From Concurrent Engineering to Concurrent Construction
Corresponding Author: Mitrovic, Dragana
Author(s): Mitrovic, D. (*), Hunter, I. (+) Deguine, M. (-), and Male, S. (*)
Organisation(s): (*) School of Civil Engineering, Leeds University (UK), (+) Taylor Woodrow Construction Ltd, Middlesex (UK), (-) Bouygues, Challenger, Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (France)
It can be said that concurrent processes have been the natural way of working in construction for decades, whenever the contract or nature of works (e.g. tunnels) were not prohibitive. However, new developments in ICT are opening new opportunities to improve efficiency and co-ordination of concurrent processes.

At the same time, there are increased expectations among customers for higher quality, lower cost, more flexibility and more reliability in delivery. In addition, construction teams are asked to take on more risk not only for schedule and budget but also for user satisfaction. Construction teams are pressed to formulate ways to deliver faster and cheaper, without sacrificing quality and serviceability. The fast track approach, doing design and construction in parallel by using ‘just-in-time design’ is increasingly implemented. The same market pressure in the building sector acts as a catalyst for flash tracking as new way to deliver projects. At best, it is the merging rather than overlapping of design and construction. At its worst it involves constructing elements before they have been designed. 

It is clear that under such circumstances the importance of having seamless internal and external project interfaces is increasing. One of decisive factors in supporting it is undisrupted information flow. In the last decade significant efforts of research community have been directed to support concurrency of processes in design stage, considerably less for other project stages. 

The paper explores concurrency of processes throughout the project life-cycle, highlighting some sector differences. It further looks at how they are reflected within a large construction company. A special consideration is given to the construction stage and particularly integration of construction sites as a focal point for construction operations into project and company information flows. Potential benefits of such integration are explored at project and at company level.

The paper draws on the experience from two European projects ESPIRITE - eLSEwise project and ACTS - MICC project.