Building modern homes

Sexton, Martin (2018). Building modern homes. [Data Collection]. Colchester, Essex: UK Data Archive. 10.5255/UKDA-SN-853109

The research explores the significant challenge that the uptake of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) poses for UK house builders. Focusing on the development of new products and processes at the project level and their diffusion across a large multi-regional firm we asked: How can construction firms take advantage of project-level innovations? How do these innovations travel across large, complex firms? And how do standards shape innovations and how do innovations feed into ongoing changes in standards? While many scholars highlight the challenges of cross-project learning and the diffusion of innovations, little empirical or theoretical work has been done on the 'anchoring of innovations' at the firm-level. Similarly, little work has been done on the travel of innovations across projects within a large, multi-regional firm. As a number of observers have noted, the sector knows how to build with MMCs; what it does not know how to do is to incorporate that know-how into standard practice. The research questions are informed by the application of actor-network theory and neo-institutionalism to the study of key technical innovations. These include: (1) to identify and explain the development of a number of key product and process innovations; (2) to examine the impact of those innovations on firm-level practices (including supply chains, procurement, internal management systems, business models, policies and strategies); (3) to follow the introduction of those innovations into other housing projects and to document similarities and differences in project-level accommodation to those elements; (4) to use this analysis to theorise processes of innovation, diffusion and stabilisation/institutionalisation (in firm-level strategies, systems and practices) within large, project-based firms; and, (5) to contrast the findings produced by the deployment of neo-institutionalism and actor-network theory. The research will draw upon the analysis of documents, relevant artefacts, in-depth interviews and observations.

Data description (abstract)

This contains transcripts of interviews with construction professionals involved in the support and diffusion of MMCs and of meetings. This includes transcripts of meetings between project managers, architects, structural engineers and supply chain partners about the support and diffusion of innovations.

Creator NameEmailAffiliationORCID (as URL)
Sexton, of ReadingUnspecified
Research funders: Economic and Social Research Council
Grant reference: ES/M000249/1
Topic classification: Housing and land use
Science and technology
Keywords: innovation, construction industry, housing construction
Project title: Building modern homes: understanding project-firm innovation in UK house building
Grant holders: Martin Sexton, Andrew Dainty, Daniel Sage, Libby Schweber
Project dates:
1 June 201530 November 2017
Date published: 04 Jul 2018 16:00
Last modified: 04 Jul 2018 16:00

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Building Modern Homes
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