The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction


Dr Simon Addyman

Associate Professor in Project Management

The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
1st Mar 2019

Research summary

My research is positioned in a process/practice onto-epistemological and theoretical orientation. I am Centre Director for the newly established research centre – Centre for Construction Project Organising (CCPO). 

My primary unit of observation, and that of CCPO, is the construction project. I see the construction project not as a separate, independent entity, but one which is inextricably entangled in a wider transactional and relational network of organisations and individuals involved in construction project organising. In this regard, any notion of its understanding engages with multiple levels, from the institutional to the individual. My primary unit of analysis is organisational routines, that is, patterns of situated action.   

My research has an intentional orientation towards a pragmatist view of process thinking, more specifically a philosophy of language and the role of dialogue (written and spoken), challenging the historically dominant positivist view of organisations and their management in western economies. I do not reject the concept of organisation, but seek to understand both organisation and organising, and the relationship between them. 

My work orients towards practice theory, specifically exploring theories and concepts in routine dynamics and temporary organising, such as: life cycle, transition, communication, information and uncertainty, etc., I look specifically at the use humans make of language in their interaction with each other and the artefacts they use to organise and manage construction projects, seeking to understand how construction project organisations become capable of delivering value, through (un)intentional change. 

Teaching summary

I am the Programme Director for the MSc in Project and Enterprise Management at BSSC and a Visiting Lecturer to Kings College London. My teaching focuses on the organisation and management of construction projects. I am the module leader for the core project management modules on the MSc PEM. The aim of my teaching is to give students the knowledge they need to effectively manage construction projects and to have the understanding of how these projects fit with other firms/organisations. My teaching is grounded in organisational theory, understanding the relationship between the construction project as a more or less stable organisation and the dynamic processes involved in project organising. My objectives are to connect this theory with the Bodies of Knowledge of professional associations, most specifically that of the UK Association for Project Management (APM). These are then combined with current good practice guidance, legislation and government/industry reports to understand its history, the current state of the industry and what this means for future construction project organising. 


I have over 30 years’ experience in construction project management both in the UK and overseas. I started my career in the mid 80’s with a Diploma in Building Studies before moving on to work in property refurbishment, learning a number of construction trades and the interdependency of them. I then went overseas to the Gambia in West Africa, firstly as a regional site supervisor and then as the assistant construction manager for a World Bank sponsored national primary school construction programme. From there I moved into humanitarian relief work in the Balkans, firstly managing maintenance and construction projects for the United Nations, and then as a construction programme manager for a refugee resettlement programme. 

I then returned to the UK and from 2000-2016 I was a client project manager with London Underground Ltd (LUL), managing station infrastructure projects, from single asset refurbishment through to major capacity enhancements. This included a period of time in the LUL PMO authoring the second edition of their project management handbook and establishing benchmarking for project capability. 

My last five years in LUL were as the project manager for the £600m+, 10-year Bank Station Capacity Upgrade project. The project successfully implemented LU’s novel Innovative Contractor Engagement procurement route for which I was awarded Project Professional of the Year at the UK APM Awards 2013. I completed my MSc in Project (Construction) Management at Heriot-Watt University in 1999 and in January 2019 was awarded my PhD in Construction Project Management from University College London (UCL). In 2019, I won the APM Herbert Walton Award for innovation and excellence in Doctoral research for my PhD. In March 2019 I was appointed Associate Professor in Project Management at UCL’s Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction.

I engage and develop partnerships with a wide range of industrial partners engaged in activities in the built environment. I have a range of past and present engagements with the UK APM, Major Projects Association, the Infrastructure and Projects Authority, HS2, Highways England and a number of private companies including contractors and consultancies. These relationships are established for mutual benefit in supporting those organisations and my teaching and research activities. I undertake commercial advisory work and executive education to help grow organisational capability in developing and delivering construction projects, predominantly in public infrastructure.