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Futcher K G, Rowlinson S

Information-management-systems used by the Hong Kong construction industry

Abstract: This paper presents the results of current research into the extent that construction IT is used to support the large and dynamic construction industry of Hong Kong. The 1990’s have seen a continued growth in construction with the Government’s airport-core-programme of projects taking centre stage against a backdrop of a growth in construction of infrastructure and other public-sector and private-sector building works. Through economic necessity, the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (S.A.R.) plans to promote significantly more construction within the territory of the Hong Kong S.A.R., over the next two decades This is essential to meet the growth demands that are forecast to occur over the medium-term planning horizon of fifteen years. Concurrently, economic expansion in the neighbouring regions of southern China requires considerably greater amounts of new infrastructure. The Hong Kong construction industry will, inevitably, want to be heavily involved in these business opportunities. It is presumed that these demands for construction will attract participation from the global construction industry. The relative exploitation of construction IT for competitive advantage, by competing construction companies from different parts of the world, has therefore become important to the industry in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong construction industry has an enviable reputation and it is to be expected that this high-performance is supported by the use of construction IT technologies. However, Futcher and Rowlinson have previously presented subjective arguments that ‘Hong Kong’s reputation for high-speed, on-time and within-budget, construction belies the rudimentary nature of the industry’s exploitation of IT’, that ‘Hong Kong [is] strong in hardware, telecommunications and the marketing of technology. Opposed to weakness in systems support; programming; IT services, such as implementation and operational administration; documentation; and user-training’. They have stated that ‘the industry is likely to adopt IT only if it is seen as an accepted good practice. It does not actively seek IT solutions to achieve competitive advantage; as a means of offence and defence; to reduce costs; to innovate; or to impress.’ The research provides a factual basis for these statements by way of a comparative assessment on the use of construction information technologies in the Hong Kong industry. Knowledge which is of value to all the participants pursuing new business in this dynamic market. It is indicative of the sino-asian construction industry’s perceptions of the value and utility of construction IT. The paper provides argument for industry-lead development of construction IT.

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Full text: content.pdf (64,083 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:1998 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.economic (0.020479) class.commerce (0.013201) class.strategies (0.012000)
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Permission to reproduce these papers has been graciously provided by Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. The assistance of the editors, Prof. Bo-Christer Björk and Dr. Adina Jägbeck, is gratefully appreciated.


Futcher K G

User survey on a wan portfolio M.I.S. used for porfolio/project management in Hong Kong.

Abstract: This paper presents the results of recent research into the user expectations for a Management_Information_System (MIS) for the project/portfolio-managed delivery of a large and diverse range of projects. In 1998, the Works Bureau of the Government of Hong Kong undertook objective measurement of the extent that an MIS, called the PW_MS, contributed to the successful project and portfolio management of its large and diverse portfolio of more than two thousand public works projects. This rolling-programme of projects includes up to 72 types of public infrastructure. The delivery process depends on a highly differentiated organisation in which each of the public works departments has different staffing levels, workloads, locations, and each undertake different types of work. The objective of the assessment was to determine: · the extent that the PW_MS was successfully used for the management of individual projects; · the extent that the PW_MS was successfully used to help manage the portfolios-of-projects overall; · the extent that other means of data collection and reporting that are otherwise used for both of these functions; and, · to identify the requirements for an improved MIS. This paper presents the results of this postal survey of a population of five hundred and eighty-four authorised users of the PW_MS. It is a complex WAN system, with 168 terminals in the client and public works offices for operational access to the MIS. It has routines for the planning, reporting and monitoring of the cost, time and scope aspects of each project in the PWP. It establishes a fixed plan for each project and provides an audit trail of progress towards completion. The data in the system is combined to provide summary reports of portfolios of projects. A random selection from the User-population was used to form a population-sample for the postal questionnaire survey. The sample frame was constrained to ensure a 95% confidence limit that the response was statistically indicative of the population; and that it included sufficient numbers of the primary classes of users to also ensure a 95% confidence limit that the response was indicative of these strata of the population. This methodology is described in the paper. A sixty-five percent response was achieved. The results show that the User satisfaction with the PW_MS is not high. The results state a range of User dissatisfactions but they do not call for a fundamental change in approach: they validate the exploitation of proven, readily available, information technology for the management of portfolio-of-projects. Portfolio-management and project management is enabled by these techniques although the survey results indicate that more can be done to improve the man-machine interface. The results identify key-areas for such improvement. These findings are presented in the paper.

