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Paper w78_2007_58:
Benefits of ICT in the construction industry – characterization of the present situation in house-building processes

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Miklós Molnár, Ronny Andersson, Anders Ekholm

Benefits of ICT in the construction industry – characterization of the present situation in house-building processes

Abstract: Departing from the hypothesis that R&D within ICT plays an essential role in the transformation of the construction sector from a traditional to an industrialised process, a joint Swedish and French project has been carried out (to be completed in April 2007) to assess the short and medium term possibilities to improve efficiency and quality in multi-storey house-building. This paper describes today’s use of ICT (situation as-is) in Swedish multi-storey house-building projects and identifies a number of key development areas. The research was carried out through steps includ-ing statistical analyses of market data, a case study, a survey with active developers working with R&D in the field of ICT and workshops with construction industry representatives and researchers. Typically, Swedish multi-storey house-building projects are carried out as isolated projects, involving 15 designers, 20 subcontractors and 40 material suppliers. Relations between most of the project participants are ad-hoc. ICT-use is regulated by the architect’s CAD manual regarding layer structures, routines for information exchange during design, use of a project network, hardware, software and filing. 2D CAD is the predominant design tool. ICT is widely used for administrative purposes, especially by the large contractors. Information transfer between participants in and between different stages of the project is inefficient and redundant information is created. Transfer of information is often car-ried out manually. Computer aided design, interoperability, virtual reality, cooperation and ICT-policies, the product definition process, use of systems products, quantity take-off and reuse of experience are identified as development areas where ICT can play an important role to improve productivity and quality. Highest potential to achieve improvement by immediate uptake is attributed by the survey persons to computer aided design, interoperability and reuse of experience. A time span of 2 - 5 years is needed to obtain benefits by more efficient cooperation and ICT-policies and rational quantity take-off.

Keywords: construction processes, house-building, industrialization, information and communication technology (ICT)

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