Barriers to Implementation (Archived)

RT-042 Topic Summary
RT 042


This Topic has been superseded by RT-166

Research Team 166 supersedes the prior research conducted by Research Team 42. However, RT-042 provides a good primer on the subject of barriers to implementation.

The objective of Research Team 42 was to identify and study the impact of barriers to implementation of CII principles and products.

Three key factors are essential to successful implementation of CII concepts:

  1. Knowledge of the concepts
  2. A plan for implementation
  3. A process for implementation 

One of the first barriers encountered by the research team was the lack of a clear definition and listing of CII principles other than those dealing with the objectives and key pursuits of the CII organization. Therefore, the research team reviewed all available CII publications and established the list of 13 CII Concepts, which include:

  • Constructability
  • Continuous Improvement
  • Contract Relationships and Equitable Risk Sharing
  • Design Effectiveness
  • Education and Training
  • Materials Management
  • Partnering/Team Building
  • Project Control
  • Project Organization and Management
  • Quality Performance
  • Management and Measurement
  • Safety
  • Scope Definition and Control
  • Technology Exploitation

The research team produced a CII Implementation Resource (42-2) as a means of improving the level of understanding and implementation of CII concepts. This publication provides a practical reference and useful tool for assessing and improving implementation of CII concepts on construction projects. It is intended for hands-on use by project and construction individuals, as well as management and continuous improvement steering committees. It also serves as an excellent training and education aid for professionals in the implementation of CII concepts. The utilization and features of the publication include: Education and Training, Reference Index (in matrix form), and Improvement Opportunities. 


Key Findings and Implementation Tools

1 : Implementation Is Not Comprehensive

Implementation varies by concept and by project. However, implementation in general is not comprehensive in addressing all published recommendations. It is apparent upon analysis that some concepts are not integrated into plans and procedures, and implementation is not consistent with the recommended practices. (RS42-1, p. 13) 

Figure 2 shows the results of scoring the project responses as the level of implementation of the concepts. Of interest is the relative ranking of the concepts and the drop off of implementation levels for many of the concepts. The area above the graph indicates the margin for improvement opportunities for each of the concepts.

Reference: (RS42-1)

2 : Characteristics of High versus Low Scored Project

The level of implementation of the concepts for the five projects with the highest overall scores as well as the five projects with the lowest overall scores are shown in Figure 3. This provides insight into the Concepts which are more fully implemented for high scoring projects. (RS42-1, p. 14)
Reference: (RS42-1)

3 : Characteristics of Barriers to Implementation

The barriers to implementation encountered at the project level were common to practically all concepts. A few barriers were found to be concept-specific. To a large degree, the responses indicated an environment of doing the same old thing under increased pressures with “no time to sharpen the saw.” (RS42-1, p. 16) 

Barriers to implementation found in industry projects:

  • General lack of commitment to the concepts
  • Relatively low familiarity of concepts at the project level
  • CII materials not being read and utilized at the project level
  • Limited emphasis on training and education for implementation of CII recommendations
  • Failure to integrate new ideas and recommendations into company procedures
  • Limited benchmarking of implementation costs and benefits (no proof of savings)
  • Lack of innovative and risk-taking environments
Reference: (RS42-1)

4 : Common Barriers to Implementation Found in Most Projects

Many of the barriers encountered appeared to follow a pattern from project to project. The most typical barriers fit into the following major categories: (RS42-1, p. 16)

  • Management Leadership
  • Organizational Culture
  • Education
  • Measure of Performance
  • Communication
Reference: (RS42-1)

5 : Realizing Benefits Require Up Front Commitment

It is the opinion of the research team that greater levels of implementation of the CII concepts will yield improvements and savings on projects, and will benefit the industry in general. This belief is in spite of the lack of hard data to quantify the benefits. This lack of data has been identified as a significant barrier to implementation of the concepts. To realize the benefits of the CII recommended practices requires the up-front commitment and funding, along with plans, objectives, and action for implementation. (RS42-1, p. 18)
Reference: (RS42-1)

6 : Implementation Recommendations are Established

Recommendations to achieve higher levels of implementation and realize the benefits of the CII Concepts are provided for Owners, Engineering, and Construction Organizations. Recommendations include: (RS42-1, p. 19)

  • Incorporate CII recommendations into company and project plans, procedures, and cultures
  • Establish a “champion”
  • Provide funding and incentives for implementation
  • Promote risk-taking versus punitive environments
  • Document the benefits of implementation
  • Develop company training that molds CII recommendations to company culture and standard operating procedures
  • Provide opportunities for project staff to participate in CII activities
Reference: (RS42-1)

7 : CII Recommendations Must Align With a Company’s Culture

CII recommendations need to be internalized as part of a company’s organizational culture. As with quality, all organizations should have a “champion” or focal point for knowledge, communication, and implementation of CII Concepts. Company management and responsible individuals must provide the commitment and leadership to make the needed changes and improvements happen. In order to invest in future organizational and project performance advantages, the commitment and funding must be provided for: (RS42-1, p. 20)

  • Leadership, education and training
  • Development of plans and procedures for implementation
  • Assessment and implementation of CII concepts on all projects
  • Benchmarking of performance results and benefits
Reference: (RS42-1)

8 : Approach to Improve Implementation

A suggested overall approach for improvements in implementation of the CII “Best Practice” concepts using the tools and information provided in the guideline was established by RT42. Key elements of the approach are listed in IR42-2. (IR42-2, p. 66) See Implementation Tools section for more details on IR42-2.
Reference: (IR42-2)

9 : Implementation Tool #1

IR42-2, Guidelines for Implementation of CII Concepts:  Best Practices for the Construction Industry

This guideline provides the opportunity and tools to improve implementation of CII concepts. Tools and resources include: 

  • Section 1 – CII Concept Summary Sheets and Key Elements of Implementation
  • Section 2 – Checklists for Implementation of CII Concepts
  • Section 3 – Common Barriers to Implementation
  • Section 4 – Implementation Self-Assessment
  • Section 5 – Scoring and Evaluation
  • Appendix A: Matrix of CII Publications and Concepts
Reference: (IR42-2)

Key Performance Indicators

Improved cost

Research Publications

Guidelines for Implementation of CII Concepts: Best Practices for the Construction Industry - IR42-2

Publication Date: 09/1995 Type: Implementation Resource Pages: 126 Status: Archived Tool

Barriers to Implementation - RR42-11

Publication Date: 08/1995 Type: Research Report Pages: 225 Status: Archived Reference

Barriers to Implementation of CII Concepts: An Overview - RS42-1

Publication Date: 08/1995 Type: Research Summary Pages: 52 Status: Archived Supporting Product