Analysis of the complex mechanisms of defect generation in construction projects

Hamad Aljassmi, Sangwon Han, Steve Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


There have been numerous research efforts to minimize construction defects and a variety of suggestions have been provided. However, while all of these suggestions are valuable and have the potential to prevent defects, a construction company may have difficulty adopting them due to financial and practical constraints. Thus, this calls for the identification and characterization of the most influential causes of defects, in order to prioritize defect prevention strategies. To address this necessity, this paper aims to identify the most important causes of defects in terms of frequency, magnitude, and pathogenicity. For this goal, a questionnaire survey of 106 industry professionals was conducted to examine 30 causes of defects, collected through an extensive literature review. High frequency and high magnitude causes were identified and traced back to their initiating causes. Accordingly, the five most pathogenic causes were found to be (1) organizational culture, (2) time pressure and constraints, (3) workplace quality system, (4) financial constraints on operational expenses, and (5) inadequate employee training or learning opportunities. This paper is valuable to researchers in terms of developing a theoretical foundation to analyze and visualize the complex mechanisms of defect generation in construction. Further, this paper is of value to practitioners in terms of providing an effective tool to set defect prevention strategies and prioritize investment areas for quality improvements.

Original languageEnglish
Article number04015063
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Management - ASCE
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2016


  • Defect
  • Failure
  • Project pathogens network
  • Project planning and design
  • Quality
  • Risk
  • Social network analysis


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