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Andresen J L

Cost and benefit assessments of IT systems in the construction industry

Abstract: This paper presents the results of four case studies that focus on cost and benefit assessments of IT systems in the Danish construction industry. The primary objectives in the case studies have been to (a) explore the difficulties with evaluating IT systems in the construction industry, (b) complete evaluations on particular IT systems in companies from the construction industry using four different IT evaluation methodologies and, ultimately, (c) develop a framework for how to select an IT evaluation method in different IT evaluation situations. The case studies are conducted as a part of a three-year Ph.D. project in order to collect the necessary data to fulfil the objectives stated in the Ph.D. project. The overall objective of the Ph.D. project is how to improve the knowledge and use of IT systems in the construction industry. To achieve this aim the Ph.D. project focuses on how construction companies can increase their knowledge about costs and benefits in their different IT applications by evaluating future IT investments and current IT systems. Specifically, the Ph.D. project focuses on developing a framework for how to select an appropriate IT evaluation method among the many available methods. Earlier in the Ph.D. project a questionnaire survey was completed analysing the current state (1999) of IT evaluation practices in the Danish construction industry. In the four case studies the following IT systems were evaluated: · An electronic document management system called Documentum · Upgrading AutoCad 14 to AutoCad 2000 · Two different ProjectWeb systems The case studies are completed in collaboration with four Danish [RH1] companies based on IT evaluation situations identified in the companies. The construction companies in the case studies comprise three large consulting engineers (Rambøll, Cowi and NIRAS) and one large contractor (Højgaard and Schultz). In each case the IT evaluation situation is identified and described in detail. Four different IT evaluation methods, each representing a larger group of IT evaluation methods, have been used and these are: · Measuring the Benefits of IT Innovation (developed by Construct IT in UK) · Information Economics (developed by M. M. Parker and R. J. Benson) · Net Present Value (unknown origin) · Critical Success Factors (J. Rockart) The case studies provide some hard data on the costs and benefits (both quantitative and qualitative) of the evaluated IT systems. The collected data can be used to create the basis for comparison in other similar cases (although one has to be aware that the data are very context dependent) and the result of the IT evaluations is in itself very interesting. Perhaps more interesting is the data collected about the IT evaluation process. This comprises, among other things, data on the usefulness of the evaluation methods in each of the IT evaluation situations and the identified strengths and weaknesses of the four IT evaluation methods. Lastly the four case studies are compared with some case studies conducted in UK during a six months stay at the University of Salford. The case studies in the UK were conducted in collaboration with another Ph.D. student, Nick Bunyan, on some large contractors (Costain, Alfred McAlpine and Taylor Woodrow). The case studies in the UK were using the IT evaluation method “Measuring the Benefits of IT Innovation”. This enables an international comparison between UK and Denmark to be carried out.

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Full text: content.pdf (183,662 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2001 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.communication (0.028296) class.economic (0.020015) class.store (0.013421)
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Permission to reproduce these documents have been graciously provided by CSIR Building and Construction Technology. The assistance of the editors, Mr. Gustav Coetzee and Mr. Frances Boshoff, is gratefully appreciated.


Andresen J L

How to select an IT evaluation method - in the context of construction

Abstract: In a number of surveys (both national and international) it has been highlighted that companies from the construction industry have difficulties with evaluating IT investments (Andresen 1999;CICA and CIRIA 1995). The reasons for this are many but one of the major ones is the poor adoption of IT evaluation methods. This paper focuses on how companies can choose between the many available IT evaluation methods by presenting a framework for how to choose a matching method. The primary objective of the paper is to present the findings of a completed Ph.D. project, but also importantly to discuss why this topic is relevant for companies in the construction industry by highlighting the benefits of increased knowledge of the value of companies' IT investments. The framework has been developed on the basis of both theoretical and empirical data collection and analysis of the available methods, a questionnaire survey and five case studies. Firstly, 82 IT evaluation methods have been identified in a literature review (and the list is not complete), from which a number of characteristics have been derived, and this has enabled a categorisation of the identified methods. Secondly, a national survey was completed investigating the sophistication of the Danish companies' IT evaluation practice. This was done in order to establish an overview of current IT evaluation practice. Thirdly, five case studies were completed in which four different methods were tested according to their usefulness in real-life IT evaluations. The presented framework consists of (a) 21 parameters (which can be used to describe the characteristics of different IT evaluation scenarios), (b) a weighting system (allowing putting a higher emphasis on certain parameters) and (c) a set of procedures for identifying a matching IT evaluation method. The framework's output has been validated by comparing these with the experience gained in the case studies.

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Full text: content.pdf (520,674 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2002 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.strategies (0.021078) class.roadmaps (0.020571) class.processing (0.007171)
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Permission to reproduce these documents have been graciously provided by the Aarhus School of Architecture, Denmark. The assistnace of the editor, Prof. Kristian Agger, is gratefully aprecciated.


