Application of the Choosing by Advantages Decision System to Enhance User-Involvement in the Design Process

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Activities at the design stage of the construction project delivery process have been found to significantly impact value generation and delivery. There is, thus, the need to adopt design management practices to enhance the value of construction projects. One dimension of meeting the value requirements of construction projects is the involvement of stakeholders, such as users, in design process. Even though various aspects of stakeholder involvement have been researched, limited knowledge exists on how stakeholders can participate in a process to gain insights into their needs and establish their values. Little is also known of how the involvement of stakeholders can be staged, such that project participants can interact and discuss needs and concerns. This results in the need to explore an innovative strategy, in the form of a userinvolvement framework, to create a space where designers and other stakeholders, such as users, can collaboratively define and generate project value. Since the design process is punctuated by various instances of decisions, such a framework should incorporate a group decision-making process, such as choosing by advantages (CBA). The aim of this research addresses this need by ultimately proposing a user-involvement framework that incorporates the CBA decision system. The objectives of the research, thus, included: to identify the potential in CBA to foster collaboration between designers and users; to identify strategies to incorporate CBA in a user-involvement framework; to design a user-involvement framework incorporating CBA; to evaluate the practicality of the framework; and to reflect the contribution of the framework to theory. In line with the constructive research paradigm, the design of the framework was based on a combination of theoretical and empirical knowledge. Theoretical knowledge originated from reviewing literature on participatory design, lean design, design process management, team process, and the CBA decision system. Empirical knowledge emanated from three exploratory case studies involving the application of CBA by respective design teams to involve users in typical design decisions for some selected projects. The resulting framework, known as CBA-incorporated User-involvement Framework (CBAUF), is made up of six performance episodes linked by reciprocal dependency loops. The performance episodes include, i) compose a team; ii) define project value; iii) identify and anticipate decision-making frames; iv) enforce decisioniv making frames (apply CBA); v) implement decisions (deliver virtual value); and vi) run product (experience virtual value). The workability of CBAUF was demonstrated in an evaluation case study with respect to its completeness, simplicity, elegance, efficiency, operationality and generality. Among others, the research contributes to knowledge by providing: i) an empirical evaluation of the collaborative attributes of the CBA decision system; ii) an analysis of the functioning of the CBA decision system in the context of the wicked problems in participatory design; and iii) An insight into how CBA could be combined with other lean design tools such as Target Value Design (TVD), Set Based Design (SBD), A3 and Building Information Modeling (BIM) to enhance collaboration between designers and users for project value generation. Based on the contributions to knowledge, the discussion on the application of CBA in lean design can be expanded to include exploring the integration of CBAUF with more lean tools such as the Last Planner System (LPS) and Dependency Structure Matrix (DSM) towards waste minimization in design process by improving design process schedule predictability.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Building Technology, College of Art and Built Environment in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, 2016.