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Björk B-C

Document management - a key IT technology for the construction industry

Abstract: The IT infrastructure of today offers excellent opportunities for the construction industry to workmore efficiently by managing its documents in a digital form on the Internet. Nevertheless IT has sofar had more effect on the production of documents than on their efficient transfer and retrieval. Inthis paper the historical developments in construction computing over the last decades are outlined;how technical innovations such as photocopying, the fax, the personal computer, local areanetworks and finally the Internet have effected the production, storage, duplication and transfer ofinformation. Key features in current web based document systems are shortly described, withspecial emphasis on alternative search methods such as hierarchical folders or meta datarepositories. The integration of document management systems with other Internet based ASPservicesin vertical construction industry portals is also discussed. The paper finishes by outliningsome current trends, which seem to be leading towards the survival of a few dominant systems.

Keywords: Construction, document management, Internet, ASP

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Full text: content.pdf (361,292 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: ecce:2001 (browse)
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Chen Y, Amor R

Identification and classification of A/E/C web sites and pages

Abstract: Current search engines are not well suited to serving the needs of A/E/C professionals. The general ones do not know about the vocabulary of the domain (e.g., so 'window' is a meaningless word) or rely on human classification (which severely limits the percentage of sites which are indexed). Domain specific databases and hot lists tend to be the only other option. While these have very good information they reflect a very small proportion of what is on the web. This paper looks at a system for automated classification of web sites and pages in the A/E/C domain. In particular, we concentrate on web sites and pages in New Zealand, and use the common classification system for the New Zealand construction industry (CBI). For this particular problem it is clear that no single approach to classifying web information gives a perfect answer. We therefore combine several approaches for automated classification, including: · Identifying web sites that are already classified by other Internet portals and mapping these classifications to the CBI classification system. · Extracting keywords from web pages and sites and then finding the relationships between the extracted keywords and topics in the CBI classification system. · Using link analysis to find related web pages on a certain topic in the CBI classification system. When an A/E/C professional searches with our system we determine metrics for each approach above, and find the best combination of approaches to determine a classification and hence the resultant web sites and pages. This paper describes the components of the search engine which has been created and provides an analysis of the classification approaches.

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Full text: content.pdf (171,531 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2002 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.collaboration (0.067651) class.retrieve (0.043347) class.man-software (0.025151)
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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.


G Kapogiannis, F Khosrowshahi, J Underwood

Digital Services for Construction Small and Medium Enterprises: A Conceptual Business Model

Abstract: The rapid deployment of web technologies delivers information from diverse sources in the world of digital business in a unified way. Within the construction industry the demand for investments in the digital dimension has raised very fast indicating a trend towards on-line collaboration services usually offered through a web portal. The main purpose of this research is to examine how the use of a web portal enhances the mission of construction Small Medium Enterprises (SME) in the local, national and international economy. Therefore, features and services captured from existing construction web portals are listed quantitatively to indicate those that are important to support the enterprise needs of construction managers and directors. Additionally the common practical and essential features considered in the technical and contextual design of a web portal geared for the use within the domain of construction SMEs in order to promote enterprise continuity in digital business are briefly presented. Results indicate potential support of interaction and collaboration among partners in the construction industry due to direct information accessibility as well as an attractive web platform developed based upon their daily needs. Therefore the need to develop a web business model is suggested to enhance the role of construction SMEs with a focus on online collaboration (online services). This model aspires to provide potential practical on-line dissemination of knowledge within construction SMEs to help the world of construction managers and directors in order for them to be more efficient, effective and creative when developing new businesses, new ideas and new projects. This model is partitioned to accommodate for flexible and scalable technological infrastructures that offer the necessary web services addressed to construction SMEs.

Keywords: Construction SME, Web Portal Technologies, Web Services, Virtual Organisation, Communication

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Full text: content.pdf (330,893 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2011 (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.


Lin Chao, Goh Bee Hua

Process modelling of E-procurement in the Singapore construction industry

Abstract: The E-commerce, as a new trading and business mode through the Internet, has started to penetrate all industry sectors aggressively in Singapore. As value of construction procurement usually accounts for about 70%-80% of the contract value, more and more portals are being set up by local and overseas companies to target the market, especially in building resources procurement, real estate marketing, etc. This research will focus on the process modelling of the E-procurement in construction, i.e. the reengineering of the E-procurement process in construction, based on the current traditional procurement practice, the survey in local construction industry, and the survey in local construction portal providers. The objectives of the research are to promote IT in Singapore and to reduce the duplication of work in current construction procurement. The ideal model will be proposed after the analysis of the above surveys and the final Eprocurement process modelling will be in a format of IDEF0, which is a typical diagramming method for process modelling.

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Full text: content.pdf (88,385 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2002 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.strategies (0.080943) class.collaboration (0.060178) class.commerce (0.037604)
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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.


Murray M, Lai A

The integrated use of information technology in the construction industry

Abstract: Over the last 12 months the use of IT in global business has started to move from the theoretically possible to reality. Large sums of venture capital have been invested, and lost, in e-business with the establishment of business-to-business portals, company web sites for information dissemination and sharing and other initiatives. In the construction industry large construction companies are starting to cooperate in setting up procurement web-sites but the general situation is one of fragmentation: IT is used on a task-specific basis as apposed to in an integrated manner by the various professions within the industry. In this paper the authors will report on IT tools available, and in use, along the design – construction production chain: by surveyors, consulting engineers, quantity surveyors, owners, property developers, contractors and subcontractors. It is argued that, with the development of powerful web sites, it will shortly be possible to integrate available software on a project by project basis, leading to increased time and cost efficiency in the construction cycle. Finally, it is pointed out that since IT is a knowledge-based global activity requiring relatively little capital investment there is no reason why African countries shouldn’t quickly join the construction IT revolution.

