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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2002

MARJAN SARSHAR, A. MURAT TANYER, GHASSAN AOUAD and JASON UNDERWOOD

Construction companies face dramatic changes in today's competitive market conditions. IT is increasingly becoming a competitive tool in this market place. The industry is…

Abstract

Construction companies face dramatic changes in today's competitive market conditions. IT is increasingly becoming a competitive tool in this market place. The industry is taking a fresh view of how to use IT in order to improve productivity of the sector. In order to assist in this process, Sarshar et al. (2000) undertook a major review of academic research and industrial best practice and formulated a vision for managing construction project information in the next 5–10 years. This paper compares two case studies of the actual use of IT against this vision. The paper highlights some common gaps in current IT applications in construction companies. Based on these gaps some recommendations are made on the areas, which the industry might focus upon.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 9 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 20 July 2015

Jeremy Brown and Martin Loosemore

– The purpose of this paper is to explore behavioural factors which are perceived to influence corrupt action in the Australian construction industry.

2790

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore behavioural factors which are perceived to influence corrupt action in the Australian construction industry.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draw on Rabl and Kühlmann’s Model of a corrupt action and the results of face-to-face interviews with 23 people working in the Australian construction industry.

Findings

The results suggest that corruption is ambiguously defined yet perceived to be very common and primarily associated with personal gain rather than breaking the law. The main forms of corruption were identified as kickbacks, fraud and bribery and this behaviour is perceived to be driven by high goal feasibility, by conducive attitudes and supportive subjective norms and by high perceived behavioural control over being caught.

Research limitations/implications

The research is based on a relatively small sample of 23 respondents and the use of snowball sampling may have meant that the respondents would tend to present a particular view of the industry. It is also important to point out that this research took place within a highly politicised environment coinciding the with launch of the third Royal Commission into corruption in the construction industry and is based on the respondent’s perceptions of corruption rather than incontrovertible evidence of corruption in practice. Nevertheless, given the care the authors took to avoid these biases, it does provide a useful window in the incidence and types of corruption in construction and the behavioural factors that might influence it.

Practical implications

In terms of tackling corruption, it is recommended that greater attention be given to exploring the culture of the industry which appears to normalise corrupt behaviour and to the hidden informal “institutions” which appear to be undermining the many formal policies and procedures which have been put in place to tackle corruption in the construction industry.

Social implications

The global construction industry has been identified by Transparency International as the most bribery-prone of 19 industries it rated. The cost is huge with scarce resources being diverted from much needed urban regeneration, community concerns about development being ignored, individual human rights being abused, productivity and efficiency being compromised and important environments, cultures and heritage being destroyed. In Australia, concerns about corruption in the construction industry have led to an unprecedented three Royal Commissions which have argued that there is a culture which encourages, accepts and rewards this behaviour.

Originality/value

By using Rabl and Kühlmann’s Theory of a corrupt action this paper throws new light on how corruption is defined by members of the construction industry. The findings suggest that while formal technical and procedural solutions to corruption are important in addressing corruption they are likely to be undermined by strong cultures and informal institutions which dictate the “rules of the game” on the ground. There is a clear need to better understand how these informal institutions work to constrain formal rules devised to bring about reform.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 22 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 September 2004

R.A. Stewart, S. Mohamed and M. Marosszeky

The need for the improved implementation of information technology (IT) has been identified in both empirical and highly structured research studies as being critical to…

1432

Abstract

The need for the improved implementation of information technology (IT) has been identified in both empirical and highly structured research studies as being critical to effective innovation and development at an industry and enterprise level. This need is greater in the construction industry as it has been relatively slow to embrace the full potential of IT‐based technologies. In an attempt to understand why the construction industry lags other industries in the uptake and effective implementation of IT, this study reports on an investigation of the Australian construction industry, which identifies the impediments or barriers to IT implementation and the most effective coping strategies to overcome them. A questionnaire‐based research approach was adopted for this purpose and a total of 134 valid survey responses were received from various architectural, engineering and construction professionals. The questionnaire was designed to identify perceptions of the most significant barriers to IT implementation and to determine the most “practical” and “effective” corresponding coping strategies to mitigate their effects at three decision‐making levels: Industry; Organization; and Project.

