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Building conversion process, a cognitive exploration

Maytorena Sanchez, Eunice S; (2003) Building conversion process, a cognitive exploration. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Over the last 35 years the conversion of buildings has emerged as an important activity of the U.K. construction industry. Much has been written on the approaches taken to convert buildings and its economic, social and environmental benefits. Most recently, work has concentrated on identifying the capacity and the potential for conversion work where issues and factors which influence the activity are listed. However, very little attention has been paid to capturing the individual actor's cognitive understanding of the process and the pivotal decision factors which influence the development and outcome of projects of this nature. This study focuses on the conversion of non-residential buildings to residential use and looks at the central London area as an example of this practice. It explores the experiences and understanding of individuals involved in the activity of how a conversion project develops and what are the causes and effects of decisions taken on the project process development and outcome. A better understanding of the systems' process in building conversion projects could suggest areas in need of improvement. The study is approached and developed through a case investigation of three conversion projects completed by private developers in 1999. Data was collected by means of in-depth interviews and archival research. Cognitive mapping techniques were used as an analysis tool from which individual "decisions boundaries" could be explored within context, subsequently combined, to obtain a project overview, and then compared. The research concludes that the decision taking mechanisms which occur between the critical activities is largely determined by five pivotal factors: nature and level of input of client; quality and integration of actors; balance between cost and value; flexibility in achieving objectives and time available. Although more research needs to be done in this area, this research project makes five general recommendations to improve the conversion project process: clear formulation and communication of objectives and roles; selection of experienced team members and establishment of a team building strategy; integrated and flexible management of human resources; stream line management of communication and information systems process and establishment of a project re-evaluation exercise. The value of this work lies in the establishment of the core decision mechanisms, issues and pivotal processes that strategic actors will need to consider and organize if they are to successfully engage in this risk laden sector of the construction.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Building conversion process, a cognitive exploration
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Social sciences; Conversion projects; Project management
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10104655
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