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Full text: content.pdf (379,619 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2001 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.collaboration (0.057490) class.commerce (0.028674) class.strategies (0.017391)
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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.


Shaaban S M, Kamara J M

Online Information Access Systems in the Construction Industry

Abstract: The growth and widespread use of the Internet and World Wide Web (WWW) has led to increased dependence on online information resources in the construction industry, and with it, the problem of information overload. This has also led to the development of various Online Information Access Systems (OIAS) such as search engines and domain specific web portals, to ensure the retrieval of relevant information from the WWW. This paper provides an overview of current OIAS in the construction industry. It discusses the issues relating to OIAS and uses the results from a detailed study of information seeking patterns of industry professionals to assess their effectiveness. The paper concludes with suggestions on how Online Information Access Systems can be improved using Information Visualisation (IV) techniques.

Keywords: construction industry, information seeking, information visualisation, online information access systems

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Full text: content.pdf (311,621 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: itaec:2004 (browse)
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Tah J H M, Carr V

How do small and medium-sized consultancy practices perceive information technology in the new economy?

Abstract: Information Technology (IT) is very much an enabler, and there are many perceived benefits from its successful implementation within an organisation, including time savings, reduced waste, better information exchange, and even cost savings. However, the rapid changes taking place in this area are potentially problematic for the many small businesses involved in what is essentially a very fragmented construction industry. A series of five recent workshops, held at South Bank University in collaboration with the Construction Industry Council, the Department of the Environment, Transport and Regions, and the Information Technology Construction Best Practice programme, aimed to deal with this issue, and to solicit the opinions of those most closely involved. Attendees were invited from a number of professions, including engineers, architects, building surveyors, and quantity surveyors, all of whom were from consultancy practices which can be considered to be small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) within the construction industry. The IT knowledge of the attendees varied from novices who realised their computing skills were lacking, to IT managers and directors whose knowledge of systems and support issues was considerable. Presentations were made on the future of IT within the construction industry, and by professionals with considerable experience of implementing IT strategies in construction organisations. The ensuing discussions covered many areas of concern, including: the problems and difficulties associated with implementing a successful IT strategy within a construction SME; the merits and flaws of moving away from document-driven models to a data-repository-driven central project model; the potential for E-commerce and the use of the Internet within construction; the rise of construction web portals, and the use of web-based collaboration; problems and concerns associated with interoperability and standards within the construction software domain; and the role of other technologies, such as virtual reality, within the industry. There were many concerns from the attendees regarding the current use of IT in construction. It was generally seen as something which was necessary – even vital – to the success of organisations, but many felt that, as a consequence, they were being forced to deal with issues which shouldn’t exist ideally (such as the lack of computer-aided drawing (CAD) standards, and the multiple vendors in the CAD software market.) Also, some felt that they were being pushed down IT routes they wouldn’t have previously considered due to the requirements of clients. Indeed, a number of attendees felt that something which was sold as being greatly beneficial to many organisations seemed to consume vast quantities of resources in some cases, yet there was still very much a feeling of a need to ‘be in there.’ Details of the demographics of the attendees are presented, and the subjects of greatest concern during the discussions are detailed thoroughly. The paper aims to provide a snapshot of the IT concerns of SMEs in the construction industry as it enters the 21st century.

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Full text: content.pdf (174,541 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2001 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.collaboration (0.069301) class.economic (0.044484) class.communication (0.037222)
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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.


Thayaparan Gajendran, Graham Brewer

Use of Online Communication Portals in Construction Projects: Issues Associated to Alignment of Technology and Processes

Abstract: The online portals have been in use as an information and communication tool for some time in construction projects. Although they have brought significant benefits, the way they are implemented in projects is crucial to deliver the desired outcomes. Technology and processes are two critical agents that determine the effective use of online portals, as in any other Information and Communication Technology initiative. Moreover the challenges facing alignment of technology and processes in online portal implementation is greater in ‘intra organisation’ context than in ‘inter organisation’. The supply chain perspective is employed to contextualise the intra organisation focus in the context of this research. Therefore, this paper aims identify technology and process alignment issues when online portals are used to share information and to communicate across construction project supply chains. A case study strategy using interview method is employed to collect data. Coding and thematic analysis is used to identify the relevant issues. This paper will conclude by identifying technological and process issues impacting on the flow of information and communication in construction project.

Keywords: Online portals, technology, process, alignment, supply chain

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Full text: content.pdf (332,806 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2010 (browse)
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U Forgber

Infrastructure Lifecycle Management

Abstract: Over the last ten years, the Architecture Engineering and Construction Industry (AEC) came under the growing influence of web based project portals and hereon constitutive software services. At first, research projects utilized the internet as an infrastructure to distribute collaborative environments to dedicated communities (e.g. research, development, application in practice [Kohler 1997]). Soon after, the most promising rudiments found their way into the real world and became - in many ways - supplement to the existing world of desktop- and client server based software structures. As a niche entity, many project portals world wide gained momentum and became every day tools for project collaboration, process support and embedded applications.

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Full text: content.pdf (134,213 bytes) (available to registered users only)

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


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