A critical evaluation of building defect analysis methods used by surveyors

Lee, Simon (2013) A critical evaluation of building defect analysis methods used by surveyors. MSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    The methods by which surveyors diagnose and analyse building element defects and produce reports for residential property are evolving. Modern technology in the form of tablets operating building survey template applications (apps) are providing surveyors with an alternative approach to traditional residential building survey production.
    This research explores how basic data storage type templates compare with templates that could be designed with built in prompts/cues in the form of flow charts, checklist or diagnostic algorithms, which are viewed before a surveyor can input his diagnosis on a specific building element. An experiment was designed to replicate the two different approaches. The sample group comprised of surveyors who undertake building surveys in the United Kingdom. Control group A had to answer questions relating to photographs of a defective building element as they normally would when conducting a survey i.e. by using their skill, judgment and experience together with any reference material they wished to use. Experimental group B had exactly the same test but were given the use of a flow chart to assist with their diagnosis, which had to be viewed due to the design of the survey. The surveys were distributed via a web based survey company using a random assignment 50:50 split. The research hypothesis was that experimental group B would have an improved performance over control group A in the function of correctly diagnosing the defective building element and the remedial advice offered. The results of the research suggested that there was an increase in performance of group B over group A and that this increase was statistically significant therefore, the hypothesis was accepted.
    By breaking down the two main groups (A and B) into sub-groups based on surveyor competence (ascertained by factors such as, experience, area of expertise and training) the author was able to conclude that surveyors of lesser knowledge and experience benefit more from visual prompts/cues than those with a higher degree of knowledge and experience. The data also suggests that most of the surveyors who had the use of the flow chart did not consciously register its use.
    Although not the main aim of this research, the design of the survey questionnaire and the data collected, allowed the author to also conclude that improved diagnostic performance increases with competence. The data also suggests that surveyor variability remains a factor at all levels of surveying competence.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Technology > School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
    Depositing User: Beth Atkins
    Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2014 09:10
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 12:39
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/15182

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