CBE Research Portal

April 15, 2022

Innovation Tool for Owners

Owner Typology Assessment and Project Delivery Method Considerations

In the North American context, owners are those organizations who manage capital investments to design, construct, and operate buildings, facilities, and infrastructure that support the mission of the organization. Owners select construction project delivery methods based on historical preferences and leadership vision for the organization. This project sets out to innovate this selection process by helping owners understand where their organizational structure and culture create tensions with different delivery methods. This work will give the industry an innovative digital tool to support decision-making about delivery methods based on who the owner is and how they organize. This innovative tool will help owners predict areas of tension or places where there will be issues such that they can anticipate these tensions and manage the project with this insight. This tool will provide an assessment tool for owners to determine their own profile, and then allow them to analyze how this profile aligns or is in tension with different delivery methods. Research has found that the owner has a significant impact on the success of a project. Research on project delivery often focuses on the project team and how the delivery method supports key project performance indicators such as cost and schedule, as well as how it supports team interaction and team decision-making. What is not yet as well understood in research is the impact that owner organization characteristics such as their decision-making culture have on project success, nor how different owner organizational structures and cultures in terms of how decision-making relates to the successful use of different delivery methods. Organizational science has identified a number of strategic decision-making models such as the Managerial Autocracy Model, the Systematic Bureaucracy Model, the Adaptive Planning Model, and the Political Expediency Model. Management sciences have also posited other models that take into account external factors and cognitive bias, such as the Analysis, Decision, Onboarding, and Control model. In this research, we will assess which of these models apply to construction owners and then determine the relationship between project delivery methods and these decision-making models.

This project will focus on owners where the buildings and infrastructure (capital projects) are secondary to their main business goals. We would exclude developers who build a building in order to sell it and make a profit. We would include sectors such as Higher Education, Health Care, retail, and manufacturing companies. Once we understand the state of the practice of decision-making characteristics and models from the literature, we will develop a survey that assesses the relevance of these models to the construction industry, and assesses alignments and misalignments between these decision-making models and project delivery typologies.

We proposed three tasks. First, Task 1 : A literature review on decision-making models. This review will cover the research team’s prior work, the management literature, and design and construction literature. Deliverable: Survey tool and summary of the literature. Second, Task 2: Survey: Deploy survey and conduct analysis to assess construction owner profiles of decision-making. This will include owners’ self-assessment of their decision-making profiles as well as the project team’s perceptions of the owners’ decision-making methods. This survey will also assess the alignments and misalignments between decision-making models and project delivery typologies. Third, Task 3: Develop an innovative tool that supports an owner’s analysis of their organization and the relationship between decision-making profiles and project delivery methods. Deliverable: Innovative Tool for Project Delivery Method analysis and selection.

Funders include the Charles Pankow Foundation, Chandos Construction, American Institute of Architects, Integrated Project Delivery Alliance, and P1 Consulting.