Optimalisation des formes d'organisation dans l'industrie de la construction

A piece of work carried out by the construction industry, whether a building or a civil engineering project, is not a mass-produced item. It is always a unique piece of work, by dint of its response to the specific needs of the owner and its potential users, its integration or otherwise into a built environment, and its construction on ground whose geo-technical properties are always specific. This unique piece of work, carried out outside on a site subject to numerous hazards, must nevertheless meet the programme's fixed objectives first time round. Unfortunately, unlike most industrial products, it is usually, even nowadays, the outcome of a fragmented approach: designers and builders of the shell of the building and those engaged in the finishings are in fact involved in a segmented and sequential process, without any real interaction between the various disciplines, to the detriment of overall quality and the cost of the end-product. The author of this thesis has had the opportunity, in his professional career in the management of major construction companies, of testing most organisational forms in the sector. He has observed that, depending on the model chosen, they exercise a more or less beneficial effect on quality, costs and time-frames for completing the works, as well as on the capacity for innovation of the participants themselves. The first objective of the thesis was to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the most common organisational models in the construction industry and to identify factors in the success of the construction process. The second objective was to suggest an original organisational model which would make optimum use of these factors, taking into account modern organisational theory and project management. The first section of the thesis is an historical study of organisational forms of construction from antiquity to the modern times, and examines in particular the relationships between those actively and directly involved (owner, designers and builders) and their relationships in turn with those involved indirectly (users, public administration, finance providers, environmental and heritage protection organisations, laws and standards, etc.). This historical perspective makes a useful contribution because, although much has been written on architecture and architects, especially the most famous among them, and sometimes on engineers, work looking systematically at the organisational forms used in the construction industry over the centuries is rare. This study demonstrates that the fragmented organisation of construction characteristic of the 20th century is merely an accident in the long history of construction; the twenty-five preceding centuries almost always favoured close collaboration between designers and builders and the wonderful works they left behind demonstrate the wisdom of this approach. Study of the history also provides us with a list of the main success factors and the demands to which the successful organisation of construction must respond. The second part endeavours to verify the relevance of the needs drawn, in the light of modern organisational theory, from project management and creativity, and to complete the list. It goes on to analyse on that basis the strengths and weaknesses of the organisational models most commonly used in the modern construction industry and demonstrates that organisation as a design and build, is in the best position at this stage in the research to meet the needs of owners. The third section verifies, through case studies of five pieces of work recently completed or under construction, whether this organisational model effectively satisfies the expectations of those involved in the construction project, simultaneously examining potential improvements. To that end, a series of interviews was conducted in each case study, with a view to eliciting the views of representative participants: owner, operator, user, project manager, architect, engineer and sub-contracting trades. The process was completed with an analysis of the attitude of some public sector owners to the design and build organisational model. Finally, the lessons drawn from these case studies were used to complete the list of success factors already identified. A final section sets out an original organisational model named Integrated Construction Management (ICM), which recommends an inter-disciplinary approach to construction and responds to the success factors identified in the first three sections. It involves a new division of the production process, which provides the owner with a broader and more cost-effective range of innovative architectural and construction options. It also delivers a series of practical recommendations to assist in the application of the proposed model. In conclusion, Integrated Construction Management places the owner at the centre of a transparent and progressive production process, simultaneously removing the majority of the risks involved in construction. Through its inter-disciplinary approach, it offers innovative solutions together with improvements to the overall quality of the piece of work itself on favourable economic terms. Finally, it enables the owner to take informed decisions and to use his or her financial resources as and when the feasibility of the project is confirmed. It is hoped that, as a result, these advantages will be demonstrated through pilot projects carried out using the ICM model, which will without doubt make possible further improvements in performance.

Perret, Francis-Luc
Lausanne, EPFL
Other identifiers:
urn: urn:nbn:ch:bel-epfl-thesis3359-3

 Record created 2005-09-22, last modified 2018-03-17

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