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Collaboration in Design and Construction Teams: Exploring the factors that may influence the adoption of Integrated Project Insurance (IPI) and its potential to improve collaboration among project participants

School of the Built Environment

Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Effective collaboration among design and construction teams is an ongoing challenge in modern building construction due primarily to the increasingly complex and highly-specialised range of inputs required from architects, engineers, specialist manufacturers and installers. A new approach to project insurance (Integrated Project Insurance – IPI) has the potential to encourage a more collaborative approach among team members. This PhD research project will explore the factors that may influence the adoption of IPI and its potential to improve collaboration among project participants.
Current insurance arrangements within UK design and construction teams – whereby each member is individually liable for their own negligence and error, and insures accordingly – can promote risk avoidance behaviour among them. This does not directly support team working, problem sharing and the joint pursuit of project goals that are believed to be essential to effective collaborative working on construction projects (Cabinet Office 2012). The IPI approach provides single insurance cover for the construction project team as a whole and covers all their liabilities. By bringing team members together into a virtual organisation the aim is to provide a structure within which they can work more effectively together and help unlock their collective creative and problem-solving potential.
An action research project, following Kemmis and McTaggart (2000) and undertaken by the University of Reading School of Construction Management and Engineering, has involved the development and first use of IPI on a live construction project. That project is coming to an end and there is an opportunity to work with key members of the research team to follow up this initial trial and to investigate how IPI could be implemented on other projects. This will involve:
1) Developing an understanding of the impact of IPI in different project contexts
2) Exploring the potential effectiveness of particular elements of the IPI approach (IPI does not only involve project insurance, but a range of facilitated interventions in normal team working also) to understand their impact on collaborative working
3) Using the findings to develop and, if appropriate, evaluate changes to the IPI approach.

Funding Notes

Candidates should have a first or upper second class honours degree in a relevant social science, management or construction subject, and should be interested in improving teamwork and collaboration on construction projects.


Cabinet Office (2012) Government construction strategy: trial projects. London, UK, available at
Kemmis, S. and McTaggart, R. (2000) "Participatory action research", in N.K. Denzin and Y.S. Lincoln (eds) Handbook of Qualitative Research (2nd ed.). Sage, CA, pp.567–605.

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