CEM034-Innovative Developments in Construction

Module Provider: School of Construction Management and Engineering
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2012/3

Module Convenor: Dr Tabarak Ballal

Email: t.ballal@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
Over the past few decades, the UK construction industry has developed a notorious reputation due to lack of efficiency, effectiveness but most of all as a result of a perception of its inability to innovate and be creative in its practices and management processes. This module: reviews the current status of the industry; provides evidences of some of these misconceptions whilst challenging others; presents an overview of innovative practices and developments in construction and examines all of these issues within the light of the latest theoretical frameworks and thinking which pertain to design, construction and management of projects.

This module aims to provoke a critique of the construction industry through investigating the extent to which current practices enable or hinder innovative developments in design, construction, operation and management of construction projects and the potential for the industry to rapidly evolve in response to challenging and varying technical, environmental and economic landscapes. Participants will benefit by being better equipped to question and challenge current routines within their own organisations and being in a position to promote innovative developments, thinking and practices in their specific areas of expertise.

Additional benefits include:

• Developing a broader capacity for innovation
• Developing technology transfer skills
• Improving knowledge management capabilities
• Exploiting state-of-the-art techniques

Assessable learning outcomes:
At completion of this module the student will:

• Develop a deeper understanding of the challenges facing the construction industry and the potential of innovative developments to address such challenges.
• Develop a solid knowledge base of state-of-the-art computing techniques which foster collaborative practices in the design, construction and management of projects.
• Develop a better capacity of managing and sharing knowledge of innovative developments in construction;
• Develop a sound understanding of the theories and practices of ‘innovation’ and ‘innovation diffusion’ in construction.

Additional outcomes:
In addition, participants will be able to:

• Evaluate innovative management concepts and technologies and appreciate their potential use in construction.
• Use modern information/process modelling techniques and exploit these in construction

Outline content:
Themes include:

• Innovation and Innovation Diffusion
• Knowledge Management
• Concurrent Engineering
• Building Information Modelling including nD-modelling
• Visualisation Technology (VR)

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Methods of delivery will be a balance between lectures, seminars, case studies, individual and teamwork assignments and private studies. To help students develop the notion of cross-industry thinking, interaction with our industrial partners will be encouraged.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures   24  
Tutorial   6  
Project supervision      
Practical classes and workshops      
Supervised time in studio/workshop None None None
Fieldwork None None None
External visits None None None
Work based learning      
Guided independent study      
Placement None None None
Year abroad None None None
Total hours   30  

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Other information on summative assessment:
This module will be assessed by means of
Assignment: 3,000 – 3,500 words

Formative assessment methods:
In groups, participants will be required to evaluate knowledge management practices in their own organisation with reference to selected case studies. This will be done through examining best practice identified in the literature.

Penalties for late submission:

Length of examination:

Requirements for a pass:
To pass students must attain an average mark of 50%.

Reassessment arrangements:
To be reassessed by resubmission of the assignment. Students are required to contact the School to confirm resubmission arrangements.

Last updated: 9 August 2013

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