2CE733In this course we will look at Information Technology and information systems from a viewpoint ofthe construction sectormanagement
3Information Revolution Driving Force behind:Convergence of computing and telecommunication technology.Information Society:Emerged all around the world withina single generation.
4IT has enabled the globalisation of the economy and competition, and caused large-scale changes in many industriesIT is also bringing a major shift in the job market; resulting in a more polarised occupational structure, consisting of highly skilled/well paid jobs at one end and lower skilled/low wages at the other. For the modern work force, IT literacy is becoming an essential requirement.
5Communication: Basic need for most human activities Computer useCommunication: Basic need for most human activitiesTarditional- telephone, fax, mail...In the new information era- , internet, video conferencingThe new communication technology enables people located in different places to work together as if they were in the same office. Big multinational companies are already exploiting this technology to achieve better use of the resources of their seperate offices. In this way projects can be shared between officeswith the application of the best expertise, and around the clock
6On-line services: The rapid development of the Internet and the World Wide Web has enabled many services tthat traditionally required face to face meetings to be delivered on-line.Internet distance learning: opportunities of university education, widening access to higher education (delivering teaching and learning to people who cannot attend lectures)-increases a country’s competitiveness in a global market.E-business: Internet provides a virtual market place for buyers, suppliers, distributors and sellers to exchange information, negotiate and trade. More market opportunities, more competition.Teleworking: Flexibility in working conditions, less office space, more productive workers.Today computers and internet allow students to study using on-line virtual learning environment. Students can interact with tutors and fellow students, they can access course materials and library services.
7Information SystemsThe layers in Figure below illustrate why the term information system must be defined along with the terms information technology and business process.Information systems are systems that use information technology to capture, transmit, store, retrieve, manipulate, or display information used in one or more business processes. Firms consist of groups of business processes and compete in a business environment.Information systems can sometimes be seen as business processes themselves. In sectors such as banking IS/IT is virtually synonymous with business, hence the dotted line in Figure 1.
8Information technology is the hardware and software that make information systems possible. An information system is a system that uses information technology to capture, transmit, store, retrieve, manipulate, or display information used in one or more business processes.Firms consist of groups of business processes and compete in a business environment.A business process is a related group of steps or activities that use people, information, and other resources to create value for internal or external customers.The business environment includes the firm itself and everything else that affects its success, such as competitors, suppliers, customers, regulatory agencies, and demographic, social, and economic conditions.-Hardware is the devices and other physical things involved in processing information, such as computers, workstations, physical networks, and data storage and transmission devices. Software is the computer programs that interpret user inputs and tell the hardware what to do. Software includes operating systems, end-user software such as word processors, and application software related to specialized business tasks such as recording credit card transactions or planning a construction of a facility.-. For example, a department store’s bar-code systemfor collecting data at the point of sale is part of a larger purchasing and distribution system that includes purchasing decisions and physical movement of goods to the stores.-A business process is a related group of steps or activities that use people, information, and other resources to create value for internal or external customers. Business processes consist of steps related in time and place, have a beginning and end, and have inputs and outputs. Examples in a factory include manufacturing products, hiring employees, and maintaining equipment.-The business environment includes the firm itself and everything else that affects its success, such as competitors, suppliers, customers, regulatory agencies, and demographic, social, and economic conditions.
9Business processBusiness processes consist of steps related in time and place, have a beginning and end, and have inputs and outputs.Examples in construction include:Feasibility studiesScheme designDetail designEstimating and tenderingProject planningConstruction on siteAdministrationEach of these business processes consists of a group of related activities that have a beginning and end and have inputs and outputs. Although some business processes such as providing customer service are directed at external customers, many business processes create products or services for internal customers within the organization.Information systems will increasingly form the basis for redefining or re-engineering the building processes. Information systems are a critical factor in the future development of the building process. Mechanisms to ensure all parties are informed and coordinated via information and communications technology is one of the engines of change.
10Framework for thinking about any system in business A framework is a brief set of ideas for organizing a thought process about a particular type of thing or situation.Work-centred analysis (WCA) framework is based on the idea that business professionals can and should analyse systems by focusing on the work being done.Work is the application of human and physical resources such as people, equipment, time, effort, and money to generate outputs used by internal or external customers.The WCA framework combines ideas from many sources including total quality management, business process reengineering, and systems theory.The WCA framework consists of six linked elements that can be used for thinking about any information system or other business processes and the information systems that support them.Any useful framework helps make sense of the world's complexity by identifying topics that should be considered and showing how the topics are related.
