|Concurrent Engineering in construction will require true collaborative
working between client representatives, construction professionals, suppliers
and subcontractor organisations. The information technology required to
facilitate such collaboration largely exists already. The barriers to the
introduction of these technologies and efficient effective collaboration
are human and organisational.
This paper combines material obtained through literature search, an
industry wide questionnaire survey, a Delphi Survey of industry experts,
case study reports and structured interviews to investigate collaborative
working and the role of information technology. The author argues that
whilst most organisations have automated the key processes within their
organisation few have restructured their businesses sufficiently to benefit
from the emerging.
Results from the case studies show that, apart from certain 'exemplar'
projects, the overall situation is not encouraging. Those of us who are
technology minded need to reflect that the advances in the informing technologies
will not on their own break down the barriers to collaborative working
in construction. Organisational change must be initiated and developed.
Industry feedback confirms that such changes will have to be business led.
Change will need to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary. In evaluating
such change pilot studies within organisations seldom attract the commitment
required and the results are frequently non transferable. Industry requires
a library of best practice combined with education and training if such
barriers are to be overcome. The overall conclusion is that such change
throughout the industry may well take another generation to achieve.