Anita Moum, Tore Haugen, Christian Koch

What did you learn from practice today?

Abstract: The AEC-industry has been slow in turning the potential of ICT into increased efficiency and productivity. This is a phenomenon which can be observed in many countries, and in Denmark this issue has been recognized as a major problem for the further development of the AEC-industry. The public-private and nationally funded R&D pro-gram ‘Digital Construction’ was initiated in 2003 in order to establish a common platform for interchanging digital information and to stimulate digital integration in the Danish AEC-industry. This paper explores the relationship be-tween visions, strategies and tools formulated in the ‘Digital Construction’ program, and the first experiences of im-plementing the 3D work method part of this R&D program in an ongoing building project. The discussions in the paper are placed in the complex field between choosing strategies for integrating ICT on the national level, and the effects of these strategies on real life building projects. The knowledge gained from the experiences in Denmark could be a valu-able contribution to further discussions regarding strategies for integrating ICT in the architectural and engineering practice.

Keywords: building design process, integration of ICT, digital construction, effects on practice, R&D efforts

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Full text: content.pdf (508,979 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2007 (browse)
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Hauch P

One-dimensional CAD-drawing - twentyfive years en route towards integrated modelling.

Abstract: It all started twenty years ago with the implementation of industrial and mechanical CAD-drawing systems in the Construction Industry. Even at that time we focused on the wonderful perspectives of integrating design, production processes and FM using integrated systems, based on a "digital building model" and "object oriented modelling". The vision and the goals for the use of IT in the Construction Industry have been extremely stable over the years - much more stable than the development of IT. For many practical reasons we started out by focusing on drawings and on building bridges between the "islands of automation" in the construction industry. Data exchange between CAD-systems was on the agendas for some years. But why are we still fighting the challenges of file-exchange between loosely coupled systems, and why do we still base industrial practices on the document management concept, when comparable industries have left this concept long ago? We thought, that the concept of file-exchange between loosely coupled systems would bring us closer to realising our final goals - but how far have we progressed? Are we closer to integrated modelling today? How far have we progressed when it comes to implementation in the industry? The author takes a close look at the development and the use of IT in practice in the Danish Construction Industry and in numerous development programmes. He summarises on the lessons learnt in different areas like: Industrial IT- strategy, ITand CAD-solutions, conditions for integration, workflow, collaboration and business culture in the Construction Industry. He relates to the development in other industrial areas and to the development of IT-systems and tools to support the concept of integrated modelling and points at development needs. The author elaborates on the ideas of information modelling in 1D-, 2D-, 3D-,4D-, and up to 8D (?), dealing with three dimensions, properties, relations, space, place and time, and asks the question, if we have to go through all these steps to reach our goal. The conclusion is, that the industry is facing a shift in paradigm in order to fulfil its goals on integrated modelling, and that there is no easy way. The more we focus on file-exchange between loosely coupled systems and on the document management concept the further we must travel, and the greater the risk, that we will never reach our goal.

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Full text: content.pdf (26,980 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2002 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.store (0.026678) class.communication (0.021686) class.deployment (0.018597)
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Permission to reproduce these documents have been graciously provided by the Aarhus School of Architecture, Denmark. The assistnace of the editor, Prof. Kristian Agger, is gratefully aprecciated.


Howard R, Kiviniemi A, Samuelson O

Surveys of IT in the Construction Industry and Experience of the IT Barometer in Scandinavia

Abstract: With many surveys being carried out on the use of IT, it is important to ensure that their results can be compared and that they can be repeated to gain a picture of the growth of IT use and of particular successes. The IT barometer survey summarised in this paper compares results from Denmark, Finland and Sweden on the use of computer hardware, software and communications. It is complementary to other surveys looking at the strategic use of IT within companies. Microsoft products dominate both operating systems and office applications in all these countries but there is greater useWindows NT and UNIX in Finland. CAD is used in almost all design offices in Sweden, with Autocad as the dominant product, but Microstation is now more widely used by architects in Denmark. CAD data structures are becoming more advanced with objects being used by more firms in Finland and Sweden, but structured 2D data dominates in Denmark. Communications networks are used in about 90% of Swedish firms but only in about 60% in Denmark. Danish property managers make greater use of computers. Further analysis is needed of the data from Finland, and comparable surveys are being carried out in other countries. The comparison of these is being coordinated by the CIB W78 group which plans to repeat the surveys, using similar questions, in 2000. This will help to measure the increase in awareness and use of IT resulting from national IT development projects which have started in Finland and Sweden. A network linking national IT centres is planned to exchange experience and coordinate this work, so that there can be greater integration of systems between different types of firm in construction, and within international projects.

