Exploring The Link Between Complexity And Risk In Construction

Jay Armstrong

February 2019

The workshop (at the Institute of Risk Management on January 31st) looked at the concept of project complexity and how that drives project risk. Presenters gave perspectives from different sectors such as rail, energy, construction and military as well as emerging techniques that might be able to help in this area.

To download a copy of my slides from the Institute of Risk Management’s website, click here.

My presentation looked at complexity and risk management within the construction industry. In particular it looked at how complexity is an issue and does impact the construction industry; using recent Crossrail events as an example. With this established I noted that construction can be considered as a complex system  
owing to its multidisciplinary nature with lots of moving parts and inherent risk. Also noted that construction projects are increasingly not just construction but increasingly includes a host of sub disciplines such as consents, technology, environment, design that increases their complexity. I also noted that the complexity risk in construction often sat at the intersection and interfaces of these differing elements of work.

We also explored how these conditions challenge existing risk management processes citing a number of examples such as industry culture, the concept of risk transference and contract structures. Finally we looked at how some of these areas could be improved going forward. In particular looking at the need for the industry itself to recognize its challenges and better embrace change as well as recent efforts by the UK government to incentivize the industry to think longer term and adapt noting recent BIM legislation and Sector investment plans. 

To contact me further in regards to my presentation, please use the below form to email me directly. 


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