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Full text: content.pdf (182,628 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2001 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.social (0.023977) class.impact (0.022037) class.strategies (0.021118)
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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.


G Gudnason, J Hyvärinen, C Finne & S Larsson

eProCon: electronic Product Information in Construction

Abstract: The lack of industry standards and agreements for electronic presentation of information on building products is hampering seamless eWork, eProcurement and integration of value chain activities in the construction industry. Technical and trade information about building products is not available in electronic form to designers, contractors and facility managers that would make it possible for them to easily re-use it in design systems and to find, compare and procure products on-line. The eProCon project brings together nine partner organizations: the Building Information Centers in all five Nordic countries, two technology partners and two research institutes. The purpose of this consortium is to demonstrate a dynamic value adding information services network in the Nordic countries for brokering building product information by electronic means. The Building Information Centers have been brokering building product information on behalf of manufactures for more then 20 years to the construction sector, using proprietary information systems that are incompatible in content, functionality and technical solution. The primary impact the eProCon project will have on the current state of the art is enabling interoperability between these systems and allowing them to share content (and enrich the content), thus becoming one virtual service available for all Nordic end-users. The demonstrated integration platform, applying Service Oriented Architecture, includes: 1) the core integration layer enabling the existing Nordic information services and a new product portal to act as a single Nordic virtual service to its end-user, 2) the update layer enabling manufacturers and suppliers to interact with the information contained in the services and 3) the catalog layer, which enables 3rd party buy applications to access the information. The paper will report on the approach selected in the eProCon project and first prototype implementations.

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Series: w78:2005 (browse)
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Permission to reproduce these papers has been graciously provided by the Technische Universität Dresden.


Grabska E, Borkowski A

Generating floor layouts by means of composite representation

Abstract: The paper deals with the design of single-family houses. Within the framework of graph trans- formations we introduce the composite representation. It facilitates reasoning about design at two levels: the syntactic level and the semantic level. The design process includes the interaction of constraints and design context with the graph rules used to describe topological properties. Several examples demonstrate application of the developed software.

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Series: ecce:1997 (browse)
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Guss C

Virtual teams, project management processes and the construction industry

Abstract: Process is the "action of going through, a progressive forward movement from one point to another, with the goal of reaching an end point" 1. Project managers in the construction industry tend to regard process as the completion of separate technical tasks to reach an end. What project managers do not ask is, what happens in the process of communicating that contributes to a successful or poor project. The answer remains elusive because project managers expend energy finding better management tools and techniques, not communication processes to help expose and overcome limitations and inefficiencies of projects. Some tools provide a means to examine overall project success, but typically discrete time phases are examined in projects. Deming’s teachings are clear in that improvement in the quality of projects demand improvements in processes. One of the key process improvements that the construction industry needs to make is the area of communication to facilitate the transfer of knowledge between teams and projects. In the future, the industry will find it more difficult to rely on tacit knowledge (on the job know-how) of organizations or individuals in virtual environments.movement from one point to another, with the goal of reaching an end point” 1. Project managers in the construction industry tend to regard process as the completion of separate technical tasks to reach an end. What project managers do not ask is, what happens in the process of communicating that contributes to a successful or poor project. The answer remains elusive because project managers expend energy finding better management tools and techniques, not communication processes to help expose and overcome limitations and inefficiencies of projects. Some tools provide a means to examine overall project success, but typically discrete time phases are examined in projects. Deming’s teachings are clear in that improvement in the quality of projects demand improvements in processes. One of the key process improvements that the construction industry needs to make is the area of communication to facilitate the transfer of knowledge between teams and projects. In the future, the industry will find it more difficult to rely on tacit knowledge (on the job know-how) of organizations or individuals in virtual environments. Global trends to outsource work and downsize employee pools combined with the widespread availability of telecommunications devices continue to push organizations into considering ‘virtual employment’. Despite knowing that additional full-time employees often cause greater negative utility, the construction business continues to lag behind in use of communication technology and in the development of virtual teams. In the future, a shift to virtual teams will be a consequence of the need for high speed communication of new ideas among experts world-wide, for a competitive edge. Challenges are in using telecommunications tools to overcome geographic and psychological distance in managerial and technical communication. This paper discusses the future need for virtual teams in the construction industry. Some useful communication processes and technologies that facilitate a transition to virtual teams are introduced. These include: desktop videoconferencing, public video networks, Group Decision Support Systems, and the Internet. Advances in procurement capability is discussed to show impacts on the construction industry.

