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Aish R

Extensible enterprise computing for construction as a necessary pre-cursor for collaborative engineering

Abstract: "Our focus is to consider the construction industry as essentially an information processing system. In its ideal form, practitioners (each with an individual internal representation of design intent) interact with other practitioners by first interacting with an information processing system that manages various shared external representation of design intent. The underlying assumption (from an information technologist's perspective) is that design data is held in a sufficiently complete representation, and that changes to this representation are transactions that move the representation from one consistent state to another. We might call this 'enterprise computing' for construction. This ideal of 'enterprise computing' for construction can be compared to the realities of current practice. - Due to its fragmentation, the construction industry generally perceives its use of information technology in terms of multiple discrete 'individual' systems (with the resulting proliferation of discrete documents) rather than as an enterprise systems. - The drawing tradition, which represents building in 2D, with different representations of the same design split across multiple independently editable documents inhibits consistent management of design and the use of analytical tools. While these may be familiar arguments, there are new object oriented and data management tools emerging from key software developer, such as Bentley Systems, that are designed to address the specific needs of a 'construction enterprise', namely geometric generality, multiple application semantics, multi-user access, and transaction management. These systems also address the scalability and reliability issues required for deployment in practice. Again, arguments for (and advantages of) systems of this type have been discussed in the research literature for more than two decades. The difference is that these systems are ready for deployment. But with this prospect for a broader application of 'Enterprise Computing' for Construction, there are associated other significant issues which may concern both the 'strategic' and the 'creative' practitioners, namely: - Semantic completeness: building a sufficiently complete multi-disciplinary representation of design intent - Data integrity: where any intelligent components are used, these should not become 'orphaned', for example, by object ""instance"" data being detached from the definitions of the corresponding class - Data longevity: the integrity of design and other data should be maintained for the life-time of the building, across new hardware platforms and operating systems. Upgrades to the application and any intelligent components should not disrupt or invalidate existing data - Parallelisation of design: individual designers or engineers should be able to work in parallel, and then be able to synchronize their changes to design data with co-workers - Expressibility: architectural design and construction engineering are open-ended domains. Additional intelligent components should be capable of being added on a ""per project"" basis. Within this context, this paper will explore the essential 'tension' that exists within the Architecture and Construction sectors. On the one hand, there is a perceived need by construction managers for computing tools based on clearly defined and agreed schema to control the construction process (thereby giving economic advantage, comparability, etc.). On the other hand, creative designers who are under other competitive pressures, are expecting a different set of computing tools to allow the exploration of new building configurations and construction geometry. While in the former case a standardisation of schema (as the foundation of a traditional ""Enterprise Computing"" system) would appear to be in order, in the later case the essential 'open-ended-ness' of the creative process demands ""extensibility"" as a pre-requisite of any computing system. These differing requirements (and indeed, attitudes) within the user community, presents software developers with interesting challenges. What technologies (for example, object and/or relational) and what 'domain abstractions' are appropriate foundations for solutions for these differing requirements. Or indeed, what technologies and 'domain abstractions' can be used as the basis for broader set of applications whose design is intended to unify across this apparent ""management-creative"" divide…hence the theme of this paper: ""'Extensible Enterprise Computing' for Construction"". Fundamentally, this is not exclusively an issue of technology. We need to address both the technical and cultural issues if we are to realise our collective ambition of providing effective tools with which to support collaboration between the diverse range of interests that occur within the Architecture and Construction sectors."

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Full text: content.pdf (827,728 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2000 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.communication (0.034023) class.software development (0.019513) class.represent (0.017320)
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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


Andresen J, Baldwin A, Betts M, Carter C, Hamilton A, Stokes E, Thorpe T

A Framework for Measuring IT Innovation Benefits

Abstract: This paper presents a new framework for measuring the benefits of IT in construction. The framework is based on the principle that benefits realisation must be managed by: planning for strategic alignment and business-driven exploitation, managing the process of predicting benefits, and by measuring resulting benefits after a system or innovation is implemented. Three distinct types of benefits are identified within the new framework associated with business efficiency, business effectiveness and business performance. A key barrier to the more effective exploitation and application of IT in the construction sector has been the lack of investment on a scale comparable with other sectors. A primary reason cited for the low level of investment is the low level of perceived benefits from IT investments amongst construction business managers. Many benefits evaluation methods exist and are widely applied in other sectors. Benefits evaluation methods in construction are under-utilised. One reason for this is the lack of fit between these methods, and their associated language, with the peculiarities of the construction sector. The new framework presented in this paper has been derived for specific application to the construction sector. The framework has been subjected to testing and application within UK construction organisations. The results of this testing suggest a number of improvements in the benefits realisation process.

