A review of development issues as they apply to construction IT
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Citation:Davies, K. (2008). Barriers or constraints? A review of development issues as they apply to construction IT. In Rischmoller, L. (Ed). CIB W78 25th International Conference on Information Technology. Santiago, Chile: Clara Correa Imprenta. CD Rom : 239-245.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/2253
The construction industry is widely characterised as conservative in both business practices and construction methods and processes. Companies are seen as reluctant to change existing practices, despite the potential for greater efficiency and time and cost savings offered by technology now available. Supply chains are fragmented, and extensive use of sub-contacting introduces layers of management and a strong degree of autonomy in a wide variety of subgroups within a construction project team. Many studies have focused on barriers to the uptake of information technology in construction firms, with findings often framed in terms of characteristics of the industry similar to those summarised above. This paper presents a review of literature related to the introduction of IT in construction. It highlights a number of related issues that indicate that the construction industry might be better seen as cautious, but making progress, rather than resistant. While there are clearly characteristics of the construction industry that hinder widespread uptake of information technology, this can be seen as only part of the story. The argument for increased application of IT to construction processes is now well established, with identified benefits of improved productivity, financial and environmental sustainability. There are clearly gains to be made from progression in the industry from low-level business applications to construction-specific IT usage, and there are indications that the industry is ready for this to take place. To conclude the paper, the author questions why these industry characteristics often cited as barriers to innovation are not instead regarded by the proponents and developers of construction IT as constraints or design issues to be factored into the development process.