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Brukarnas krav i byggprocessen: en fallstudie
Avdelningen för byggnadsekonomi, Lunds Tekniska Högskola, Lund Universitet.
2005 (Swedish)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In 1996, the artillery regiment, A4, in Östersund was disbanded. Their former premises underwent remodelling to serve as the new campus for the Mid Sweden University. The express intention was that the new occupiers would be allowed to take part in the planning process. During 1997 the company Vasallen became the owner of the premises, by direction of the Ministry of Finance. Vasallen was charged with the management of former military premises and increasing their value with the aim of selling the property.

Thanks to their well-defined mission and good financial resources, Vasallen became a new actor on the property market. In the same year, a number of architectural firms were invited to take part in a competition. At the beginning of 1998, SWECO FFNS was chosen as the winner, and the planning process started immediately. The new campus was inaugurated on September 6, 2002 with the Swedish Prime Minister, Göran Persson, in attendance.

The aim of this study was to monitor how well the demands of the new occupiers regarding quality and environment were met, and how these demands were managed during the construction process. My ambition was to study the process as a case study in order to better understand and reflect on what actually happens in the communication between partners. The material on which the study is based was gathered by participation in planning meetings and by following the construction process. The Campus Östersund project was unique in many ways. In the first place, the existing buildings form a sound basis as they were intentionally designed with the needs and well-being of the individual in mind. Many qualities were thus already incorporated into the buildings on the site.

The strict regulations imposed by the fact that these were classed as historical buildings set certain limitations, while at the same time posing a challenge to be overcome. The stark contrast between a military regiment and the activities of a modern university placed high demands on those involved in the project. The user’s wishes and demands, working environment factors, structural issues and demands on comfort always have a tendency to take second place after financial factors. In this case, however, the owner’s and user’s joint ambition led to the reconsideration of priorities concerning, for example, the working environment. Finally, the project was unique as a fully comprehensive view of the process and final product was adopted by the two main partners. This includes, for example, observing environmental assets throughout the whole project.

In 1996, the artillery regiment, A4, in Östersund was disbanded. Their former premises underwent remodelling to serve as the new campus for the Mid Sweden University. The express intention was that the new occupiers would be allowed to take part in the planning process. During 1997 the company Vasallen became the owner of the premises, by direction of the Ministry of Finance. Vasallen was charged with the management of former military premises and increasing their value with the aim of selling the property.

Thanks to their well-defined mission and good financial resources, Vasallen became a new actor on the property market. In the same year, a number of architectural firms were invited to take part in a competition. At the beginning of 1998, SWECO FFNS was chosen as the winner, and the planning process started immediately. The new campus was inaugurated on September 6, 2002 with the Swedish Prime Minister, Göran Persson, in attendance.

The aim of this study was to monitor how well the demands of the new occupiers regarding quality and environment were met, and how these demands were managed during the construction process. My ambition was to study the process as a case study in order to better understand and reflect on what actually happens in the communication between partners. The material on which the study is based was gathered by participation in planning meetings and by following the construction process. The Campus Östersund project was unique in many ways. In the first place, the existing buildings form a sound basis as they were intentionally designed with the needs and well-being of the individual in mind. Many qualities were thus already incorporated into the buildings on the site.

The strict regulations imposed by the fact that these were classed as historical buildings set certain limitations, while at the same time posing a challenge to be overcome. The stark contrast between a military regiment and the activities of a modern university placed high demands on those involved in the project. The user’s wishes and demands, working environment factors, structural issues and demands on comfort always have a tendency to take second place after financial factors. In this case, however, the owner’s and user’s joint ambition led to the reconsideration of priorities concerning, for example, the working environment. Finally, the project was unique as a fully comprehensive view of the process and final product was adopted by the two main partners. This includes, for example, observing environmental assets throughout the whole project.

Brukarmedverkan i byggprocessen –en fallstudie 12

Building the “right product” is an important argument for including the end user in the project. By initiating a planning process in which the user’s demands and wishes are considered, one not only initiates the actual building process, but also a process in the client’s organisation. The capacity to participate in such a process within the organisation is, however, not always good. Clarity and respect for the processes initiated were not always particularly pronounced in this case. Lack of clarity sometimes led to confusion, which in turn led to complications in communication and thus delay in the project. The internal process in an organisation should, if possible, progress simultaneously with, and be firmly established before, meetings with the consultants. Theoretical studies have confirmed the importance of utilizing the process of change in internal organisational development in order to achieve a positive attitude among employees.

