Information Technology in Construction

Information, data and knowledge is used in the entire construction process from information being generated, transmitted and interpreted to enabling the project to be built, maintained, reused and eventually recycled. The information will be communicated between the construction industry players and organizations to reach a mutual understanding for the project to be successful. The construction process start with project inception, feasibility study, outline proposal, scheme design, detail design, production information, bill of quantities, tender action, project planning, operation on site and lastly, completion/ maintenance.

INCEPTION As the first phase in the construction process, inception about understands the project scope, objectives and getting enough data and information to confirm that the project should proceed or to convince that it should not. The used of data is very important to achieve solid agreement among all stakeholders on the lifecycle objectives of the project, requirements and characteristics. Information needed includes the estimation of the overall cost and schedule for the entire project and potential risks.

Knowledge is very crucial in assisting the organization to prepare the supporting environment for the project and help them to select tools, deciding which parts of the process have to be improved. Not getting enough information and project knowledge may cause misunderstanding of the project requirements. Requirements can be misunderstood not only by the development team but also by the end users and stakeholders and may put the project at risk. FEASIBILITY STUDY

Feasibility studies are preliminary studies undertaken in the very early stage of a project, which is after the project inception. Data includes number of stories, gross square feet (GSF), type of building, floor plans, historical cost data are very important in feasibility studies to establish whether the project is viable and to help to identify the feasible options for the project. The information needed includes environmental impact assessment, budget requirements, site information, site appraisals, legal/ statutory requirements and etc.

to determine the intent of the building. The knowledge from various stakeholders, statutory authorities and other third parties may need to be consulted in gathering information and data for the preparation of feasibility studies. OUTLINE PROPOSAL From the data and information gathered in the inception and feasibility stages, picture of what is required can be drawn up and consulted in the outline proposal stage. In outline proposals stage, the uses of data involve maps, meteorological data, hydrological data, unit rate prices, and outline layout plan.

Detailed information and requirement for the project will be collated to allowing more accurate prediction of cost, time program and procurement methods, organizational structure and range of other parties to be engaged for the project. The data and information for outline proposal then will be fully clarified and finalized for approval from local authorities. The Design Team shall identify and prepare a schedule of all regulations and standards applicable to each of the proposed design solutions.

Design team prepare construction strategy including review offsite fabrication and take action where required. SCHEME DESIGN Scheme design comprises of functions that define and communicate the client’s needs and requirements to the contractor. The data includes location, site landscape, ground conditions, geological and feasibility study reports, benchmark cost data, and outline specifications. These data are used in forming information for this stage. For the information, the team produces sets of design and cost information for approval by the client.

The client approval and its company standard specifications document, statutory requirements, building regulation and codes are the process constraints. From the data and information developed in this stage, the design team especially the architect will use their expertise and knowledge to visualize that information into a set of preliminary drawings. The drawings are needed to ensure the concept design is accordance to the client’s brief. The scheme design and specification information produces will form the data into the next process.

DETAIL DESIGN Detailed Design consists of all functional activities required to produce the construction plan. These activities can also call as data for this stage, which includes all preliminary drawings and specifications from previous stage. For the information, these activities and data translate the client’s information into executable plan and construction documents that would allow the construction of the building to required detailed standard and specification. Knowledge is important to ensure that this stage can be done properly.

The process is managed by the contracting organization with authority to retained the design team or appoint another to produce the working drawings. The design activities will involve the whole of design team (architect, structural engineer, M& E engineer, etc) with contracting organization responsible for cost estimating, detail construction planning, and overall management of the whole process. PRODUCTION INFORMATION Production Information may refer to data that consist of drawings, schedules, specification and requirement be satisfied by client of the construction project.

After the data are satisfied by the client and designers, the final product information such as drawings, schedules, specifications and requirement will be finalized and come out with final decision related to design, specifications and construction. Data is interpreted in various aspects to become information after final decision have been made and then loaded to meet client satisfaction. These transformations of data are driven after all approvals have been made from client to the statutory by the end of this phase.

