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Ken Thomas, Brian Graham, Tim McCarthy, Pat Troy, David Crowe

Making an Impact: Improving the use of ICT in a Leading Construction Company Through an Industry-Academia Partnership

Abstract: This paper concerns the improved use of ICT in a leading Irish construction company via an Industry-Academia partnership. The partners are Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) and BAM Contractors, who are part of the wider Royal BAM Group based in the Netherlands. The bespoke MSc in Construction Project Management (MScCPM) programme that was developed through this partnership involves a number of modules, including one on ‘ICT in Construction’. The majority of the required assessments on the bespoke programme relate specifically to BAM business activities. BAM saw the benefits of getting the participant either individually or in groups to investigate issues that are of importance to the company. Each assessment was designed and agreed by the relevant WIT Module Leader and the associated BAM Expert in line with the agreed MScCPM framework. The processes of aligning the required programme assessments with topics and problems of direct interest to the company may not always have been straightforward, but the potential befits were clear to all concerned. In the case of the ‘ICT in Construction’ module the WIT Module Leader agreed the topics and approach with the BAM ICT Manager and his team. Essentially the group was divided up into six groups of three people and the other two participants were given individual projects. The group projects concerned the use of COINS, SharePoint, BIM, Project Planning software, ICT on Sites and Mobile ICT Devices. The individual projects related to the use of ICT in two other companies, BAM Nuttall and Suir Engineering. The background to these topics, how they were researched, the publication of the associated reports, the oral presentations to WIT and BAM Senior Management are described in this paper. Most importantly, the subsequent impact of these ICT projects on the BAM people, processes and technologies are also considered.

Keywords: ICT, Construction, Industry-Academia Partnership, Work-Integrated Learning

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Full text: content.pdf (103,751 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2010 (browse)
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Patel M B, McCarthy T J, Morris P W, Elhag T M

The role of it in capturing and managing knowledge for organisational learning on construction projects

Abstract: "Knowledge management is becoming increasingly recognised as a critical source of competitive advantage. The way organisations use knowledge and learn is increasingly being recognised as central to performance improvement. Construction is no exception. Many construction companies, and their clients, are recognising that the way they manage knowledge and learn, across the whole supply chain, can make an enormous difference to their performance and the efficiency of the construction process. This paper describes work forming part of the research project: The Role of IT in Capturing and Managing Knowledge for Organisational Learning on Construction Projects known now under the acronym KLICON: Knowledge and Learning In CONstruction. It sets the scene for the detailed research project reviewing the current state of the use if IT in knowledge management and organisational learning in the construction industry. The problem is in many ways particularly difficult and important in construction with its project base, and the large number of often relatively small projects with constantly changing members of the supply chain. Information Technology (IT) offers real opportunities for capturing knowledge and feeding it back into the project organisation. This is important if performance is really to improve. This research will examine how IT can better assist knowledge management and organisational learning in construction projects. The aim of the research is to investigate how Information Technology can facilitate organisational learning and knowledge management in the construction industry. This will be achieved by: examining how knowledge is captured and managed by firms working on construction projects; assessing what management and IT tools are used to facilitate this, and their effectiveness. Knowledge needs and the use of IT tools will be investigated within a selected domain. This will be Requirements Capture and Management. In KLICON, knowledge is being taken as the cognitive ability to generate insight based on information and data. Much of the current work in knowledge management focuses on the collection, classification, storage, accessing and communication of information. Important though this is, many organisations are increasingly recognising that the way information is used in order to facilitate continuous improvement is often of more immediate relevance. This, broadly, is the area of organisational learning. Organisational learning is the ability of the organisation to collect and use information so that members exploit it to learn and to improve performance. Learning is something that pervades every individuals life in one form or another. Organisations may be capable of learning and such organisational learning may in turn impact upon various aspects of an organisations performance. The full paper will amplify the topics outlined above and illustrate them with examples from the construction organisations from the KLICON group. It will also include examples of the IT tools that are being used to capture the process functions and the related information requirements. The KLICON industrial partners, Ove Arup and Partners and Kvaerner Construction Ltd, are providing access to project teams for the in-depth research into requirements capture, knowledge transmission and organisational learning."

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Full text: content.pdf (332,916 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2000 (browse)
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Class: class.education (0.060951) class.deployment (0.056432) class.environment (0.019154)
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Permission to reproduce these documents have been graciously provided by Icelandic Building Research Institute. The assistance of the editor, Mr. Gudni Gudnason, is gratefully appreciated


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