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Paper w78-1993-2-183:
Myth and reality in the use of IT and computer based technologies in construction

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Drewer S, Hazlehurst G

Myth and reality in the use of IT and computer based technologies in construction

Abstract:IT and computer based technologies are a catalyst for focusing attention of managers on technical and commercial efficiency. It is sometimes argued that a detailed evaluation of existing practices, in itself, generates a better understanding of the factors constraining efficiency. But it is also argued that it is the computer based technologies themselves which deliver improvements in efficiency. Because the construction process is fragmented, the overall efficiency of the process might ' a priori ' be enhanced by the use of IT and computer based technologies. However, this assumes that a coherent strategy for their use is in place, both within individual companies and practices, and within the wider construction process. Our current research has highlighted a problem, within a majority of construction engineering and design organisations, which constrains the development of 'IT' beyond that of discrete applications. The lack of a coherent strategy for the integration of these technologies within a company is a major constraint on their effective use within the organisation. The integration of the use of the technologies between separate organisations within the construction process, posits problems of an even greater level of complexity. This paper, has two primary objectives: to articulate the major constraints to the effective use of ' IT ' in order to develop a set of relevant criteria for evaluating future investments; and to examine the rationale for, and mechanisms through which, integrated systems, both within organisations and the construction process, may be introduced.

Keywords:construction; information technology; management; technology transfer; corporate strategies

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Permission to reproduce these papers has been graciously provided by the National University of Singapore. The assistance of the editors, particularly Prof. Martin Betts, is gratefully appreciated.

 

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