Keywords: information technology, business benefits, innovation, evaluation framework

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Full text: http://www.itcon.org/2000/4 (available to registered users only)

Series: itcon:2000 (browse)
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Choudhury I

International construction projects: effects of cross-cultural training on the productivity of project Personnel

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine the perceived effects of cross-cultural training of project personnel, involved with the construction of international projects by US contractors, on their productivity. It is indicated by a number of studies that cross-cultural training of the project personnel is an important factor for successful implementation of construction projects away from home. Some other studies, particularly related to international business, suggest that important issues for a meaningful cross-cultural training include an exposure to the prevailing environmental, economic, political, linguistic, political, and technological factors of the host country. The study investigated whether these factors are relevant for international construction with reference to the project personnel employed by the US contractors operating in an international environment. The study population consisted of US contractors who operate globally. Relevant data was collected by mail using a survey instrument. Sample size of the study was 35 contractors. The data was analyzed using multiple regression technique. The findings generated from the analysis of the data indicated that the effects of the knowledge of environmental, technological, economic, linguistic, labor, and social issues related to the host country were statistically significant on the productivity of the project personnel employed by the contractors for implementation of international construction projects.

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Full text: content.pdf (202,293 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2000 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.social (0.039175) class.economic (0.018187) class.strategies (0.016599)
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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


Christer Finne

Perceived customer value in construction information services

Abstract: The information needed to design, construct and manage a building is nowadays mainly produced, stored and made available in digital form. Information is produced partly in the design process itself. Design and procurement documents refer only to information produced elsewhere as external printed matter or databases (for example, describ-ing building products). An important channel for such external information is provided by specialized information service providers. In order to meet competition from companies’ homepages, search machines, internet start-up companies etc, established info-mediaries need to rethink their services as well as their business processes. A key issue is achieving a deep understand-ing of how customers perceive the value of these services and products compared to those of new competition enabled by the internet. A study of new business patterns and networks provides the empirical support for the concepts exam-ined in this paper. Traditionally, value is regarded as something inherent in the product; and which is handed over to the customer. More recently, research argues that value cannot be pre-produced. Value is co-produced by the customer, partly as a result of interactions between the customer and the supplier or the service provider. For services, value is, according to this view, produced and consumed simultaneously. Using this theoretical framework as a basis, the conclusions of the study are that it is not enough for construction infomediaries to produce just digitised versions of their traditional products, e.g. printed standards, and product sheets. They also need to gain a thorough understanding of their customers' busi-ness processes and, instead of producing products (or services), become facilitators of value creation for customers.

Keywords: construction infomediaries, customer value, information service providers, product information

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Full text: content.pdf (783,130 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2007 (browse)
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Clarke P, Clarke J

Analysis of phenomenological perceptions of effectiveness of information technology in computerised maintenance management

Abstract: The general aim of this empirical research was to examine the phenomenological perceptions of both asset managers and support or ancillary staff using qualitative and quantitative analysis for the purpose of assessing efficiency of information technology in a public sector building construction maintenance management environment, particularly to develop a framework technique that will be useful to investigate such fundamental phenomenological facets as efficiency of training and information technology, the effect of information technology on human relations within the workplace, the perceived impact of information technology on the efficiency of occupational performance, and a summative evaluation of information technology in the asset management environment. Empirical investigation by structured interview with both management and support staff within a public sector asset management organisation was undertaken. The data was analysed through unpaired t-tests between asset managers and support staff, and dichotomous questions for experienced versus inexperienced employees and employees as differentiated by age. The results of the analysis revealed that both asset managers and support staff perceive information technology as beneficial in terms of both qualitative and quantitative outcomes. Further it would appear that individually at all levels within the maintenance management sphere exhibited phenomenological perceptions of information technology that were particularly favourable and overall were consistent with the conclusions of researchers who had observed information technology's benefits in terms of other quantitative and qualitative outcomes, in industry. Further research is suggested in the areas of customer satisfaction both prior to and subsequent to the implementation of more sophisticated information technology systems in addition to investigating the interaction between actual productivity levels and phenomenological perceptions of beneficial outcomes as a function of information technology.

