Publishing building product information: a value net perspective

Christer Finne (Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration, Helsinki, Finland)

Construction Innovation

ISSN: 1471-4175

Publication date: 1 June 2006


The role of information middlemen, or infomediaries, in the construction sector in producing and delivering value for their customers is explored. Today, virtually all major participants in construction use and produce their data in some kind of digital form. The same is true of infomediaries, who provide them with digital information services. The emergence of the Internet has radically changed the boundary conditions for enterprising infomediaries, creating new business opportunities in the networked value chains that have evolved and threatening the existence of those infomediaries who fail to re‐engineer their operations. The construction sector is often described as a value chain that produces buildings. The construction value chain also produces information and this aspect is often overlooked. The paper presents, through the medium of an IDEF0 model, parts of the construction value chain relevant to the pursuit of customer value. The focus of the model is not on the physical building, but on the production of information and of product information in particular. The viewpoint is that of the infomediary and is based on the case of a national enterprise. The model is used to explore in detail how value is aggregated, how it is delivered and received. It compares the creation of product information by manufacturers with that of infomediaries and proposes transaction cost theory as a tool for the analysis. Overall, the findings indicate that the model needs to be extended to several customer groups downstream and upstream in the value chain. It also reveals a need for a deeper understanding of the concept of customer value. The paper concludes that the model has proved useful in gaining a deeper understanding of customer needs among information providers as well as users. The model has been validated through action research which has helped to strengthen existing strategies and led to new insights. It has also had an impact on existing and proposed services of the enterprise being studied.



Finne, C. (2006), "Publishing building product information: a value net perspective", Construction Innovation, Vol. 6 No. 2, pp. 79-96.

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