11General framework for thinking about business processes and the information systems that support them.The WCA framework consists of six linked elements that can be used for thinking about any information system or other business processes and the information systems that support them.The internal or external customers of the business processThe products (or services) generated by the business processThe steps in the business processThe participants in the business processThe information the business process uses or creates.The technology the business process uses
12Business processes today More than ever, business professionals face the challenge of improving business processes to produce the results internal or external customers want.Business processes form the basis of competition.To appreciate the theme of improving business processes in a competitive world, we will look at three important trends: global competition, new ways to do business, and TQM. These trends call for thinking about information systems as an integral part of the way businesses operate, not as an isolated set of technical tools.Today's business environment is characterized by a trend toward global competition involving competitors anywhere in the world.The geographic proximity of businesses and their customers was more important in the past than it is today. Although proximity still matters to dry cleaners and pizza delivery businesses, direct competitors in many manufacturing, distribution, and service industries may be virtually anywhere in the world.Global competition even applies at a personal level because information technology makes it possible to bring many types of work to the workers instead of bringing the workers to the work. Wages at the Texas Instruments programming group in Bangalore, India, are low enough that work is done at half of American costs even after the cost of telecommunications. Metropolitan Life's 150 workers in County Cork, Ireland, analyze medical insurance claims forms using knowledge from 18 weeks of training on medicine, the American medical system, and the insurance business. In Jamaica, 3,500 workers connected to the United States by satellite dishes make airline reservations, handle calls to toll-free numbers, and enter data into computer systems. All these jobs involve people who can be considered competitors by Americans capable of doing the same work. Working with programmers on the other side of the globe was once impractical. Telecommunication technology has reduced the difficulty of working at a distance. The ‘death of distance’ has occurred in many businesses.
13The construction sector and IT Traditionally, construction has not adopted IT with the same rate as other industries, such as manufacturing and financial services.In contrast to products of manufacturing, products of construction are large in scale and varied in kind. Unlike many other economic sectors, especially manufacturing, the construction industry is characterised by activities, which are discontinuous, dispersed, diverse and distinct (the four D's Tay 1994).IT implementation in the construction industry is therefore, on a project level, rendered more difficult.Construction is one of the world’s largest industries. Traditionally, construction has not adopted IT with the same rate as other industries, such as manufacturing and financial services. The discussions on impediments to implementation of IT in construction are decade-old and well known among construction management researchers.For centuries, the structure of the construction industry, together with its practices and techniquies, have evolved through informal, and more recently, formal means. Skills have been passed on and improvements encouraged by modification and enhancement, but at the root the industry remains craft based. In construction there is very little knowledge capture and analysis, often with the excuse that ‘the industry is different’.In contrast to products of manufacturing, products of construction are large in scale and varied in kind. Unlike many other economic sectors, especially manufacturing, the construction industry is characterised by activities, which are discontinuous, dispersed, diverse and distinct (the four D's Tay 1994). IT implementation in the construction industry is therefore, on a project level, rendered more difficult.
14Uses of IT in construction The use of information, and similarly the use of IT to use this information, has been described as having progressed through various phases.The first phase lasted up to the late 1970s, involving use of IT to achieve efficiency and cost savings in the processing of information.The second generation of IT developed for the construction industry evolved during the late 1970s and continued through the late 1980s. The primary aim for most of the developments in this era was to align the technology with, or support the functions of, a construction company.The third generation of IT dates from early 1990s, and is still evolving. This is addressing the integration of the standalone systems in order to maximise the use of IT as a strategic resource for construction. It also focuses on the use of IT as a communication medium.
15IT change within construction Not too long ago, the term IT meant computerisation. There is evidence that the emphasis is switching from computerisation to business enhancement.There is greater concentration on automating the processes of the project and the construction organisation.The project management function is based on the timely delivery and documentation of construction information.The delivery of construction information has taken the form of graphic, textual, or verbal information formats exchanged between project team-members.Typical information components include drawings, specifications, change directives, estimates, management logs, and field reports.In today's highly competitive world, meeting the need to compress project lead times and to achieve cost optimisation is vital. At the same time, the growing involvement of construction organisations in multi-partner projects is increasing the complexity of managing projects. For any construction enterprise involved in the running of such large and complex projects, being able to handle the volume of documentation more efficiently can have a major impact on reducing project time scales and costs. The potential for such cost and time savings exist in the form of integrated information technologies.
16In 1995, the UK government commissioned a study; Construct It: Bridging the Gap, related to an Information Technology strategy for the UK construction industry.The strategy identified two key aims for future use of IT in the construction industry:Integrated projects communications framework, supporting closer teamwork.Integrated industry wide information comprising standard component listings, building component benchmarks, best practices, etc., to improve and inform construction projects.These are considered long term goals. In the meantime specific IT systems are developed to achieve incremental improvement in different stages of the construction process.
17Enablers of construction IT The main benefits of the change brought about by IT are speed and virtual proximity.Large volumes of data can be processed faster, and distributed to disperse geographical locations much more quickly.These benefits have been widely shared by industry because of the falling cost for computer hardware, an explosion in software development, and cheaper telecommunication costs.
18Hardware and software revolution The diminishing cost of personal computers has put computing power within the reach of even the smallest contractors.Rapidly developing hardware performance, coupled with the development of storage drives with very large volumes, modems, scanners, and back up devices has made the computer suitable for storage and distribution of drawings and other data in electronic format.The evolution of servers, network cards, modems and routers have linked computers together providing a forum for community collaboration.
19Using IT resources in construction It saves employee time, lost phone messages, and the three-day time delay often associated with surface mail .It avoids twisty means of transferring data, for example printing a document, faxing it, and then re-typing the data at the receiving end in order to save it as an electronic fileIt allows the company and individuals to publish and distribute their work efficiently, while attaining a high and consistent quality in textual or graphical appearance.It provides access to information, allows communication and distribution of documents in a single, uniform fashion.