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Full text: content.pdf (60,477 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:1996 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.education (0.033332) class.communication (0.027279) class.social (0.025990)
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Permission to reproduce these papers has been graciously provided by the University of Ljubljana. The assistance of the editor, Prof. Ziga Turk, is gratefully appreciated.


Haksever A M

A model to predict the occurrence of information overload of project managers

Abstract: "This paper investigates information overload of construction project managers. The aim is to identify its occurrence pattern and predict the occurrence probabilities in a given circumstance, as a project manager’s information load is inconstant in nature, fluctuating over time, changing character and source. First, a conceptual definition of information overload is developed, using time as the criterion to describe information load. Information overload for a project manager is taken as occurring when the demands on information processing time exceed the supply of time. Second, the variation of information load throughout the project is structured using the interaction of a project manager with project members through the stages of a project. These two elements are combined in a matrix format where values for information overload are ascribed to cells representing the interaction with each member during each stage of the project. Six key project members, and four project stages are defined. To allow the subjective quantification of information overload, five practical situations of real life information overload are described, of which one must be chosen for each of the twenty four stage-member cells. To test the model and calculate the probabilities of information overload, data were collected using a questionnaire survey of 140 project managers in the UK. Respondents were asked to select the relevant situation for each cell in the matrix. The resulting matrices had a weighting system applied and a mean calculated for each circumstance to create an Information Load Point (ILP), presented in an Information Load Matrix (ILM). The application of ‘Ordinal Logistic Regression’ into the ILP scores provides a predictive outcome, which gives the probabilities of a project manager being in any of the predetermined five information overload situations at any stage with any member. The detailed account of the calculations and the outcome of the analysis are presented. The results revealed that the extent and sources of information overload of construction project managers vary throughout the stages of a project. The construction stage has the highest probability of information overload, followed by the design stage. The main sources of information overload are the project participants contributing the key expertise in each stage. In the design stage, the key contributors are architects and consultants, and in the construction stage, contractors and sub-contractors. Architects’ and consultants’ contributions to information overload show a similar pattern through the project duration, as do those of contractors and sub-contractors. This is the first of its kind in construction project management and provides an invaluable source of reference and guidance on the probabilities of the occurrence of information overload in a construction project. The model predicts the situations where information overload is high, moderate, low or non-existent. It is then possible to concentrate on those overloaded areas by using the appropriate means or strategies."

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Full text: content.pdf (393,534 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2000 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.strategies (0.016354) class.man-software (0.013484) class.impact (0.012353)
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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


Hannus M

Implementation of object oriented product model applications

Abstract: The paper describes implementation aspects of object oriented applications using different software tools such as a CAD-system, a relational data base management system and an object oriented programming language. The different implementations are based on a common generic product model and are integrated by means of neutral file transfer. The modules make up a toolbox from which various specific applications can be derived by adding application specific subclasses. The described development aims to provide steps along an evolutionary path from the dominating design tools of today towards the envisioned object oriented systems of tomorrow.

