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Paper fea8:
Change and Exchange - Electronic Document Management in Building Design

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L÷wnertz, Kurt

Change and Exchange - Electronic Document Management in Building Design

Abstract: Producing documents using computer supported methods has become common practice in the construction industry, but the management of documents is still to a large degree done with manual methods. Some pioneering users in design, construction and facility management respectively have applied electronic document management (EDM) within their organisations or for projects. However, the introduction has hitherto been noticeably slow. This thesis discusses the benefits of the new document management techniques to the construction and facility management process, with focus on building design, as well as the obstacles when implementing these techniques. The construction sector process has some particular properties, differing from other industry sectors, in that a project organisation is formed anew for each project and involves a number of specialists with varying requirements for their company-internal production and management of documents. The main themes for EDM in building design are therefore how to manage the change of information and the exchange or sharing of information between the different organisations. The thesis contains a state-of-the-art description of document management in building design, including reviews of commercial applications, standards and current best practice. Basic techniques on a scale from file-hierarchy-based to product-model-based systems are classified and analysed from a building design perspective. Five cases of document management in practice have been studied. The companies studied are active within different design disciplines and have chosen to introduce and use EDM in different ways, with respect to technology as well as the information content that is managed. It is concluded that the different requirements can not be met by uniform methods for document management, but that the exchange of documents and their meta-data has to be supported by information standards which need to cover a number of levels from hardware to construction-specific classification. As a starting-point for further development a conceptual schema for document meta-data suited for building design is discussed. The overall result of the research provides requirements for specifying applications, standards and implementation procedures for electronic document management suited to the activities of building design and the interfaces to longterm information management concerning buildings.

Keywords: Document Management, Construction Process

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