Aligning Contractual, Technological, and Organizational Elements to Achieve Higher Performance buildings: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis Approach
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High Performance (HP) buildings are rapidly growing phenomena in Architecture Engineering and Construction industry, addressing many criteria affecting the buildings’ design and construction such as sustainability, functionality and cost-effectiveness. Responding to all these criteria, however, requires a transitioning from the traditional design process towards the whole system approach in which team members can effectively collaborate to analyze the tradeoffs between various interdependent systems and products, and be able to optimize the building as a whole. Construction, engineering and management (CEM) scholars have identified effective elements to facilitate such transition. Fostering Integrated Project Teams (IPT), and implementation of Building Information Modeling (BIM) are two of the fundamental elements presented. However, there is still a gap within the literature, in terms of contextualizing these elements, considering the causal complexities embedded in delivery of HP projects. Using Fuzzy sets Qualitative Comparative Analysis approach, this study presents a framework for analyzing interdependencies within contractual, organizational and social elements that foster IPT practices and BIM implementation within HP projects. The proposed framework is used to construct three major typologies of HP projects with superior reduction in their energy use: “information driven”, “process driven”, and “organizationally driven” projects. Comparison among the fundamental differences among the three typologies shows that formation of trust and approaches to learning and innovation has different drivers in each typology: information technology such as BIM, and inter-organizational scope understanding are the driving forces in Information Driven Projects. Process Driven Projects, however, depend on contractual settings and early involvement of the construction team, while Organizationally Driven Projects rely on an experienced architectural firm and their already established collaborative work practices. The study also found that in addition to the exclusive elements that facilitate design and construction of HP buildings in each typology, several elements are necessary to be present in all HP projects. Such elements include setting ambitious environmental goals, owner engagement in the design process, close working relationship among architects and engineers, and frequent inter-organizational meetings. The findings of this study provide a platform for CEM scholars to investigate complementarities among various contractual, organizational, and social elements facilitating design and construction of HP projects. In addition, Identifying similarities between their projects with the proposed typologies, practitioners will be able to better strategize and make informed decisions about incorporating new IPT and BIM work processes within their projects. Finally, this project can be served as an example for implementation of configurational set theoretic methods such as fsQCA within CEM domain, helping to bridge the sharp divide that currently exists between large N quantitative and small N qualitative studies on construction projects.
- Built environment