Doctoral Honours For Costain Planner

29 November 2011

Costain’s Adrian Mitchell will soon be able to assume the title of Doctor after successfully completing a post graduate doctorate on the construction industry.

Adrian, a Planning Manager, took nine-and-a-half years on a part-time basis to complete his studies through the Faculty of Science and Technology in the Department of the Built Environment at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) in Chelmsford, and recently received confirmation that his examiners have recommended that he be awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. The recommendation is expected to be ratified by the University’s Research Degrees Sub-Committee on 6 December 2011.

Witnessing first-hand how main contractors were taking on greater responsibility in managing certain aspects of the design process from the designers in order to reduce fragmentation, Adrian decided to explore this area in much greater detail.

He examined the relationship between the design and construction processes and how they, and specifically the interface between them, could be better understood.

Adrian’s final report is a doctoral thesis titled: “A conceptual model of the factors that influence the interface between the design and construction processes.”

Adrian started by reviewing existing theoretical models of the design and construction processes and from here produced an initial conceptual model of the interface. This model was then tested against pilot and live case studies on numerous Costain projects to allow Adrian to produce a tried-and-tested final model. Adrian’s model is based on a coherent understanding of the processes, factors and linkages that occur at the interface of design and construction and, while contributing to the industry’s knowledge of the interface, also provides a methodology that Costain can use on design and build projects to improve its service to customers.  

“The design and construction processes are generally viewed in isolation, which is not how they occur. The importance of the interface between these processes has not previously been widely recognised, therefore my research conceptualises the factors that influence it. A better understanding of these processes gives us a platform to improve our operational performance,” said Adrian.

Adrian is now arranging for the various copies of his thesis to appear in the ARU library, the ARU Institutional Repository, the British Library and Costain’s Knowledge Centre. A final ARU awards ceremony will take place in autumn 2012.

Commenting on Adrian’s award, Bill Hewlett, Costain’s Group Technical Director, said: “It’s a fantastic achievement and well deserved for the huge amount of dedication Adrian has given. The work is highly significant to our business and we will be able to improve our customer offering by using Adrian’s findings and his insights into design and build management.”