official statistics can be partly explained by the limited range of output and input qualities that are recognized. Resource use monitoring and management at refurbishment sites, including refurbishment site managers´ waste management practices, have been investigated by surveys using semi-structured interviews with site managers, combined with questionnaires. Today, productivity measurement in refurbishment projects is limited only to simple area-based key indicators and labour productivity. The IT support for resource use monitoring and management on refurbishment sites has been analysed mainly understood as a case of technology acceptance. A pilot questionnaire survey, short semi-structured interviews and finally a nationally distributed questionnaire data have been used to collect information from refurbishment site managers. To minimize medium bias, the national questionnaire has been distributed both by e-mail and by post in paper format. Refurbishment site managers´ IT choices are influenced more by perceived usefulness than of ease of use. Laptops and traditional pen and paper are the media most frequently used by refurbishment site managers, although they often use tablets privately. Screen size, ease of entering data and updating information are important. Respondents see little need of linking to clients´ IT systems. Resource use monitoring and management include waste management. The surveys show that waste sorting is the only waste management activity that is commonly carried out on refurbishment sites. Prior literature indicates that waste management efforts by site managers are influenced by several factors: project related, organizational and personal, technical, industry culture and legislation. Project size, level of contract detail and specific client demand on waste management are the three factors confirmed in the questionnaire survey. Large projects may benefit from site space being less of a problem and more extensive services from waste contractors being available, including advice during project planning. Although the relation between contract type (traditional/design-build) with waste practices was found to be weak in the statistical analysis, there is a potential for reducing waste generation by integrating project design with the detailed planning of refurbishment activities on site. In this context, more efficient IT tools for developing and using digital building information models are desirable.


Jan Bröchner (contact)

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Service Management and Logistics

Ahmet Anil Sezer

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Service Management and Logistics



Project ID: 2010-980
Funding Chalmers participation during 2011–2014

Related Areas of Advance and Infrastructure

Building Futures (2010-2018)

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