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When Social Science Met Construction

03 March 2016 | Updated 01 January 1970

A recent two-day international workshop at Huddersfield University has examined how ‘users’ needs’ and the ‘human factor’ form the essential balance to BIM and Lean Construction.

The workshop at the University of Huddersfield was deemed ‘a highly successful two-day event’ that attracted experts from 10 countries and was the fourth in an annual sequence – previous editions were held in Salford, Helsinki and Liverpool – and it had the highest attendance so far.

The technology and techniques termed Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Lean Construction are well known but the thrust of the workshop was that it was important to recognise the human factor by allowing social scientists to make a contribution to the design and management of projects. 

Entitled When Social Science Meets Lean and BIM, the event included 30 presentations from academic experts and construction industry professionals, including overseas visitors from countries that included Israel, Brazil, Finland, Italy, the USA and Norway.

There were keynote addresses from Professor James Barlow, of Imperial College Business School, on global health challenges, the built environment and disruptive innovation, plus Professor Arto Kiviniemi, of the School of Architecture at the University of Liverpool, who spoke on the built environment and our digital future.

Other important themes at the workshop were the need for collaboration between stakeholders and for more integrated ways of working.  Environmental issues such as the reduction of waste were also addressed.

For the first time, in response to demand, abstracts of the presentations at the workshop have been collected and published and are available online, edited by Professor Tzortzopoulos and Dr Yufan Zhang, who is a Senior Research Fellow at the Innovative Design Lab.

The next event will be held in Denmark in 2017 with a heavy emphasis on discussion and collaboration between people from wide range of disciplines.

“It is all about products that are more suited to the users’ needs, which are more environmentally friendly and more sustainable,” said Patricia Tzortzopoulos, Professor of Integrated Design and Head of Department of Architecture and 3D Design at the University’s School of Art, Design and Architecture. She is also director of the University of Huddersfield’s Innovative Design Lab (IDL) which carries out research that aims to ‘cut across’ the fields of architectural design, construction management, interior design, new product development, engineering, social sciences and healthcare.

Picture: Don’t forget the social scientists in the built environment was a theme of a recent workshop organised at Huddersfield University

Article written by Cathryn Ellis | Published 03 March 2016


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