Establishing Descriptions of Building Work in UK

Henry John Hussey, Niraj Thurairajah, Kanchana Ginige, Jack Goulding

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

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There is continual need to describe building work. Whether programming, estimating, issuing instructions, writing up a journal or other activity, it is difficult to conceive of project situations where such descriptions are not required. It is therefore surprising to find that there is no standard method of describing the physical effort of construction used in the UK. The descriptions in general use in the UK are derived from SMM/ NRM2 (1922-2013) and from quantity surveyors’ methods of working. Despite such descriptions being thought to inform about building work, those nine documents, spanning a century, state that labour and other items are not included, deeming that contractors must allow for them. Coupled with that situation, current tendency toward collaboration between designers and contractors at early stage of design increases the need for a means of communication between the parties which expresses financial consequences of designers’ decisions. This paper, via critical literature review and comparison of editions, exposes misunderstandings surrounding the use of SMM/NRM2, looking at why it is criticised for failing to do that which was never intended, how information which it is expected to provide may be given effectively, and how a system of dealing with that additional information can synchronise with the existing. The method of constructing such a system requires that ‘work’, and the products of that work are defined in a particular manner so that it may be observed and recorded. By document analysis and literature synthesis, the requirements for such definition are examined and suggestions given for further work in the field. It is hoped that development will pave the way for a comprehensive standard method of description of building work that takes all factors of contractors’ construction cost into consideration.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 35th Annual ARCOM Conference, 2-4 September 2019, Leeds, UK.
EditorsChris Gorse, Christopher Neilson
Place of PublicationLeeds
PublisherAssociation of Researchers in Construction Management (ARCOM)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9780995546349
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2019
EventARCOM 2019: 35th Annual Conference – Leeds, UK: Productivity, Performance and Quality Conundrum - Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, United Kingdom
Duration: 2 Sept 20194 Sept 2019
Conference number: 35


ConferenceARCOM 2019: 35th Annual Conference – Leeds, UK
Abbreviated titleARCOM 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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