Unravelling Causes of Quality Failures in Building Energy Renovation Projects of Northern China: Quality Management Perspective

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To be successful, energy renovation construction programs in northern China require both proper understanding of the causes of quality failures and effective strategies for renovating existing residential buildings for energy savings. However, surprisingly, although in recent years more attention has been focused on studying quality failures and reducing their causes, such failures still frequently occur in building energy renovation projects. In practice, the causes are not isolated, but rather, stem from complex correlations that impede high-quality performance. Due to their neglect of the causal relationships among these factors in quality failures, project coordinators have been unsuccessful in managing the quality of construction projects. Considering a network of different causes, this work reports on efforts to identify and manage the causes of quality failures in construction processes. A new understanding of the nature of these causes was achieved by considering four sources of data: literature review, opinions of experts, interpretive structural modeling (ISM), and focus groups. Our analysis shows that not only do many causes directly influence construction quality in building energy renovation projects, but also these causes interact with each other. It is noteworthy that external causes remain associated with all internal causes. Drivers of these causes are lack of experienced project managers, unauthorized changes in design documents, incomplete building information in projects, and poor onsite coordination; eliminating them enables solutions to a number of other internal causes. Finally, solutions are proposed to improve the current situation. These solutions fall into the categories of people, materials and equipment, design, and organization, based on the quality management process. The findings of this work provide valuable information for helping both policy makers and practitioners adopt effective policies and measures to manage the construction quality of building energy renovation projects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number04021017
JournalJournal of Management in Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Building energy renovation
  • Causes
  • Interpretive structural model (ISM)
  • Quality failures
  • Quality management

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