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Mr John Kelsey
1-19 Torrington Place
1-19 Torrington Place
1-19 Torrington Place
Mr John Kelsey profile picture
  • Associate Professor
  • The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction
  • Faculty of the Built Environment

John was born in 1951 and educated at Whitgift School, South Croydon and University College, Oxford where he read Economics and Philosophy.

Following site work in the UK (1972-3) and post-disaster village reconstruction work in South India (1973-4), he trained in surveying with a Housing Association (1975-82) for whom he worked in Housing Management, Acquisition and Development. He later studied accountancy and managed the finances of the Association.

He subsequently did financial, commercial and technical work for Howard Humphreys and Partners on a large Civil Engineering project in Tanzania (1983-5). He then worked in accountancy on a number of capital projects (1985-7) and as a management accountant for Photo-Me International plc (1988-9). He was recruited and worked as a Senior Cost Engineer for Translink JV at the Channel Tunnel Project (1989-94). He further worked in the role of both QS and Accountant in Russia and Ghana for Taylor Woodrow in Building, Civil Engineering and Mining projects (1995-9).

Having obtained his MSc in Construction Economics and Management (1999-2000) he joined the Bartlett School of Graduate Studies as a Research Fellow and was appointed Lecturer in Construction and Project Management in 2003. He was appointed Associate Professor of Construction, Project Management and Economics in 2019.

Research Summary

The first focus of John’s research work was in construction planning. He has looked at spatio-temporal aspects of planning - in particular the extent of formal space planning together with the methods used by construction planners in pre-tender work. This has included gaining an understanding of the demand for computer-based space planning and visualisation tools. He has also investigated the problems of phased works in occupied refurbishment projects from the point of view of both the contractor and the client in occupation. Again the spatial aspect is emphasised as is the means whereby the client and contractor together can reach a compromise between construction space and cost-efficiency on the one hand and the needs of stakeholders who have an interest in using parts of the occupied site on the other. The latter was modelled using the Space Syntax method developed at UCL in conjunction with other pedestrian movement modelling methodologies. More recently he has worked on computer-aided construction logistics.

John retains his interest in critical chain/last planner methods of construction planning and management. From previous work experience he also has an interest in the construction industry in lower income countries including the emergence of domestic contractors, the international management of large construction projects and the development of the whole industry in a developing economy context. He has been involved with the OMEGA research project into Mega-Urban Transport Project in looking at Complexity, Uncertainty and Risk in large projects. He has also worked on small project complexity in lower income countries with the Institute for Fiscal Studies. He has also researched construction technology transfer in lower income countries.

He was involved in managing an UrbanBuzz project investigating Vision Building and Stakeholder Engagement in Sustainable Urban Regeneration. Extending this work, he has worked on the problem of engagement with potentially project-displaced persons in large Hydroelectric power projects and the possibilities of computer-based stakeholder gaming and scenario simulation.

In 2012-13 he was involved in organising conferences on "Big Data and BIM" and "Sustainable Resources for Sustainable Cities.

Following research in 2008-10 into large contractors (and others) on the role of organisational culture in Health and Safety (in a project led by Prof. Hedley Smyth) he is currently researching organisational learning in the design process for safety in building construction and operation taking a critical realist approach. Lessons from the Grenfell tragedy will be included.

He has looked at economic aspects of self-build housing supply and UK rural housing shortage in collaboration with the Bartlett School of Planning.

He has also been involved in looking at the current skills shortage and the accuracy of published UK construction statistics.

Teaching Summary



By School


Bartlett School of Graduate Studies

Research Fellow 2000-3

Bartlett School of Graduate Studies

Lecturer in Construction and Project Management 2003-10

Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management (created 2010)

Lecturer in Construction and Project Management 2010-2019

Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management

Associate Professor of Construction, Project Management and Economics 2019-


By Course


BSc Project Management for Construction

Lecturer 2003-8 and 2012-

MSc Project and Enterprise Management (Network Rail)

Lecturer 2008-11

Programme Leader 2008-11

MSc Construction Economics and Management

Lecturer 2001-

Programme Leader 2011-2018

MSc Project and Enterprise Management

Lecturer 2003-

 Programme Leader 2018-19





Academic Background
2000   Master of Science University College London
1980   Certified Diploma Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
1977   Graduate Diploma Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
1972   Bachelor of Arts University of Oxford
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