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Full text: content.pdf (63,348 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:1999 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.environment (0.043979) class.impact (0.034129) class.economic (0.021698)
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Permission to reproduce these papers has been graciously provided by the Research Press of the National Research Council of Canada. The support of the editors, particularly Dr. Dana Vanier, is gratefully appreciated.


Clarke P, Heathcote K

A longitudinal study into perceptions of the effect of I.T. on training, human relations and productivity as function of position, age, experience and gender

Abstract: The general aim of this study was to provide an insight into the effectiveness of Information Technology (IT) in computerised maintenance management, with particular emphasis on the effect IT has on training, humsan relations and productivity as a function of position, age, experience and gender. The study follows up on previous work carried out by Clarke into the differing perceptions of management and support staff regarding the introduction of a computerised IT system into a large public service asset management organisation in Australia. The framework technique developed in this study was used to identify trends in perceptions of such fundamental facets as efficiency of training and information technology, the effect of information technology on human relations within the workplace, the perceived impact of information technology on the efficiency of occupational performance, as a function of position (within the organisation), age, experience and gender. The empirical data was collected through structured interview within a large public sector asset management organisation. The data was collated and examined under categories of training, human relations and productivity as a function of position, age, experience and gender. Results obtained from this study were statistically analysed to measure the significance of variations in perceptions between management and support staff, younger and older, inexperienced and experienced together with female and male staff. The analysis revealed that all groups perceived IT as beneficial in terms of training, human relations and both qualitative and quantitative outcomes. The level of satisfaction supports previous researchers findings regarding the benefits of IT in terms of other quantitative and qualitative outcomes, in industry. Further research is suggested in the areas of satisfaction with training for new IT implementations, level of perceived control in occupational performance, level of quality of service provided and the level of output as a function of IT.

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Full text: content.pdf (150,840 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2001 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.impact (0.030330) class.environment (0.027611) class.economic (0.017073)
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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.


Clarke P

Effectiveness of I.T. in computerised maintenance management: a longitudinal study of the analysis of phenomenological perceptions.

Abstract: The longitudinal study was conducted in a public sector building construction maintenance management environment where a new computerised maintenance management system is in use in New South Wales, Australia. The aims of this longitudinal, empirical research are to examine the phenomenological perceptions of both asset managers and support or ancillary staff using qualitative and quantitative analysis for the purpose of assessing efficiency of information technology in a public sector building construction maintenance management environment and to develop a framework technique that will be useful to investigate such fundamental facets as efficiency of training and information technology, the effect of information technology on human relations within the workplace, the perceived impact of information technology on the efficiency of occupational performance, and a summative evaluation of information technology in the asset management environment. Empirical investigation was carried out through structured interview with both management and support staff within a public sector asset management organisation, subsequent to the introduction of a new computerised maintenance management system in the environment being studied. The data was analysed through unpaired t-tests between asset managers and support staff, and dichotomous questions for experienced versus inexperienced employees and employees as differentiated by age. The tentative results of the analysis revealed that both asset managers and support staff perceive information technology as beneficial in terms of both qualitative and quantitative outcomes. Individuals from both levels of the environment being studied exhibited phenomenological perceptions of information technology that were particularly favourable and overall were consistent with the conclusions of researchers who had observed information technology’s benefits in terms of other quantitative and qualitative outcomes together with a comparable study of this environment carried out previously. Differences between the two studies indicate a reduction in the significance of the differences between the two groups regarding satisfaction with information technology as a whole. Further research is suggested in customer satisfaction, productivity levels and the interaction between perceptions and outcomes.

