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The aims for this module are to develop your ability to interact with other professionals collaboratively and to encourage you to reflect on your development as a professional.

There are a variety of disciplines involved in this module, with a similar variety of knowledge gained already. By enabling group collaboration and encouraging you to reflect on your learning, we are able to provide a form of assessment which meets a variety of needs. Assessment for this module is unique and probably unlike assessment you have encountered in other modules.

The learning outcomes are:

  1. Understand the concept of professionalism and the duties of built environment professionals to client, building users, contractors, co-professional and the wider
  2. Understand the role of the main professionals involved in the development process and the nature of collaborative work in a multi-disciplinary team and critically reflect on the impact of building projects on clients, users and the wider community, taking in account both positive and negative consequences of development including environmental impact.
  3. Understand the legal, professional and statutory responsibilities of the built environment professionals and the organisations, regulations and procedures involved in the negotiation and approval of design, including land law, development control, building regulations and health and safety
  4. Interpret the needs and aspirations of clients and through collaborative working, identify and evaluate a range of alternatives in responding to the brief and considering the appropriate development
  5. Understand collaborative practice within the industry, it’s enablers and barriers and the role of effective team working on collaborative

Following on from what you were asked to consider, you should be able to offer critical commentary on your understanding of key aspects covered in the module and to provide a critical reflection on the collaborative working of the group workshops. Where relevant, you should provide supporting evidence and appropriate academic referencing to justify any claims you make.

Below is a list of topics which might be covered:

  • Involvement of differentdisciplines
  • Identification of a projecthierarchy
  • Key interactions of different disciplines and theirnature
  • Reflection on your group work and the case study your group hasselected
  • Your discipline and role(s), responsibilities, tasks, andoutputs
  • The disciplines of your other team members and their role(s), responsibilities, tasks, and outputs
  • Other key disciplines and theirinvolvement
  • Key stakeholders
  • Contractual aspects and projecthierarchies
  • Barriers and enablingfactors
Learning outcomes

Throughout the course of this semester, I have really appreciated the knowledge and skills I have gained from the collaborative practice module. This report provides an overview reflection of the various topic and concepts that I have covered as part of the course. I will give some of the insights of the various lessons that I have learned through working with another group members. The groups consisted of students doing the same discipline as me as well as other from other disciplines but from the same industry.  I will provide my own analyses module topics such as involvement of different disciplines, barriers, and enablers of collaborative practice, key stakeholders in the building industry and use evidence from other researchers to support my arguments throughout the report.

In recent years the building industry has undergone several transformations towards a new era of collaborations to eliminate the dissatisfactions associated with the traditional delivery of construction projects. Traditional project delivery was characterized by a bid-build and design-build which is criticized as creating a disconnection between different parties in the construction process (Larsen & Whyte, 2013 p, 657). This disconnection hinders sharing of knowledge among the technical consultants and contractors hindering them from having decisions on design.

Considering that the building industry is amongst the largest contributor to the current world economies, it is important to come up with better process to improve efficiency. Bringing the project parties such the client, building users, contractors, co-professional and the wider society requires knowledge of collaborative practice which am currently undertaking. The skills in the collaborative practices brief provide the students with the latest knowledge and skills to fit in the building industry. Students who have such knowledge have a competitive edge in the current work job market. The framework of collaborative practice does not only apply in the building industry, but it is also being used other professional fields that required daily integration of different disciplines.

Involvement of Different Disciplines

The collaborative practice has borrowed a lot of concepts and integrated knowledge from various disciplines. The professional collaborative practice has been renowned to include decision making, communication, cooperation, assertiveness, and accountability. This partnership develops inter-professional teams who are able to work with clients in delivering the desired project outcomes. Involvement of the various disciplines creates a foundation for a professional culture that appreciates the sharing of different skills as well as knowledge to improve service delivery.

The effectiveness of group members forming a team requires that the individual to recognize their roles, exhibit autonomy impartial resource sharing and have open communication. It is worth noting that the involvement of different disciplines in a disoriented manner can hurt the quality of service delivery. Therefore, the skills and knowledge gained through multidisciplinary learning are important for high-quality service delivery in the building industry.

