Failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA) is an engineering technique used to identify and eliminate known/potential errors from the system, design, process, and/or service before they reach the customer and optimise the maintenance required. In the construction industry, the technique is known to be used in the context of project risk management yet little has been published on how FMEA is generally used.
The aim of this dissertation is to compare what happens in practice against the principles of FMEA best practice, as applied in the construction industry. 31 semi-structured interview transcripts, with 37 interviewees, conducted in 16 companies involved in the construction industry, were analysed. They are discussed under four themes: failures and failure modes data collection practices, effective FMEA team requirements, maintenance related practices and practical examples of FMEA use in the construction industry. It was found that only one company out of the 16 interviewed had actually used FMEA, but had only applied it once and on one system. When their FMEA worksheet was compared to FMEA’s principles of best practice, some bad practices were identified, and recommendations were put forward based on those bad practices highlighted.