Participation of the end user in a large organisation is often based on representatives in working parties. These representatives should be motivated, be given the time required within the framework of their job, and have the confidence of their colleagues. The opportunity to influence decisions is great in the initial stages. The user should have knowledge concerning the various phases of construction, the financial and legal framework, and the rules and regulations governing the project. Being able to participate in creating one’s own working environment elicits various degrees of commitment and levels of expectation in the user organisation. Both the occupants and the consultants should have the capacity for this kind of development, especially the latter as they constitute the “front line”. The user should understand the relation between desires and possible financial effects. The price tag for alternative demands/wishes and the effects these will have on the final rent should be clearly visible. It is an advantage if this is made clear very early on in the project. The dialogue between the parties should thus be supplemented by the architect explaining to the new occupiers where limitations and opportunities lie in the project. The parties involved must have a certain degree of pedagogical competence in order to explain and manage the project to everyone’s satisfaction. A good environment is seldom described in terms of formulated concepts outside the architectural community. Projects in which the end user is involved thus provide a unique opportunity to start building up a bank of knowledge including expressions used by non-experts to describe concepts of space. Difficulties are encountered when all these views are to be accepted and implemented in the building process through descriptions and drawings. Words are replaced by numbers, and more and more actors are involved, for example, engineering consultants. We simply do not have all the necessary tools with which to express wishes concerning the physical environment. We can, however, bridge the communication gap between users and consultants by using computer-aided information systems. The ideas expressed by the user can be transformed into three-dimensional video sequences, and thus be confirmed as being, “just what we meant”.

It was apparent quite early on in this research that the technical terms available were not adequate to describe the events of this case. The end user’s feeling of not being able to keep up with the consultants’ technical concepts may lead them to feel that they are at a disadvantage, which certainly will not benefit the process. Here, the role of the architect as a pedagogue is important in leading the various participants into the planning process. One of the actors should perhaps have some kind of skills in behavioural science and Brukarmedverkan i byggprocessen –en fallstudie education. Perhaps changes should be made in the training of architects and other consultants.

Respect for the common process is perhaps the most important factor for its success, together with clarity and openness. These are terms not traditionally used in construction projects. The interpretation of the customer’s wishes, explaining the opportunities and limitations of the building, and planning for future expansion are the responsibility of the architect. Does a single actor have a reasonable chance of coping with this in a large-scale project? All the participants should gain broad insight into each other’s jobs and roles early on in the project. Respect for the responsibilities and roles of others can be built up by concentrated efforts to exchange knowledge through dialogue early in the process. The incentive for participating varies from one actor to another. Theoretical studies, for example, give clear advice that each actor’s interests in the project be clarified. Trust is one of the most important mainstays in establishing good communication. Feelings of suspicion and unreliability can be disastrous in this kind of project. The development of legal issues and forms concerning contractors and their work is also desirable in order to aid the process.

When the owner sees the opportunity to take an active part in the management of the premises, this leads to a continuous dialogue and process during and after the planning and construction phases. These studies have given me a greater respect for processes involving the end user, from planning to management. One of my most important personal  reflections, and a partly new realisation, is that the involvement of the user in the process has such a large influence on the building project. Communication and continuous information are essential in projects in which the user is involved.

Communication can also be made easier if the parties regard each other as fellow partners and not opposing partners. The period spent in education and training is the most important in laying the foundation for these attitudes among professionals. A great deal of responsibility thus lies with teachers to ensure that end users have increased opportunity to participate in and influence the building process. There is no short cut to customer-focused working methods.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lund: Avdelningen för byggnadsekonomi, Institutionen för byggvetenskaper, Lunds tekniska högskola, Lunds universitet , 2005. , p. 130
Series
Construction management, ISSN 1651-0380
Keywords [en]
Building process, Planning process, Project management, User involvement, User´s reqiruements, Participatory design
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-699Local ID: 2082/1047ISBN: 91-85257-03-6 OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-699DiVA, id: diva2:237917
Presentation
(English)
Available from: 2007-05-30 Created: 2007-05-30 Last updated: 2018-03-23Bibliographically approved

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