Reflected learning

Inter-disciplinary education can be described as the education system that brings together students or member from two or more disciplines for them to learn from, to or with each other. It helps in the sharing of knowledge and skills between different professionals and promotes appreciation, sharing of traditions and resecting of other professionals in the construction process. During the interaction of different disciplines, the students are urged to focus on a collaborative approach to the industry. Emphasis is put on quality improvement, team interaction, service learning, and evidence-based learning (Emuze, 2009).  

Inter-disciplinary learning has been rewarding and well perceived by the student and the wider community. Researchers have cited that numerous student surveys and focused group discussion and awards from the world community represent success (Larsen & Whyte 2013). The nature key interaction of different disciplines in the construction sector ensures that students practice, experience and also share the learned skills with each other. Professionals, co-professional and mentors also, need to feel confident with their integrations with students.

The module on collaborative practice has also imparted us with the different aspects of contracting and its significance in the construction works. For a successful collaboration, is salient that a contractual relationship is established early.  Early contractual involvement involves two different phases. In the first phase, the contractor pairs with the consultant team with an aim of estimating the price of the whole project (Larsen & Whyte, 2013 p, 657).  These study steps include; feasibility study, concepts development, and pre-engineering. The second phase entails the awarding of the contract to the contract based on the end results of the first phase. The second phase is referred to as project execution and it involves detailed engineering, construction, and delivery.  Figure 1 represents the different aspects and phases of the contractual relationship in a contraction project.

 

Figure 1

The contractual part of the project brings together a set of principles which the frame-work the collaboration. This is why the contractual terms and conditions may vary with respect to the incentive structure, the terms of payment as well as the existence of further procurement in the second phase of the project. Usually, a client to the project has the authority to include a clause to continue or discontinue the contract. This hence gives the two parties a chance to exit the collaboration before the initiation of phase two of the project. A study by Larsen & Whyte (2013 p, 657) however, suggest that using one contractor on both stages of the project is more beneficial. In case the same contractor is used in both phases, the client should make use of contractual target so as to create a stronger relationship in the early contractual involvement.

Collaboration in the building industry

A collaborative approach to a construction project involves set parties which end creating some difficulties for the project. A successful collaboration however strictly follows a set of principles which are commonly known as enabling factors. Collaboration in the construction project calls for a holistic change in the altitudes, process, and structures (Emuze, 2009; Nilsson,  2015 p 370) Opportunistic behavior should not be encouraged in a project but rather project arrangements, strong contract terms, and strong mindset should be stimulated.

Suitable contractual terms denote driving force and the framework for the project. The basis of the contracts should be initiated during the early phases of the collaboration. The contract should clearly state the party that is in charge of the project (Benedict, 2017 p, 34). The contract terms should also define the authorities of the individuals, the people who are involved in the decision making as well as those responsible for organizing meetings on behalf of the whole team. According to (Walker and Lloyd, 2012; (Larsen & Whyte, 2013 p, 657) both pain and gain sharing between the project parties depend on the collaboration form chosen.

Constructability and construction knowledge is another factor that determines the success or failure of any collaboration process. Constructability is defined as the defined pathway of meeting achieving the goals of the project by utilization of the procurement, planning and engineering experiences. (Grilo, 2010 p, 522). The relationship between the project designer and the constructor usually determines the extent of the constructability. The traditional design-bid-build process of projects contributed to most designers struggling to understand the project design process. A recent study shows that collaboration between the project designer and the contractor in the designing stage, coupled with shared objectives, has high chances of improving the success of the project (Grilo, 2010; Forgues & Koskela, 2009).

Other contributing factors to the performance of collaboration are leadership, culture, and communication.  Strong leadership amongst the parties requires a combination of the set of skills. Such a leadership should practice fairness and equal resource sharing at all times and set a clear vision for the project team to achieve the desired end results (Khahana & Krishnwa, 2010 p 115). A good management for the project ensures that the parties are working towards the same objectives as well as give the individuals enough time to familiarize and form mutual objectives prior to the start of work. In the context of collaborative practice, strong leadership also involves the creation of a learning culture, showing public commitment and supporting all team members of the collaboration (Hickethier, 2015; Crosby and Bryson, 2010 p, 225).

Multidisciplinary learning

Developing clear communication culture help in the creation of mutual respect, trust, avoid misunderstanding within the project team. Strong communication forms the foundation for better decision making in the collaboration. The strong communication can further be enhanced by the use of modern information and communication tools which promote an exchange of information between parties in real times. This is especially important to remove the geographical barriers created by parties in different locations (Roberts et al, 2012 p.625) Common objectives and purpose should create a strong foundation for the development of activities and governance through a unified strength (Kohlborn, et al 2009 p 50;) This may include the taking advantage of a strength based approach to identify the unique contributions of different parties or the use of a common language and appreciation of the salient concepts and determine how activities will be undertaken.