Keywords: survey, international, computers, CAD, communications, construction industry

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Full text: http://www.itcon.org/1998/4 (available to registered users only)

Series: itcon:1998 (browse)
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Howard R, Kiviniemi A, Samuelson O

The latest developments in communications and e-commerce - IT barometer in 3 Nordic countries

Abstract: Electronic communication and new forms of electronic commerce have been some of the fastest growing areas in information technology in construction. Denmark, Finland and Sweden are in the forefront of applying these technologies, and a recent repeat of the IT Barometer survey of the construction industry presents information from firms of: architects, property owners and managers, contractors, consulting engineers and others. This was first carried out in 1998. Comparisons are now made between levels of IT use then and in 2000/2001, and between the three countries involved. The paper-based survey was developed at KTH in Sweden and the same questions were asked in Denmark and Finland. The survey includes: levels of staff, access to equipment and communications, current and future use of applications software, Intranets and Project Webs, e-commerce, future intentions, benefits and problems. The general aim is to measure progress in take up of technology and compare national differences. The analysis indicates significant differences, with Denmark and Finland having a high level of staff access to PCs and e-mail and Finland making greater use of Project Webs and Intranets. The most interesting comparison is in attitudes to financial control systems, where Swedish and Danish companies place better financial control as a high priority, while it has dropped in importance in Finland. Swedish and Danish companies appear to have most of the CAD facilities they need, but in Finland this is still a priority for investment. A reduced proportion of drawing work is carried out manually by architects and engineers in all three countries, around 15 - 20% for Denmark and Sweden, while this has reduced in Finland from 34% to 6% in the last 3 years and, in Sweden, from 36 - 14% . Ecommerce is most fully developed in Finland where over three quarters of companies have some experience of its use.

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Full text: content.pdf (68,499 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2002 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.commerce (0.075532) class.collaboration (0.073201) class.roadmaps (0.029236)
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Permission to reproduce these documents have been graciously provided by the Aarhus School of Architecture, Denmark. The assistnace of the editor, Prof. Kristian Agger, is gratefully aprecciated.


Howard R, Petersen E

Monitoring Communication in Partnering Projects

Abstract: This report is a summary of a two year research project carried out by the IT byg group at BYG. DTU for the Danish government agencies Erhvervsfremmestyrelsen and By- og Bolig-ministeriet. The objectives were to collect data on the use of IT by the PPB housing consortia, a development project to test out various innovations, to map communications between the partners, and compare IT usage with their original proposals. Data was collected on communications in housing projects in the period June 1999- Aug 2000. The original PPB proposals were made in 1994/5 but there have been breaks in the flow of projects, and information technology has gone through much change since then. Use of Email has taken over from post and fax, and Project Webs have been developed in most consortia. Consortium members' policies have dominated the choice of management and logistics software, restricted compatibility in the consortia, and limited willingness to share data. Greater involvement by the client, and more sharing of equity, would have encouraged adoption of common IT systems and created more trust for data sharing between partners. PPB projects have allowed consortium members to test out new technologies but, in general, the IT systems used have been similar to those which the larger firms use elsewhere. Vertical integration has been limited by lack of experience and technology in smaller firms. In future, access to Project Webs from mobile devices should help use by all partners from any location. In all the projects studied, and in spite of the introduction of Email and Project Webs, the ratio of non-IT communications to IT varied from 0.8 to 4.6. When problems need to be solved rapidly there appears to be a tendency to revert to traditional means of communication - meetings, telephone and fax.

Keywords: communications, partnering, project web, social network analysis, housing

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Full text: http://www.itcon.org/2001/1 (available to registered users only)

Series: itcon:2001 (browse)
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Howard R

