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Paper w78-2010-133:
Making an Impact: Improving the use of ICT in a Leading Construction Company Through an Industry-Academia Partnership

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Ken Thomas, Brian Graham, Tim McCarthy, Pat Troy, David Crowe

Making an Impact: Improving the use of ICT in a Leading Construction Company Through an Industry-Academia Partnership

Abstract:This paper concerns the improved use of ICT in a leading Irish construction company via an Industry-Academia partnership. The partners are Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) and BAM Contractors, who are part of the wider Royal BAM Group based in the Netherlands. The bespoke MSc in Construction Project Management (MScCPM) programme that was developed through this partnership involves a number of modules, including one on ‘ICT in Construction’. The majority of the required assessments on the bespoke programme relate specifically to BAM business activities. BAM saw the benefits of getting the participant either individually or in groups to investigate issues that are of importance to the company. Each assessment was designed and agreed by the relevant WIT Module Leader and the associated BAM Expert in line with the agreed MScCPM framework. The processes of aligning the required programme assessments with topics and problems of direct interest to the company may not always have been straightforward, but the potential befits were clear to all concerned. In the case of the ‘ICT in Construction’ module the WIT Module Leader agreed the topics and approach with the BAM ICT Manager and his team. Essentially the group was divided up into six groups of three people and the other two participants were given individual projects. The group projects concerned the use of COINS, SharePoint, BIM, Project Planning software, ICT on Sites and Mobile ICT Devices. The individual projects related to the use of ICT in two other companies, BAM Nuttall and Suir Engineering. The background to these topics, how they were researched, the publication of the associated reports, the oral presentations to WIT and BAM Senior Management are described in this paper. Most importantly, the subsequent impact of these ICT projects on the BAM people, processes and technologies are also considered.

Keywords:ICT, Construction, Industry-Academia Partnership, Work-Integrated Learning

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