A common barrier to any collaboration is the one created owing to the short-term nature of some building jobs as well as the changing of the project members in the different phases of the project process (Crosby and Bryson, 2010 p, 225; Walker and Lloyd, 2012). Altitudes and individuals mindset of the project team members greatly influences project delivery.  Research shows that the professionals in the building industry regard themselves as part of other disciplines, instead of members of the construction team sharing a unified goal (Patel et al 2012 p, 20). The success of the project depends on the adoption of a strong and positive mindset by all individuals on the team. This demands a dramatic change in the way the individuals perceive their inputs in the whole project process.

Conclusion

In an out shell, I have gained a lot from this module. I would have loved to have been added more time and opportunities within the college to apply and widen my knowledge even further. The construction industry is actively changing and new practices are being adopted to deliver milestone projects. The skills in the collaborative practices brief provide the students with the latest knowledge and skills to fit in the building industry. Students who have such knowledge have a competitive edge in the current work job market. The framework of collaborative practice does not only apply in the building industry, but it is also being used other professional fields that required daily integration of different disciplines.

The world is realizing that collaboration is not just working together but working well others outside the traditional confines of the design-bid-build process. The concepts and principles gain in the module have given me more confidence to think about areas as well as issues that I would have never known if I had not taken this unit. Having worked with different students from different disciplines has enabled to appreciate and respect the role of other professionals. The lesson I have learned about teamwork and collaboration will extend to all parts of my profession. Regarding that fact, we have known each other in the group and I believe another chance, I would choose to work with the same team again.

Contractual relationships

The construction industry has a very wide variety of steps and processes. The colleges and universities that have incorporated modules for this purpose should come up with standards for collaboration in the curriculum.

More programs in modern construction engineering management should be offered in the university to help the students drive acumens related to the future of the engineering in the building business.

The consultancy firms involved in the building sector should deploy enough resources and work full time when it comes to collaborative projects. This will eliminate the issue of engaging in multiple contractors for smaller parts of the projects. Preferably this can also be regulated through clear contract conditions and terms.

The collaborating team members need to the tackle the projects they undertake from a perspective of human resource. They also need to set strong and strategic relations with professional contractors to cater for the ever changing construction industry.

References

Benedict, A., 2017. Supply Chain Management (SCM): The Extent of its Application and Features in the Successful Delivery of Construction Projects. International Journal of Sustainable Construction Engineering and Technology, 8(1), pp.34-59.

Crosby, B.C. and Bryson, J.M., 2010. Integrative leadership and the creation and maintenance of cross-sector collaborations. The Leadership Quarterly, 21(2), pp.211-230.

Emuze, F.A., 2009. The impact of construction supply chain management on value on projects. A master’s degree thesis submitted at school of Built environment, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Forgues, D. and Koskela, L., 2009. The influence of a collaborative procurement approach using integrated design in construction on project team performance. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 2(3), pp.370-385.

Grilo, A. and Jardim-Goncalves, R., 2010. Value proposition on interoperability of BIM and collaborative working environments. Automation in construction, 19(5), pp.522-530.

Hickethier, G., 2015. Communication Structures in the Design Phase of Lean Project Delivery.

Kohlborn, T., Korthaus, A., Chan, T. and Rosemann, M., 2009. Identification and analysis of business and software services—a consolidated approach. IEEE Transactions on Services Computing, 2(1), pp.50-64.

Larsen, G.D. and Whyte, J., 2013. Safe construction through design: perspectives from the site team. Construction management and economics, 31(6), pp.675-690.

Nilsson, W., 2015. Positive institutional work: Exploring institutional work through the lens of positive organizational scholarship. Academy of Management Review, 40(3), pp.370-398.

Patel, H., Pettitt, M. and Wilson, J.R., 2012. Factors of collaborative working: A framework for a collaboration model. Applied ergonomics, 43(1), pp.1-26.

Roberts, N., Galluch, P.S., Dinger, M. and Grover, V., 2012. Absorptive capacity and information systems research: Review, synthesis, and directions for future research. MIS quarterly, pp.625-648.

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