The doctoral dissertations of the former Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) and Aalto University Schools of Technology (CHEM, ELEC, ENG, SCI) published in electronic format are available in the electronic publications archive of Aalto University - Aaltodoc.

A Method for Strategic Technical Life Cycle Management of Real Estates

Taina Koskelo

Dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Science in Technology to be presented with due permission of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management for public examination and debate in Auditorium TU2 at Helsinki University of Technology (Espoo, Finland) on the 10th of February, 2005, at 12 o'clock noon.

Dissertation in PDF format (ISBN 951-22-7506-6)   [4356 KB]
Dissertation is also available in print (ISBN 951-22-7505-8)


This research study focuses on the strategic technical life cycle management (TLCM) of real estate. In the early phases of the study it became clear that very often the performance of TLCM was not perceived as satisfactory: there were problems in the purchasing and provision of technical services, TLCM was not performed according to real estate specific needs and objective-setting for building characteristics did not serve cost-effective ownership.

The study focuses on four research questions. The first research question is: What is the status of TLCM processes in the real estate sector? The underlying theories, key concepts, methods and tools in the real estate sector as well as practices related to the domain of TLCM are studied, along with the performance of TLCM as perceived by stakeholders. The initial aim was to establish whether there is a solid foundation of appropriate theories, key concepts and methods for TLCM, and was approached through a literature review and interview studies. Another aim of this preliminary phase was to define the appropriate scientific approach for the study and refine the further research questions. At the beginning of the study, it was not clear if there even was a theoretical background and therefore both hermeneutic and constructive approaches were possible depending on the results obtained in elaborating the first research question.

According to the preliminary studies, there was no solid foundation of appropriate theories and key concepts for TLCM. There was no satisfactory method for performing TLCM, and one needed to be developed. Therefore the second research question asked: by what means can we successfully develop and deploy such a method? This research was carried out using the constructive approach to develop and test a new method for TLCM. The third research question focused on the method itself: What are the characteristics and capabilities required of such a method? This was approached by interview studies and literature reviews through which it was possible to identify the initial factors critical for success. After the new construct was developed and being tested, a fourth research question was asked: Does the method work? Is it practical, usable and useful? The thesis describes the research process phase by phase, as well as the results of five real life case studies which were chosen to test the method in different situations for which it was designed. When evaluating the TLCM Method, 21 users as well as 15 experts in the field were interviewed. Questionnaires were used as well.

The net result of this research has been the construction of a practical, generic and novel TLCM Method for analyzing the technical risks and potential of buildings as well as costs for achieving the primary objectives from the perspective of cost-effective ownership. The Method begins with a detailed analysis, and then describes a process for developing a technical life cycle strategy according to decisions made during the analysis. The concept of TLC-manager was also defined and described.

Finally, the thesis presents the results and the practical and theoretical contribution of the TLCM-Method and evaluates the validity and reliability of the research. The study demonstrates that the TLCM Method facilitates objective-setting related to the technical objectives of real estates, and also facilitates the purchasing and provision of technical services. Using the TLCM Method improves the cost-effectiveness and quality of TLCM, and improves risk management. According to the interview data, the need for such a new, practical method was obvious. The TLCM Method was perceived as systematic, logical and generic. It also proved to be useful and usable in all situations for which it was constructed, and is also applicable in other environments. Several real estate owners and technical service providers in Finland are currently using the TLCM Method in practice.

Keywords: technical life cycle, life cycle management, strategic property management, investment analysis

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© 2005 Helsinki University of Technology

Last update 2011-05-26