ABSTRACT

TAMPERE UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY
Industrial Engineering and Management, Construction Economics
PESU, RAINO: Open interface of electronic commerce in construction
Master of Science Thesis: 150 pages, 3 appendixes (7 pages)
Examiner: Professor Sakari Riihelä
Funding: VTT Building and Transport
April 2003

Keywords: OPEN INTERFACE, INTERNET, PROCUREMENT SYSTEM, CONSTRUCTION, ELECTRONIC COMMERCE, DATA TRANSMISSION, XML

The aim of this thesis was to study the possibilities of open interface in construction industry procurement and to define the interface between procurement system and project web site. An open interface is publicly defined standard to data transmission between applications. Public definition enables data transmission between applications of several parties.

The study of present situation of procurement and electronic commerce in construction was based on literature and interviews. On the basis of present situation new functions using the open interface were designed. Publishing invitations to tender via project web site was selected to be the pilot function. The interface used in the pilot function was defined for implementation.

First the process was defined to find out the data transmission between applications. The contents and structure of exchanged data were analysed and transmission protocols as well as solutions for safety were defined. As the result of the study an interface definition for publishing invitations to tender via project web site was released.

The usefulness of the designed functions was studied on the basis of interviews. In general the possibilities of electronic commerce are not yet seen very beneficial. Remarkable development of data transmission and automatization of functions are seen to come, but it will take some time. Perhaps a change to younger generation is needed to make development come true.

Open interfaces provide plenty of possibilities to develop electronic commerce in construction. XML-language seems to be the most suitable solution to integrate applications of different parties. Dividing structure, contents and expressing of the transferred data offers wide possibilities to develop integrated functions.