Rework causation: Emergent theoretical insights and implications for research

Peter E D Love*, David J. Edwards, Jim Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)


Rework is a chronic problem in construction and engineering projects. A wide variety of studies examining the nature of rework have been undertaken since the seminal research of Burati in the early 1990s, which examined quality deviations. Initial studies focused on identifying the causal factors and costs of rework to quantify the severity of the problem. From these studies, it was recognized that rework causes were interdependent; so techniques such as cognitive mapping (CM) and system dynamics (SD) were subsequently introduced to model the complexity and dynamic of this phenomena. Although such results provided the essential building blocks to better understand and provide the much-needed stimulus for theory development, rework remains a pervasive issue. A number of factors have contributed to the causal ambiguity that presently prevails, which includes the epistemological underpinning used to construct the nature of causes and the subsequent use of tools and techniques that are used for analysis. Evidence of this is presented in recent studies that have failed to acknowledge the interdependency of rework causes as research regressed to identifying those causes of a singular nature. Consequently, such research continues to stymie progress toward reducing and containing rework, and a moratorium on such approaches is suggested. With this in mind, insights into the extant rework literature and causation philosophy are examined and recommendations to improve the understanding necessary to establish a theory for rework causality are proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number04016010
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Management - ASCE
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016


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