Details

Construction Innovation, vol. 4 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 April 2000

ROGER FLANAGAN and LAURENCE MARSH

Information technology (IT) has been widely applied across many economic sectors in order to increase competitiveness and reduce costs. This paper identifies that uptake…

1445

Abstract

Information technology (IT) has been widely applied across many economic sectors in order to increase competitiveness and reduce costs. This paper identifies that uptake of IT within construction is low. It is argued that significant barriers preventing construction organizations from investing in IT include uncertainty concerning the identification and measurement of benefits associated with applications. In particular, it is argued that difficulties in quantifying benefits associated with improved information availability and decision making prevent effective IT cost/benefit analysis. Existing approaches to evaluating IT within construction are reviewed. A framework is presented which identifies metrics by which IT impacts both management and operational processes within construction in order to deliver value. An evaluation methodology tailored to one specific IT application, high‐density bar coding in maintenance management, is presented to illustrate the quantification of both the costs and benefits of applying IT.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 7 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 February 1998

K.L. HANSEN, D.M. GANN and S. GROÁK

Decision making and the nature of decisions themselves are changing with the introduction of new information technology (IT)‐based systems in the construction industry…

Abstract

Decision making and the nature of decisions themselves are changing with the introduction of new information technology (IT)‐based systems in the construction industry. The use of IT systems relates to and can induce changes in business processes within firms as well as interorganizational project processes between firms. In the USA, some of the world's largest hardware and software producers are developing new generations of systems. The market for such systems is potentially large, and these vendors work in close proximity to powerful engineering and construction organizations as well as leading research establishments. It is likely that some of these systems will become de facto standards. For this and other reasons of industrial competitiveness, developments in US IT decision support systems are of interest to practitioners and researchers around the world. The present paper presents the findings of a UK Department of Trade and Industry Expert Mission to assess the development and use of IT systems in the US construction industry. The mission team included seven members, each with specialist knowledge of different aspects of IT development and implementation. The team visited 18 leading organizations where detailed interviews and seminars were conducted during a 2‐week period. The present paper highlights questions for researchers and systems developers. The main findings indicate fundamental changes to the timing, sequence and hierarchy of decision making.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 5 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 September 2003

Regina Gyampoh‐Vidogah, Robert Moreton and David Proverbs

Information management practice falls under various themes: vision and policy, change implementation, alignment of strategies to information technology (IT), business…

2151

Abstract

Information management practice falls under various themes: vision and policy, change implementation, alignment of strategies to information technology (IT), business process re‐engineering, the review of new systems and IT infrastructure. It has been found from exploratory case studies in the construction industry that the current management of information is characterized by systems in which: (1) information exchange between project parties is limited to paper, a medium in which retrieval is very slow and inefficient; (2) functional departments maintain their own data structured to suit their particular needs; (3) most information searching and transfer between project parties and clients are paper based, providing constant source of delays; (4) no efficient interfaces exist between departmental systems to access information electronically;and (5) the impact of IT investment to date has been limited. These characteristics can be first traced to the general lack of coherent management policy and vision on information management. Also, although construction is a distinctly collaborative business environment, for historical, cultural and legal reasons, there is no desire to consider seriously the use of collaborative IT tools. Thirdly, although there is a degree of knowledge of business process evaluation and improvement techniques such as business process re‐engineering (BPR), it appears there is less confidence for management to adopt such tools in its drive to solve information management problems. Finally, the lack of progress in adopting IT to widely improve communication is related to the fact that until now stand‐alone departmental systems have been the norm. Above all, the culture of the industry dictates that each function maintains total independence in all aspects including information retrieval and exchange. The result is that experience of implementing corporate IT systems is lacking and it is clearly affecting the ability to examine the potential of emerging IT or appraise current infrastructure.

Details

Construction Innovation, vol. 3 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 September 2002

Bo‐Christer Björk

A model of the information and material activities that comprise the overall construction process is presented, using the structured analysis and design technique (SADT…

Abstract

A model of the information and material activities that comprise the overall construction process is presented, using the structured analysis and design technique (SADT) activity modelling methodology. The basic model is refined into a number of generic information handling activities such as the creation of new information, information search and retrieval, information distribution and person‐to‐person communication. The viewpoint could be described as that of information logistics. The model is then combined with a more traditional building process model, consisting of key phases such as design and construction. The resulting two‐dimensional matrix can be used for positioning different types of generic IT‐tools or construction‐specific applications. The model can thus provide a starting point for a discussion of the application of information and communication technology in construction and for measuring its impact on the overall process and its related cost.

