Unpacking the ambiguity of rework in construction: making sense of the literature

Peter Love*, Jim Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Rework is a pervasive problem that stymies practice in construction. A considerable amount of research has been undertaken to address rework, but there has been limited progress made in reducing its occurrence and adverse consequences. Many such studies have identified singular causal factors and have not acknowledged the interdependency and complex relationships that contribute to rework. To understand the nature of rework causation therefore requires the adoption of systems thinking as it bolsters the ability to understand the structural dynamics of a project’s systems and thus enable managers and decision-makers to identify and avoid its unintended consequences. When an improved understanding of rework causation emerges, then the benefit of digital technologies will be able to be realised in practice. This paper reviews the extant literature and unpacks the ambiguity that surrounds the problem of rework. The paper suggests that by taking a systemic view where patterns of behaviour are observed and the underlying structures that drive rework are identified and understood, the academic community and practitioners will be better positioned to develop robust rework containiment and reduction strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-203
Number of pages24
JournalCivil Engineering and Environmental Systems
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2018


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