Assessing the “clerk of works” role in delivering quality affordable housing: a UK case study

Hughes, Bradley, Edwards, David J, Martek, Igor, Chileshe, Nicholas and Thwala, Wellington Didibhuku 2021, Assessing the “clerk of works” role in delivering quality affordable housing: a UK case study, Smart and sustainable built environment, pp. 1-21, doi: 10.1108/SASBE-01-2021-0015.

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Title Assessing the “clerk of works” role in delivering quality affordable housing: a UK case study
Author(s) Hughes, Bradley
Edwards, David J
Martek, IgorORCID iD for Martek, Igor
Chileshe, Nicholas
Thwala, Wellington Didibhuku
Journal name Smart and sustainable built environment
Start page 1
End page 21
Total pages 21
Publisher Emerald Group Publishing
Place of publication Bingley, Eng.
Publication date 2021-06-04
ISSN 2046-6099
Keyword(s) Affordable housing
Clerk of works
Construction quality
Construction safety
Green & Sustainable Science & Technology
Residential housing
Science & Technology
Social housing
Science & Technology - Other Topics
Summary Purpose A mixed philosophies epistemological design with inductive reasoning was adopted to develop new theoretical insights into the phenomena under investigation. First, interpretivism was employed to contextualise the prevailing body of knowledge and source questions (and prompts) to be posed to practitioners. Second, a case study strategy (augmented by participant action research) was adopted to measure construction industry professionals' perceptions of the clerk of work's role and their impact upon both quality and safety of construction. Design/methodology/approach This research conducts a case study investigation of affordable and/or social home construction and examine industry's perception of the clerk of works (CoW) and their powers and responsibilities within existing legislation to impact quality of construction. Findings The findings illustrate that while the clerk of work's role positively impacts quality and safety of construction, it is hindered by cost and time constraints that are often prioritised. An analogy to “yield points” in materials science is then adapted to develop new theory to conceptualise the pivotal position that the CoW has in upholding quality construction. The research concludes with pragmatic recommendations (such as industry centric codes of practice) to mitigate quality and safety issues arising and signpost future academic research in this area. Originality/value UK construction has been criticised for prioritising costs and profits vis-à-vis quality and safety issues, as exemplified by the Grenfell fire. This study demonstrates the need for reinstatement of the CoW role in mitigating residential housing quality decline.
Notes In Press article
Language eng
DOI 10.1108/SASBE-01-2021-0015
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 12 Built Environment and Design
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
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