Engaging UK repair–maintain–improve practitioners in improved building performance

Murtagh, N., Owen, A.M. and Simpson, K. ORCID: 0000-0002-9105-8181, 2023. Engaging UK repair–maintain–improve practitioners in improved building performance. International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation, 41 (1), pp. 11-24. ISSN 2398-4716

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Purpose: To improve building performance and meet statutory carbon reduction targets, a radical transformation of existing UK building stock is needed. Much previous research on building performance has focussed on large-scale construction. However, retrofit of existing housing stock – which will contribute the majority of the requisite efficiency improvement – is carried out by practitioners in the repair–maintain–improve (RMI) subsector. These practitioners are the sole traders and micro-firms who constitute two-fifths of employment in the construction sector. The study aims to examine the factors influencing these practitioners in RMI work to understand how better to engage them with improved building performance.

Design/methodology/approach: A total of 31 semi-structured interviews were conducted with RMI professionals from around the UK and analysed using template analysis.

Findings: The analysis identified capabilities of the practitioners who influence building performance, including knowledge and co-ordination of people and resources; opportunities including state action and customer demand; and motivations including pride in work, customer care and satisfaction, maintaining a viable business and working relationships.

Research limitations/implications: The participants were a small, mixed group in terms of firm size and specialisation. The qualitative approach adopted provided detailed insights but does not make claims for statistical generalisability or representativeness of the findings. Future work could look to extend the findings with a statistically representative survey.

Practical implications: For a successful transition to high standards of building performance, modelling is not enough. Initiatives are needed to address the multiple factors which determine engagement in energy-efficient retrofit: capacities, opportunities and motivations. The desire of RMI practitioners to meet customer expectations could be used to develop pragmatic building performance evaluation, guided by householder satisfaction criteria.

Originality/value: The study examined the attitudes and experiences of an under-researched sector who are essential to the delivery of improved building performance. This study makes a novel contribution by applying an established psychological model of behaviour change, the capability, opportunity, motivation – behaviour model, for the first time in this domain.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation
Creators: Murtagh, N., Owen, A.M. and Simpson, K.
Publisher: Emerald
Date: 8 March 2023
Volume: 41
Number: 1
ISSN: 2398-4716
Divisions: Schools > School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment
Record created by: Jeremy Silvester
Date Added: 10 Jan 2024 09:43
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2024 09:43
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/50642

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