Here is the abstract of a research project I conducted in 2011 while earning a Master of Construction Management at the School of Engineering of the Autonomous University of Yucatán. I was interested in the concept of constructability (the integration of construction knowledge into the design and planning phases of a project to achieve the project objectives in the best possible time, accuracy, and price) and the extent that design and design-build firms in the city of Merida, Yucatan apply these principles in the design phase of building projects, and what factors promote or inhibit the implementation of these principles. This is what I found...
The complexity and technology used in current projects have lead to a specialization of activities that results in a fragmented approach to design and construction, to the point that the design leaves all of the problems related with construction in the contractor´s hands. Different authors have reported that issues related to quality and delays in construction projects are caused by design deficiencies. Furthermore, projects overruns coming from design depict the most significant budget increases.
The fragmentation between the construction project phases began to be addressed at the end of the 1970s when the Construction Industry Institute (CII), in the United States, conceived the concept of constructability to describe the way that building design facilitates the construction processes. Since then, this concept has been implemented in different countries with the purpose of improving productivity and quality in construction. The experience and knowledge about this concept has resulted in the establishment of a set of principles that drive its implementation.
However, locally, there is no indication of the awareness or application of this concept. Therefore, this research´s objective was to determine the extent that design and design-build firms in the city of Merida, Yucatan apply the principles of constructability in the design phase of building projects, as well as to identify the factors that promote or inhibit the implementation of these principles.
In order to achieve this objective, a study was conducted that included the design and application of an instrument to measure the frequency that the practices of constructability were applied among firms that design building projects in Merida. A sample including thirty design firms was taken, at which the managerial positions were primarily interviewed. Also, the opinions of ten building contractors were included in respect to the frequency that the designers apply these principles. These interviews were also used to identify the factors that promote or inhibit the implementation of constructability practices.
Based on the information provided by the interviewees, the average application for each constructability principle was determined, with which the overall level of application of constructability was ultimately obtained. The results show that even though local construction practitioners are unfamiliar with the constructability concept, a relatively high overall level of application was obtained: 67% according to designers and 66% according to contractors. Furthermore, based on the designers and contractors´ comments, 24 constructability barriers were obtained. The most relevant barriers in the local context were the lack of a culture of design and planning in the undertaking of construction projects and the great informality with which building projects are developed.
Architect Fernando Abreu heads the design-build firm Studio Abreu. Here he will offer informative tips for enhancing homes in the Yucatan.