Classification of building information – European and IT systems

Abstract: Introduction Organisation of the information needed to design, construct and manage a building is still based upon traditional trades and classification tables. European countries have established sources of information: specifications, element tables and product databases, based on categories, such as SfB, defined 50 years ago. The Danish Centrecontract on Building Classification is following projects in several other countries, to update its systems, provide greater integration of data, and keep up with new information technologies. This paper presents experience from studying developments in several countries, relating them to the needs of Denmark, and anticipating the future demands of IT. IT context The possibilities with IT for more flexible searches on advanced representations of building entities require fundamental changes in integrating, exchanging and accessing information. There is a proliferation of web portals and project webs, and some common structure that relates to international practice is needed. Methods of searching are changing from traditional categories to full text and structured keywords. New methods of representing building data such as the IFCs and XML are having a major influence alongside standards for building data. The Centrecontract is relating these to the current practice in many types of firm in the Danish building industry. Objectives The Centrecontract is due for completion in 2002 but the research being carried out by DTU will be presented at the end of 2000 and 2001. The broad objectives are for the partners to develop tools for building elements, schedules of rates and product classification, within a common framework, and to promote these and provide education. The research has defined the needs of Danish industry, is learning from experience in other countries, and will predict the likely influence of IT developments in future. This paper reports on some of the information systems being developed in other countries. Methodology The approach taken was to talk to experts rather than to collect new statistical information. In each country at least one developer of new information systems was interviewed, one researcher and one user organisation. They were asked about the systems currently used in their country, new systems being developed, and any experience of their use. They were also asked about how changes had been, or could be, made in the general organisation of information about building. Relevant standards and the many building information services on the Web were also studied to find the common elements, and see how Denmark could develop systems to suit local needs. Some preliminary findings Factors from Denmark include the need to link to the familiar SfB system, using the same structure right through the process, the importance of the client and resistance to standards. Other countries studied so far are developing improved systems, with Sweden leading the way with BSAB 96, the UK with Uniclass to unite its different classification systems, and Holland and Norway proposing Lexicon and BARBI respectively. Common factors are the list of tables defined in ISO 12006-2, the work of EPIC in product classification, the influence of the IFCs and the use of the Web and XML. This work will be completed at the end of 2000 and recommendations made to the other partners in the Centrecontract for the systems that will help meet the needs of the Danish building industry.

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Full text: content.pdf (872,669 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2001 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.collaboration (0.092484) class.represent (0.059640) class.standards (0.053428)
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Permission to reproduce these documents have been graciously provided by CSIR Building and Construction Technology. The assistance of the editors, Mr. Gustav Coetzee and Mr. Frances Boshoff, is gratefully appreciated.


Howard R

A new Danish classification system to meet local needs and link to international and IT developments

Abstract: Denmark is a small country with few large companies in construction, but the industry is well organized, makes advanced use of IT, and is capable of designing and constructing high quality buildings and huge bridges. It was an early user of the SfB building classification system and there are many well-organized sets of data, but it does not have a complete framework for building information meeting new international standards and reflecting developments in IT. The Centre Contract Building Classification is a 3 year collaboration project funded by the Building and Industry ministry and managed by the Technological Institute. It will finish at the end of 2002 with proposals for tables of building elements, schedules of rates and building products. The research at DTU was completed at the end of 2001 and looked at international experience and the effects of future IT systems. While a Danish system must relate to the specific needs and experience of Danish industry, and allow convergence with existing sets of data, it must also relate to international developments to maintain collaboration with other countries and export of building materials. Future IT systems will allow even more sharing of data and members of a project team, wherever they are located, should have a common understanding of the structure of the data they share. Standards such as IFCs for building modeling and ISO 12006-2 for building information, are important and experience from other countries shows that it is necessary to test the Danish proposals against these and set up suitable arrangements for promoting and supporting the new classification. It will also be necessary to educate students and mid-career professionals in the use of a new system.

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Full text: content.pdf (538,955 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2002 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.communication (0.040741) class.standards (0.019440) class.represent (0.013401)
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Permission to reproduce these documents have been graciously provided by the Aarhus School of Architecture, Denmark. The assistnace of the editor, Prof. Kristian Agger, is gratefully aprecciated.


Jan Karlshoj

Impact of Construction Technologies on Education in Denmark

Abstract: An increased interest for the use of BIM in the Danish construction industry and an expressed need for students with knowledge on ICT have had impact on what students are taught in at the Technical University of Denmark. This is partly due to the Danish state started to require the use of BIM-models and handover of models in IFC-format in 2007. Since 2008 students at BSc. and MSc. level are taught more in interoperability and in BIM tools than in the past. To fulfil this demand a multidisciplinary course in "Advanced building design" has been developed at the Technical University of Denmark. The goal of the course is through project work to provide training in transprofessionalism and teamwork as well as using building information models at the final stage of the engineering education. Both students from the Architectural Engineering and Civil Engineering study lines have follow the course. The students had in teams to develop an outline and project proposal of building complex with a volume of about 40,000 square meters. In addition to prepare drawings according to the present requirements which are valid in ordinary projects, the students should as in Danish state projectshand-in BIM models in IFC-format and document results from the use of clash detection tools. Several experiences from the course have been gained. It is difficult for the students to work in multidisciplinary teams and make an outline and a project proposal without direct guidance from the teachers. The students underestimate the effort it takes to integrate components from different disciplines in a BIM model. The evaluations of the course by the students have been very ambiguous, since some have seen this as a good opportunity to learn about carrying out projects which simulate real building construction projects while others are very sceptical about working in multidisciplinary teams and see modelling as unworthy work for an engineer.

Keywords: MSc. education, BIM, mandatory use of BIM, choice of tools

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Full text: content.pdf (141,274 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2010 (browse)
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