The UK Construction Industry has traditionally, earned a reputation as a costly,
inefficient and confrontational business. In the late 1970's the British Research
Establishment highlighted the need for change within the industry. They were
followed by amongst others, NEDO in 1988 and then in 1989 by the University of
Reading, who recognised the need for change and identified four key areas in
which the industry needed to improve, namely: structure; image;
education/training and R & D. The message was that to survive and prosper, the
industry must change its management and practice.
This research has concentrated on the way that concepts of Total Quality have
been introduced within three different companies and industries. The Miller Group
primarily known as a Civil Engineering/Construction company; British Telecom
selling a service of telecommunications to businesses and the general public; and
GKN Sinter Metals providing a service of power metallurgy in the manufacturing
sector. This study has determined where there are common objectives and
benefits; with the view to recommending the best practice for industries especially
to the construction sector where Quality Management and more particularly Total
Quality Management does not form a coherent part of their long·term strategy. The research also assessed and investigated the framework used by each of the
companies in their understanding and implementation of Total Quality
Management (TQM); the employee attitude and commitment by Senior
Management; and the culture change that precipitated the introduction of TQM.
The aim of this research was to highlight strengths, weaknesses and similarities
between the companies and hence their industries, which is used as the basis for
providing a check list of solutions and actions which organisations can consider
implementing and building upon in the future.
Lessons that were learnt from undertaking the research was that the construction
sector still has limited input from their clients; there is no defined sector scheme
and there is little or no understanding of the principles of Quality Management and
Total Quality Management.
A Master's Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Philosophy of Loughborough University.