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Full text: content.pdf (184,921 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2000 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.environment (0.050079) class.impact (0.031689) class.economic (0.020147)
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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


Cornick T, Noble B, Hallahan C

The Limitations of current Working practices on the development of Computer Integrated Modelling in Construction

Abstract: For the Construction Industry to improve its processes through the application computer-based systems, traditional working practices must first change to support the integrated control of design and construction. Current manual methods of practice accept the limitations of man to process a wide range of building performance and production information simultaneously. However when these limitations are removed, through the applications of computer systems, the constraints of manual methods need no longer apply. The first generation of computer applications to the Construction Industry merely model ed the divided and sequential processes of manual methods i.e drafting, specification writing, engineering and quantity calculations, estimating, billing, material ordering data-bases and activity planning. Use of these systems raises expectations that connections within the computer between the processes model led can actually be made and faster and more integrated information processing be achieved. "Linking" software is then developed. The end result of this approach was that users were able to produce. information faster, present it in an impressive manner but, in reality, no perceived improvement in actual building performance, production economy or efficiency was realised. A current government sponsored Teaching Company Programme with a UK design and build company is addressing the problem of how real economic benefit can be realised through improvement in, amongst other things, their existing computer applications. This work is being carried out by both considering an academic conceptual model of how "designing for production" can be achieved in computer applications and what is immediately realisable in practice by modeling the integration of a limited number of knowledge domains to which computers are already being app1ied.i.e. billing from design, estimating and buying. This paper describes each area of work and how they are impacting on each other.

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Full text: content.pdf (1,052,816 bytes) (available to registered users only)

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Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.economic (0.051898) class.impact (0.047946) class.environment (0.045258)
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D. Grau

Characterizing the Non-Value-Added Relocation of Non-Bulk Components on Storage Yards

Abstract: In order to improve the effectiveness of an uncertain process _the outcomes of which cannot be predicted, key players need to unfold the variables that hide behind it and measure their impact on the process. Currently, the process of relocating non-bulk materials on storage yards mostly falls under this uncertainty domain. While the fact that pre-fabricated items need to be repositioned for purposes other than those strictly productive is widely assumed by industry organizations, there is a lack of detailed research to understand these non-value-added relocations. This research relies on a case study to analyze and to quantify the non-value-added relocation of steel components. The analysis of their daily position coordinates coupled with the characteristics of these steel components is used to characterize their relocations on a typical yard. Preliminary results indicate that the percentage of components unnecessarily repositioned is much larger than actually perceived by industry organizations.

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Full text: content.pdf (332,645 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2009 (browse)
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Eastman C, Augenbroe F

Product modeling strategies for today and the future

Abstract: Today, there is a growing set of technologies being developed for information exchange in the construction industry. These range from Aspect Models in specific product areas to large scale integrated product models, to new languages such as EXPRESS-X and EXPRESS-2. The purpose of this paper is to sort out and review these various efforts, from several different perspectives: * in terms of what can be used now or in the near future in a production form; * in terms of the significant technical issues and limitations that may require generation changes in exchange technologies; * in terms of external business practices (reflecting case studies), practical benchmarks and adoption criteria, political and other externalities that are affecting these efforts. The survey will review the following issues: * current capabilities of ISO-STEP Part definitions to support information exchange in the building industry; * current efforts by IAI, BCCM in STEP, and other parallel activities and their potential contribution and pitfalls (problems to be overcome); * different current research efforts and the problems and solutions they identify, including COMBINE, EDM-2, VEGA, work at CIFE at Stanford University. Hitherto underdeveloped model aspects, such as capturing the semantics of the client's brief, or capturing design evolution (program, decisions and rationale), modeling performance assessments, and others such as relevant standards, construction site handling, etceteras will be reviewed and priorities assessed. Over the last ten years, the set of requirements that a building product model must meet in order to be accepted in practice as a significant 'productivity enhancement has incrementally expanded. That is, as various research goals have been set, then met, the true extent of the challenge for realizing production-based building product modeling has grown. We will review this expanding set of requirements and attempt to scope their final range. These requirements include, among other aspects: * 'semantic coverage', * level of interoperability across applications, * level of embedded project management control, and * maintained linkages to parallel 'unstructured' information flows, e.g. managed by Engineering Data Management and Document Management software. It will be argued that a viable growth scenario regarding the semantic coverage of building models is likely to be a determining factor in the way that CAD vendors will embrace these as the basis for developing the next generation of architectural CAD software. Priorities of development will be identified and compared with perceived market pulls. The perspective taken will emphasize the US point of view. However, we will endeavor to also weight significantly the European situation and efforts. The result of these perspectives will be to identify 2-3 scenarios of future evolution in the area of building product modeling, with an assessment of their likelihood of coming to be, and the critical issues needed to accomplish them.

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Full text: content.pdf (86,802 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:1998 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.store (0.031024) class.roadmaps (0.018975) class.strategies (0.018828)
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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.


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