Details

Construction Innovation, vol. 2 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 February 1999

Ghassan Aouad, Michail Kagioglou, Rachel Cooper, John Hinks and Martin Sexton

The 1970s and 1980s have witnessed the development of many technological advances in the construction industry. At the same time, IT has been perceived as a driver for…

2262

Abstract

The 1970s and 1980s have witnessed the development of many technological advances in the construction industry. At the same time, IT has been perceived as a driver for many of the construction business and operational processes. The 1990s have seen a technological shift in the construction sector from IT driven solutions to IT enabling ones. The industry, however, has become frustrated with the failing of IT as many companies have invested in the wrong technologies without addressing business needs. This is now being rectified by developing IT systems that support business processes taking into account process, people and cultural needs. This paper describes how IT systems are being developed within a major EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) funded research project in order to help the construction industry develop feasible technological IT solutions. This is achieved by considering the co‐maturation of processes and IT within the context of process improvement.

Details

Logistics Information Management, vol. 12 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-6053

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 September 2005

Yusuf Arayici, Ghassan Aouad and Vian Ahmed

Collaborative working using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) systems in construction has become a reality as many activities are performed globally with…

Abstract

Collaborative working using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) systems in construction has become a reality as many activities are performed globally with actors located in various geographical locations. Computer Integrated Construction (CIC) is the type of ICT system that binds a fragmented and geographically distributed set of construction stakeholders collaborating together. Although the concept of CIC has been the subject of research for many years, its uptake has been very limited due to the development of the technology and its effective implementation. Research in this area is still premature and does not pay much attention to the development and implementation of the prototypes in the industry. As a result, the research developments have remained as prototypes although they have captured industrial interest. However, ongoing research within the field of construction IT is stressing that it is crucial to define research methodologies for human centred and adaptive CIC developments through industry‐wide knowledge sharing. The aim of this paper, through triangulated research strategy of interviews, surveys and case study is to justify the need for a requirements engineering process as a CIC development methodology for adaptive and user‐centred systems developments and as a guideline to bridge the gap between industry and the research community. The case study project is the DIVERCITY system development undertaken by researchers and practitioners across Europe to develop a shared virtual construction design and briefing environment that enables the construction industry to better undertake the client briefing and design review phases of a construction project.

Details

Construction Innovation, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 25 July 2018

Xiaoli Yan and Young-Chan Kim

The purpose of this paper is to timely control of a construction collapse accident effectively during its development process by constructing a stage model and then…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to timely control of a construction collapse accident effectively during its development process by constructing a stage model and then aligning IT with each stage to help provide the information for decision making.

Design/methodology/approach

Through comprehensive literature review, this paper first identifies the various IT applications in on-site construction monitoring and analyzes the existed disaster/crisis stage models, also the stage models are compared with the causation models to illustrate the strengths. Then, a three-step methodology was conducted to develop and apply the conceptual framework, including the construction of the four-stage model; the establishment of the conceptual framework of information technology (IT) support for management of construction accidents (ITSMCA); and a building collapse accident used to illustrate the proposed framework.

Findings

The accident is divided into four stages, which are incubation stage, outbreak stage, spreading stage and final stage. The real-time staged information to support decision making, such as the contributing factors of on-site workers, materials, equipment and workplace, can be provided by emerging IT. Therefore, IT is aligned with the variations of contributing factors’ attributes in the four stages and ITSMCA is constructed to help accidents management.

Research limitations/implications

The focus of the framework presented in this paper is that the stage model is effective for it catches the variations of the attributes whose values can be provided by IT rather than research on the practical application of the IT system. The construction and application of the IT system will be the research focus in the future.

Originality/value

This paper presents a stage model of a building collapse accident and gives a comprehensive conceptual framework of ITSMCA, which align the IT with different stages of the collapse accident. The ITSMCA proposes a feasible ideology and practical method for real-time management of the collapse accident during the process.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 25 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

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