Determining the causal structure of rework influences in construction

P. E.D. Love, P. Manual, Heng Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

160 Citations (Scopus)


One of the most perplexing issues facing organizations in the construction industry is their inability to become quality focused. As a result sub-standard products and services often emanate, which inadvertently result in rework. Typically, rework is caused by errors made during the design process. These errors appear downstream in the procurement process and therefore have a negative impact on a project's performance. The lack of attention to quality, especially during the design process, has meant that rework has become an inevitable feature of the procurement process, and the costs have been found to be as high as 12.4% of total project costs. Such costs could be even higher because they do not represent schedule delays, litigation costs and other intangible costs of poor quality. To reduce the cost and effect of rework, an understanding of its causal structure is needed so that effective prevention strategies can be identified and the effects of rework reduced or eliminated. A case study approach based upon deductive and inductive reasoning is used to identify the major factors that influence rework in projects. From the findings and with reference to recent literature, the concept of system dynamics is used to develop a series of influence diagrams, which are then integrated to develop a conceptual causal loop model that is used to determine the overall causal structure of rework. Once an understanding of the causal structure of rework events has been acquired, effective strategies for rework prevention can be designed and implemented in order to improve project performance. This paper contributes to study of quality in construction by capturing the complexity and dynamism of those factors that influence rework and project performance in a holistic manner.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-517
Number of pages13
JournalConstruction Management and Economics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1999


  • Causal loop diagramming
  • Quality management
  • Rework
  • System dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Building and Construction
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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