A comparison of techniques for identifying risks in sustainability assessment of housing

D. R. Forbes, S. D. Smith, R. M. W. Horner

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingOther chapter contribution

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Identification is the first stage in the risk management cycle - risks must be identified before they can be assessed and controlled. The literature outlines a range of available techniques for this stage, of which 16 have been applied to construction management problems. This paper investigates the applicability of two of these techniques for identifying the risks in the sustainability assessment of housing. The risk breakdown structure (RBS) and a brainstorming approach were tested in a workshop comprising twelve construction professionals and academics. The RBS method produced 39 risks which were general in character, while the brainstorming process suggested 82 risks which were more specific in nature. However, brainstorming also identified a set of risks which could not be categorised by any of those in the risk breakdown structure. These included risks relating to personal belief and understanding, which suggests that the rigid nature of the RBS has the potential to limit creativity in identifying risks. Whilst this research found that both techniques were appropriate to different extents for identifying risks in sustainability assessment, it was shown that there are fundamental differences in the level of detail and boundaries. This, therefore, questions the applicability of both to the same problem, and demonstrates that care must be taken when selecting an appropriate risk management technique. Further the final set of risks produced from this research has shown the synergy of a hybrid approach
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationARCOM 2008
    Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 24th Annual Conference of the Association of Researchers in Construction Management
    EditorsA. R. J. Dainty
    Place of PublicationReading
    PublisherAssociation of Researchers in Construction Management
    Number of pages10
    ISBN (Print)978-0-9552390-1-4
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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