Quality management in UK social housing projects: Addressing thermal performance
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Construction defects in the domestic sector, especially those occurring in the building fabric, are acknowledged to contribute to the mismatch between the energy use as predicted at design stage and as measured in the building operation. Despite the number of quality management procedures put in place in social housing projects, defects affecting the thermal performance of dwellings are still a major issue to be managed. Within this context, this study investigates how Project Quality Plans related to thermal performance of dwellings are defined and implemented in the UK social housing projects. The analysis of evidence collected from five social housing case studies suggests that in the majority of the projects, the deployed quality management procedures focuses on visual quality issues, allowing defects with the potential to impair the thermal performance of the dwellings to remain uncorrected. Despite a range of quality control procedures administered by the projects' stakeholders, they did not systematically appraise such defects neither during preconstruction phase, nor during the construction stage. This study identifies the main challenges posed to the development and implementation of Project Quality Plans with focus on the thermal performance of dwellings. In addition, recommendations focused on offsetting the identified challenges are proposed as means to mitigate the quality issues affecting the thermal performance in social housing projects.
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