20Standardisation (examples include the use of EDI and bar coding), Besides acting as a means for general management and processing of project and company information, there are other ways in which IT has been taken on by construction. These developments affect the construction process itself and can be categorised into four main areas.Standardisation (examples include the use of EDI and bar coding),Visualisation (comprising CAD, VR, and Augmented Reality),Communication (including , video/data conferencing, Intranets), andIntegration (employing info-bases and project specific databases).
21Detailed proposals: Preparation of detailed proposals The RIBA Plan of Work is a well-recognised process protocol that describes the CONSTRUCTİON PROCESS in 11 stages(5 phases)Appraisal: Identification of client’s requirements and possible constraints on development.Strategic Briefing: Preperation of a strategic brief confirming key requirements and constraints. Identification of procedures, organisational structure and range of consultants and others to be engaged in the project.Outline proposals: Starategic brieffull project brief, estimate and cost.Detailed proposals: Preparation of detailed proposalsFinal proposals: Preperation of final proposals for the project sufficient for co-ordination of all components and elements of the project.Production ınformation:Preperation of production information for tenderPreperation of further production information required under the building contract.Tender documentation: preperation of TD in sufficient detail.Tender action: identification and evaluation of potential contractors and specialists for the construction of the project. Obtaining and appraising tenders.Mobilisation: Appointing contractor, issuing production information to the contractor and arranging site handover to the contractor.Construction to practical completion:After practical completion: Final inspections and settling the final account
22These eleven stages can be divided into five phases: Requirement analysis phase includes Appraisal and Strategic briefing.Design phase covers the Outline, Detailed and Final proposals, and Production of Information stages.Tendering phase covers the Tender documentation and Tender action stages.Construction phase covers the mobilisation and Construction to Practical completion stage.Maintenance phase covers the After practical Completion stage.
23VisualisationThe impact of developments in visualisation on construction processes has been in the area of digitising information, which previously had been in paper format.This not only improves the quality and visual effect of construction information, it also eliminates much re-drafting associated with the design process.Developments in information technology are changing the way that construction teams generally, store, transmit, and co-ordinate information. Over the past decade, many design firms have moved toward digital production of construction documents.Specifications, standards, permits, licences, and other text based construction documents are increasingly produced using word processing software or spreadsheets.
24Communication and data exchange tools The most significant impact that technology has had on the management of information resources in construction is perhaps in the area of communications.The InternetWorld Wide WebIntranetsEDIE-business frameworks
25InternetThe value of the Internet to construction companies derives from its ability to easily connect globally to a vast amount of data, which would otherwise have taken more time and money to organise. By exploiting the resources of the Internet construction companies can gain the following benefits.Reduced communication costsEnhanced coordination and communicationAcceleration in the distribution of knowledge resources within and out with the companyPromotion and marketing for the companyMore later in the course ...
26Project document management The management of project documentation is often key to the schedule performance of the project, avoidance of extensive re-working and effective quality control of the project.The use of electronic options for management of such documentation is growing as a result of IT technology.Electronic document management systems (EDMS) provide a combined set of tools for full organisation of all aspects relating to project documents. They cover the control of their creation, revision, distribution, storage and retrieval throughout and beyond the project lifecycle.
27EDMS technologies The following technologies are included in EDMS. Imaging for transforming paper to digital format using scannersFull-text retrieval for accessing archived textual documentsWorkflow for mapping and controlling the route of documents within the organisationMultimedia for managing audio and graphic information, particularly, progress reports for site activitiesCAD for creating and editing documents
28StandardisationExamples of construction work where standardisation has been applied include the use ofbar code technology andelectronic data interchange (EDI)Integration of project information is a problem inherent in Construction. All parties in a a contruction project seem to work on their own ‘island’ of information.
29Process ModellingProcess modelling is the method of naming business processes and subdividing them into their basic elements so that they can be studied and improved.Process modelling is an essential part of information system development because it helps clarify the problem the system attempts to solve and the way it goes about solving that problem.Since we are looking a business processes from an IT viewpoint we will look briefly at Data Flow Diagrams.
30Data Flow DiagramsData flow diagrams (DFDs) represent the flows of data between different processes in a business.DFDs are an attractive technique because they describe what users do rather than what computers do and involve only four symbols: process, data flow, data store, and external entity.The four sybols in the Gane-Sarson DFD notation focus on the analysis on flows of data between sub-processes rather than on the information technology used.
32Figure below shows that the starting point in using DFDs is to create a context diagram, which verifies the scope of the system by showing the sources and destinations of data used and generated by the system being modelled.Context diagram for Ford purchasing system
33After using the context diagram to establish the scope of the system, the next step is to identify processes and break them down into sub-processes to describe exactly how work is done. DFDs make it possible to look at business processes at any level of detail by breaking them down into successively finer sub-processes.Data flow diagram showing main processes in Ford’s original purchasing system
34 Data flow diagram dividing PCH 1 into four sub-processes