Causes of defects in construction - a study of seven building projects in Sweden
Other, 1998

This paper is based on a study of defects and defect costs in seven building projects in Sweden. Special observers collected information on 3000 defects found on site. The causes were primarily ascribed to the individuals’ actions, knowledge, information and motivation. Lack of motivation was found to be the most common cause. Almost 100 interviews were made with key persons in the projects to find the underlying causes of defects. The causes were mainly found in how the project organisation was structured. Unstable organisations were found to create uncertainty. Four types of organisational instability were identified; gaps in vertical relationships, gaps in horizontal relationships, organisation not created in time, and changes in the organisation. The current market situation caused large time and cost pressure. It influenced how the organisation was structured and how the individuals were acting. Individual causes, as well as organisational causes, are discussed.

human error


causes of defects

organisational instability



Per-Erik Josephson

Department of Building Economics and Construction Management

Areas of Advance

Building Futures (2010-2018)


Subject Categories

Construction Management

Business Administration

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