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Full text: content.pdf (1,095,442 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:1991 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.software development (0.066597) class.bestPractise (0.030391) class.education (0.020374)
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Permission to reproduce these papers has been graciously provided by Eindhoven University of Technology.


Hannus M

Information model for performance driven computer integrated construction

Abstract: A generic information model for computer integrated constructionis presented. The viewpoint is performance driven design and construction, quality management and computerised information management over the life cycle of a building. The building information management process is divided into subprocesses by means of hierarchical activity models. Accordingly, conceptual data models controlling each subprocess are presented. For instance, the design process is controlled by a design data model. The data models also illustrate integration of traditional classification approach into product models.

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Full text: content.pdf (1,249,428 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:1992 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.represent (0.030805) class.processing (0.017651) class.retrieve (0.011166)
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Permission to reproduce these papers has been graciously provided by Research Press of the National Research Council of Canada. The support of the editor, Dr. Dana Vanier, is gratefully appreciated.


Hansen K L, Gann D M, Groak S

Process improvement a survey of IT-based approaches & tools

Abstract: In today's world, with ever changing technologies and markets, engineering and construction firms are pressured not only to deliver high quality products and services within schedule and budget but also to be responsive to clients, adaptable, and flexible. Furthermore, organisations must assimilate increasing IT requirements and capabilities into their processes. Against this background, process representation tools can provide analytical methods useful in determining the value of specific processes as well as a means of improving these processes. This paper explores the possibilities and limitations of computer-based process representation tools and gives best practice examples from manufacturing, software development, and construction.

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Series: ecce:1997 (browse)
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Heinisuo M, Karstila K, Pehrsson R

Product modelling and data exchange for constructional steelwork

Abstract: "The paper includes summaries of three national development projects, which all deal with product modelling and data exchange of structural steelwork. Two of the projects belong to Finnsteel technology program, one belongs to Vera technology program and both these programs are organized by TEKES of Finland. In all the three projects product data models applying ISO 10303-11 (EXPRESS) and product data exchange based on ISO 10303-21 have been used to define the models and to carry out the data exchange between organizations and between disciplines. The views to structural steelwork have been different in all the projects. The first project is called SteelBase, the second FST-EXPERT and the third FinnST-1. The largest project, SteelBase (three years, 28 companies) was focused to the data exchange between the steel designer and the steel product fabricator and to the education of the creator and the end user of the product data. The second project, FST-EXPERT was mainly focused to the product modelling and to the data exchange between geometrical modelling, structural analysis and cost estimation i.e data exchange within the organization but between disciplines. The third project, FinnST-1 is scoped to the structural steelwork data exchange between organizations generally. FinnST-1 project includes mapping between the CIMsteel Integration Standards from the CIMsteel Eureka project and the Industry Foundation Classes from the International Alliance for Interoperability. All the projects include much basic studies within the field of product modelling, some new findings and a lot of experience for the people involved with the projects. It is believed, that this experience is a good starting point to the new century with its challenges. The most essential results of the three projects are presented and summarized in the paper. Some results are e.g. (SteelBase) evaluation of possible STEP based product models for steel structures, basic data definitions needed for the data exchange between the designer and the fabricator, and the effect of that definition to the CIMsteel standard (from R1.1 to R2.0), mapping of product data following the needs of different organizations, and the importance of the education for these new things. In FST-EXPERT project it is shown, that the mapping with some ""intelligence"" between the geometrical model and the structural analysis (FEM) model can be a powerful tool if neutral data files are used for the data exchange. The power means here total independency of the CAD-program and the FEM-program and moreover in this case the cost estimation and strength check can be integrated to the design process applying neutral STEP-files. Finally, FinnST-1 project brings all the work done in the other projects to the use of all the organizations involved into the building project. Also, the possibilities to perform the mapping between STEP-models are new information."

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Full text: content.pdf (502,162 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2000 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.analysis (0.040417) class.software-software (0.035655) class.represent (0.025541)
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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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