Overview of the application of "fuzzy techniques" in construction management research

Ping Chuen Chan, Wai Ming Chan, John F.Y. Yeung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

130 Citations (Scopus)


During the last decade, "fuzzy techniques" have been increasingly applied to the research area of construction management discipline. To date, however, no paper has attempted to summarize and present a critique of the existing "fuzzy" literature. This paper, therefore, aims to comprehensively review the fuzzy literature that has been published in eight selected top quality journals from 1996 to 2005, these being Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, ASCE; Journal of Management in Engineering, ASCE; Construction Management and Economics; Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management; International Journal of Project Management; Building Research and Information; Building and Environment; and Benchmarking: An International Journal. It has been found that fuzzy research, as applied in construction management discipline in the past decade, can be divided into two broad fields, encompassing: (1) fuzzy set/fuzzy logic; and (2) hybrid fuzzy techniques, with the applications in four main categories, including: (1) decision making; (2) performance; (3) evaluation/assessment; and (4) modeling. The comprehensive review provided in this paper offers new directions for fuzzy research and its application in construction management. Based on a comprehensive literature review on the applications of fuzzy set/fuzzy logic, and hybrid fuzzy techniques in construction management research, an increasing trend of applying these techniques in construction management research is observed. Therefore, it is suggested that future research studies related to fuzzy techniques can be continuously applied to these four major categories. Fuzzy membership functions and linguistic variables in particular can be used to suit applications to solving problems encountered in the construction industry based on the nature of construction, which are widely regarded as complicated, full of uncertainties, and contingent on changing environments. Moreover, hybrid fuzzy techniques, such as neurofuzzy and fuzzy neural networks, can be more widely applied because they can better tackle some problems in construction that fuzzy set/fuzzy logic alone may not best suit. For example, neural networks are strong in pattern recognition and automatic learning while fuzzy set and fuzzy logic are strong in modeling certain uncertainties. Their combination can assist in developing models with uncertainty under some forms of pattern. Finally, an increasing trend of applying fuzzy techniques in the building science and environmental disciplines is also observed; it is believed that the application of fuzzy techniques will go beyond the construction management area into these disciplines as well.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1241-1252
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Management
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 22 Oct 2009


  • Construction management
  • Fuzzy sets
  • Hybrid methods
  • Research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Industrial relations
  • Strategy and Management


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