Information Management in Construction Projects: Current Practices and Guidelines
This dissertation is based on a comparative research study in the construction industry. The primary aim of this research is to develop an understanding of the information processing capabilities required for the co-ordination of the production process in construction projects. The research suggests that there is a contingency in the need to manage information and the appropriate information management resources which is contingent upon the characteristics of a construction project.
Complicated construction projects with a high degree of complexity, interdependence, and uncertainty have a higher need to manage information than simpler projects. The research suggests that complexity is the primary driver affecting the need to manage technical information, that interdependence is the primary driver affecting the need to manage planning information, and that uncertainty is the primary driver affecting the need to manage co-ordination information.
The management of information was described in terms of processing, organising, and distributing information. The main use of computers was in the processing of information. After being processed, the information was then mostly printed in paper format for the purposes of storage, organising, and distribution. The handling of information in paper format worked well in smaller and less complicated projects. However, the problems increased in bigger and more complicated projects where the handling of information in paper format became very difficult as the information volume increased. In these projects, it was concluded that there was a need to extend the digital format of the information and organise, and to distribute the information in digital format. This could best be facilitated by the use of a project database where all relevant project information was stored and which could be accessed by the different actors involved in the project organisation.
In order to enable the access to information for many different actors such as external subcontractors and material suppliers, it is important to base such an information system on an open systems environment where the Internet technology is an enabling technology. Investments in information systems for managing project information should initially be focused on big and complicated projects where the need to manage information is high and the major problems of managing information are present.