The knowledge about production information is to understand the part and product of construction features thus can allow knowledge about their benefits accurately and persuasively. BILL OF QUANTITIES The bill of quantities is a document prepared by the quantity surveyor using the data from drawings and specifications in the tender documentation. Preparing a bill of quantities requires that the design is complete and a specification has been prepared. After that the information such as cost information and schedule rate information are driven from the bill of quantities to meet the construction requirements and budget.

There are numerous systems can be found nowadays related to bill of quantities knowledge such as MASTERBILL, BUILDSOFT, COSTX, QSPLUS and many others, the information will integrate with chosen system by quantity surveyor, the system will takeoff building cost and helps make material costing faster, easier, and more accurate. TENDER ACTION Tendering is the activity, which determines the three factors of principal interest to the client, which are cost, quality, and time. In traditional project, the contractor is the party offering to do the services or works in order to meet the client’s requirements.

The data of this action includes the information of the contractors, their details, and all the documents that prepared during procurement process. From the data collected in this stage, project programme can be produced and the tender will be appraised before the contract will be awarded. In appraising the tenders sent by the contractors, it is important that the contractors’ knowledge and commitment to the project vision are tested at this stage. Then, the appropriate contractors will be selected in order to complete the project.

PROJECT PLANNING Project planning is important in managing and controlling the project to ensure the project running smoothly until the project completion. The data comprise of project proposals, work programme and schedule, resources, and project period. Project planning prepared by referring all the data collected to develop scope of project and eventually working on the scope to complete the works in the time given. When executing the works, the need of knowledge by referring to the planning is important to make sure all the

works are following the designated schedule. This is also to avoid problems to exist that can lead to major problems such as delay and variations. OPERATION ON SITE Operation On Site involves the establishment and management of construction site operations on the basis that these operate as a ‘system’. In this stage, the data include site location, materials on site, machineries, labors and all resources needed for that particular project. These data are important in developing information for this stage. All the data will be interpreted to develop information.

The infrormation involve site information, surveying and preparation, establishment, amenities, protection, safety, management and construction sequence. For knowledge, all the data and information are needed to help project manager and parties involved in that project to achieve expected outcomes according to the work programme. COMPLETION In this stage, the data used are the achievement of objectives, completion of all task and activities that have been performed to close out the project. At the same time, those activities need to be managed with sufficient time and resources.

All the data will be interpreted to develop information. The information involve project planning, making a project-closure checklist, specify who will perform it, when it will be done and what resources will be required. For knowledge, all the data and information are needed to help project manager to integrate into Microsoft Project Manager to provide project progress to all parties involves. The relevant inspection and review regarding the project completion need to be done appropriately. IT APPLICATION THROUGHOUT CONSTRUCTION PROCESS

Computing and communication technology, also commonly known as Information Technology (IT) have been radically transforming the way we live, learn, work and play. There were tremendous growths in the development of IT applications in construction process since 1980s. Today, a large number of software packages are available to all the disciplines of the construction team at every stage of the construction process. Information technologies or Software applications are available to support most aspects of a construction project. They have been designed largely as solutions to specific problems.

These applications can be grouped into the following categories: • Computer Aided Design and Visualization • Building Engineering Applications • Computer Aided Cost Estimation • Planning, Scheduling, Site Management • Computer Aided Facilities Management • Integration • Business and Information Management Below is a roadmap showing where and when these applications are being used along the construction process. The main purpose of the diagram is to indicate the main application areas for the existing discrete software packages in the construction supply chain.

COLLABORATION WORKSPACE Computer Aided Facilities Management Business and Information Management CAD and Visualization Building Engineering Applications Computer Aided Estimating Integration Planning, Scheduling, Site Management – Inception – Feasibility Study – Outline Proposal – Scheme Design – Detail Design – Production Information – Bill of Quantities – Bill of Quantities – Tender Action – Project Planning – Project Planning – Operation On Site – Completion – Maintenance