Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Resilience Engineering Association


Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science


School of Exercise and Health Sciences/Occupational Health Research Group




This article was originally published as: Pillay, M. , & Borys, D. (2013). Episodic adaptations and trade-offs: Examples from the Victorian construction Industry. In 5th Resilience Engineering International Symposium (pp. n/a). Soesterberg, Netherlands: Resilience Engineering Association. Original article available here


A central facet of resilience engineering involves adaptation which involves making temporal adjustments by responding, monitoring, anticipation and learning from disturbances continuous stressors. This ability to adapt is inherent in the actions which manifest as behaviors in individuals and teams. In the main, the response is generally in response is to regular and irregular threats such that work continues to operate as normal. Invariably, these adaptations also require trade-offs and sacrifices being made at a number of levels. However, there is little published research that seeks to explain how such adaptations actually occur in construction works. It has been suggested that resilience manifests as episodic adaptations which comprise of ‘cluster of potentially dispersed activities,’ and which can be observed as ‘pockets of order’ and analyzed through the response-execution-leverage (REL) model. It is our contention that these adaptations can be understood in normal construction work by observing how workers react to respond threats. This paper, based on an analysis of observations as part of a broader PhD research project examining resilience engineering in the Victorian construction industry, explores three episodes of such adaptations and analyses them using the REL model.