CEM217-Construction Sector Transition

Module Provider: School of Construction Management and Engineering, School of Built Environment
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Shu-Ling Lu

Email: s.lu@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module equips students with leading-edge knowledge on transition management approaches to bring about successful construction sector reform in a country. The module demonstrates how construction sector policies, company strategies and new technologies are all closely interconnected and the profound transition management challenges these complex interactions create. Throughout the module detailed cases studies are used to bring to life key issues. The cases are drawn from research projects being undertaken by members of the module delivery team in the transition management area.


The construction sector in all economies has a potentially powerful catalytic role in enhancing wealth generation and quality of life. However, construction sectorial characteristics, particularly in the contexts of emerging economies, often significantly constrain this potential. These characteristics may include deeply entrenched structures, practices and workforce capabilities which work against innovation and change, especially uncertain government construction sector policies and regulations, unskilled workforces, low productivity, poor infrastructure, fraudulent practices and inadequate contract law provision and enforcement.

The focus on this module is to understand construction industry reform from a transition management, multi-level perspective. Construction sector reform involves mutually coherent and progressive transitions that need to change and connect improvements across higher level policy, regulation and societal values and norms, right the way through to the incorporation in construction companies and projects of new technologies and practices.

The module will develop students’ understanding and knowledge of:

  • the wider, systemic challenges of construction sector development;

  • transition management approaches which recognise the co-evolution processes at work across different levels and actor groups (for example, government policy, construction companies and their supply chains, and niche technologies); and,

  • detailed examples of sectorial and technological transitions drawn from construction, energy, water and other sectors to appreciate real-world practice.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module, it is expected that the student will be able to critically evaluate:

  • the principal characteristics of construction sectors which constrain effective reform;

  • the nature and role of transition management approaches in managing the multi-level, multi-phase, multi-actor dimensions to successful construction sector reform; and,

  • case studies of sectorial and technological transitions drawn from a variety of industry sectors.

Additional outcomes:

On completion of this module students will have had the opportunity to:

  • demonstrate competence in written and verbal communication through the preparation of assignments and group work activities; and,

  • develop an awareness of the current research projects being undertaken (particularly within the School) in the low-carbon, transition management field.

Outline content:

The module is designed to develop understanding and knowledge through a structured series of topics:

  • Introduction and module overview

  • Theory: principal characteristics of construction sectors

  • Case study: selected countries

  • Theory: transition management

  • Case study: construction sector reform in selected countries

  • Theory: sustainable urban future

  • Case study: urban transition

  • Theory: community engagement during the transition

  • Case study: importance and challenges of engaging local / community during the transition

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Lectures, external speakers and self-directed learning.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 19.5
Tutorials 4.5
Guided independent study 76
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 80
Oral assessment and presentation 20

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

One groupwork presentation - submission date: TT Wk 29

One assignment - approximately 3,500 words; submission date: TT Wk 37

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Assessment requirements for a pass:

A mark of 50% overall

Reassessment arrangements:

To be reassessed by re-submission of coursework. Students are required to contact the School to confirm reassessment arrangements.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 11 June 2018


Things to do now