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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: GR/T21806/01
Title: Sustained Competitiveness in the UK Construction Sector: a Fresh Perspective
Principal Investigator: Green, Professor S
Other Investigators:
Hughes, Professor W Gray, Professor C
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Construction Management and Engineering
Organisation: University of Reading
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 January 2005 Ends: 31 July 2008 Value (£): 237,445
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Construction Ops & Management
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
GR/T21813/01 GR/T21820/01
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The current research agenda for improving the competitiveness of the UK construction sector has become disconnected from the reality of the industry. Too often it is assumed that new technologies and process initiatives can be painted onto the fabric of the construction sector and implemented in the same way as elsewhere. In their enthusiasm to focus on 'new ways of working', researchers have tended to ignore (or at least downplay) the significant structural changes that have characterised the sector since the mid-1970s. The proposed research adopts a contextually-grounded approach to competitiveness. The contention is that improvement initiatives cannot be understood in isolation from an analysis of the existing dynamics of sectoral change. Any such analysis must address the complex interplay between industry structure and culture. The research will identify the changes that are necessary to meet the industry's performance requirements in 20 years time. The construction sector of the future will be considered within the context of broader societal, economic and technological change.This research will focus on competitiveness from a systems perspective. Too many previous research projects have focused on narrowly defined issues of productivity to the detriment of broader considerations. Adopting a systems perspective on construction sector competitiveness focuses attention onto the interconnectivity and relationships between different parts of the sector. It further emphasises the' emergent' (often undesirable) properties that arise from the way that the parts are organised. The methodology has been designed to address three aspects of the construction sector: (i) underlying social structures, (ii) differing personal constructs and rationalities, and (iii) underlying causal structures. These interacting aspects are central to the embedded model of competitiveness and their explicit recognition will avoid the reductionist tendencies of many previous construction-related research projects. Outputs will include a 10-year research agenda and specific guidance for industry on the implementation of an innovation-based model of competitiveness.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.rdg.ac.uk