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Paper w78-2010-48:
IT Barometer New Zealand A Survey of Computer Use and Attitudes in the New Zealand Construction Industry

Facilitated by the SciX project

Kathryn Davies

IT Barometer New Zealand A Survey of Computer Use and Attitudes in the New Zealand Construction Industry

Abstract: Building productivity in New Zealand lags other countries and industries which invest more heavily in technology. Improved productivity of the construction sector is widely touted as a significant factor in boosting the performance of the country as a whole. Application of IT has for some time been hailed as the key to implementing such productivity gains. International initiatives such as BuildSmart and Integrated Design & Delivery Solutions (IDDS) are very strongly oriented around improving construction through IT. To use their findings, and to allow informed decision making in IT investment, development and education, the New Zealand construction industry needs more information on the current state of IT use.This paper reports on a national survey undertaken in 2009/2010, based on the IT Barometer questionnaire. Elements of a 1997 New Zealand survey of construction IT use, were also incorporated to allow longitudinal analysis.The target population was the construction and facility management sector, in this case including the whole of New Zealand. A wide range of professions fall into this population, including architects (architectural designers and draughtspersons); technical consultants (engineers, quantity surveyors, project managers); contractors and sub-contractors; property owners and managers; and the materials industry (manufacturers and suppliers). The questionnaire was delivered to 388 companies, and 81 completed responses were received, a response rate of 21%.Results show that while most companies use computers, for many it is primarily a business tool for administrative functions, rather than a tool in the construction process. Use of specialist construction-focused programs has increased, however, and interest in project webs is also growing. A fundamental barrier to increased use of IT is the cost of investment, with several respondents commenting that this is due to the staff time and disruption involved and not simply the financial cost of the hardware and software required.

Keywords: survey, IT barometer, computer use, New Zealand

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