Causes of Quality Failures in Building Energy Renovation Projects of Northern China: A Review and Empirical Study

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Building energy renovations can effectively improve the environmental performance and energy sustainability of existing buildings. From 2007 onwards, the Chinese government has promoted energy-saving renovations of existing urban residential buildings. Nevertheless, various quality failures happen during the construction period in energy-saving renovation projects of residential buildings. Yet, the causes and their characters remain largely unknown. Through a literature review, this paper investigates the causes of quality failures. Validated through experts’ interviews, a total of 18 causes were identified in building energy renovation projects. These causes were analyzed from two main aspects: the importance of a cause (related to impact and frequency), and the level of effort required to address a cause (related to origin and scale), using both a questionnaire survey and a focus group. The results indicate that the critical causes of quality failures are working under high-cost and high-time pressure, adverse natural conditions, fraud of construction companies, incomplete construction site survey, poor checking procedures of supervisors, poor operational skilled workers, inadequate equipment performance, lack of experienced project managers, and incomplete building information in projects. The causes were classified as external and internal causes of building energy renovation projects. The outcome of this paper should aid policy makers and project coordinators to focus on critical causes of quality failures, and to develop effective actions and policy interventions to achieve successful renovation projects with high-quality performance
Original languageEnglish
Article number2442
Number of pages19
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Building energy renovation projects
  • Causes
  • Northern China
  • Quality failures


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