Extensive Use of Information Technology
IT for Design Integration - IT has proved to be a key enabler in product design and much likely to be implemented in the construction industry. In manufacturing, a large scale and complex engineering projects as the development of the Airbus A380 Aircraft are only feasible by using simultaneous and concurrent engineering interwoven with suitable 3D design toolkits (Jaeger, 2007). Similiarity to the construction industry, more complex IBS technology like modular houses can only be developed and produced in cooperation with suppliers, client and designers concurently. A certain degree of integration is needed to access the supplier knowledge base and client design capability and to increase adaptaion of design and production facilities (Hofman et al, 2007). The communication channel enable more accurate documents and hence good conditions for an effective production where errors are discovered early and problems in the manufacturing and assembly phases can be avoided (Lessing et al. 2005). One of the IT project develop to improve design integration among IBS stakeholders is InPro research project. InPro is an advanced system of integrated design, analysis processes and decision-support developed based on existing and innovative IT tool that will radically improve collaboration and integration in IBS project (Jaeger, 2007)
IT for Planning & Monitoring Process - IT also increase saving in standard operation costs and approaches resulting from improvement in planning, monitoring, delivery processes and reporting. Lessing et al. (2005), Eichert & Kazi (2007), CIDB (2003) Hervas (2007) observed the used IT in IBS projects is vital to provide accurate data, distribution, logistic and cost comparison. Therefore, it will achieve collaborative and efficient communication and effective dealing with project documents. Recently, Manubuild Consortium is established among key construction organisation in Europe to promote the concept of Open Building Manufacturing (OBM) using an extensive IT tools. Manubuild is a call for radical paradigm shift from the current 'craft resource based' construction towords 'open building manufacturing' that enable high customised building using manufacturing in open market and essembling them efficiently on site (Eichert & Kazi, 2007). In some of thier important deliverable, Manubuild developed a coprehensive IT system for distributed logistics, assembley planning and monitoring for co-ordinating the supply component from diffrent source location with rapid replanning and simulation of sequences (Eichert & Kazi, 2007). Other IT tools used to improve IBS site work are machine positioning system, autmatic ID lebelling, radio frequency identification (RFID) (Abderrahim et al, 2005)
IT For Collaboration with Project Team - Innovation to implementation in a multidisciplinary environment requires good communication between the parties involved and those which will be affected. Abderrahim et al (2005), observed IT infrasturture can provede better site collaboration. The collaboration is meant to happen between automatic machines and between machines and operators. It was also observed bt Blismas (2007) that the coordination and document flow is critical for the contractors to manage IBS project. Verweij & Voorbij (2007) and Oostra & Jonson (2007) have therefore suggeting the role of IT tools to established communication between project team and suppliers and as medium for quality control of overall project deliveries. This will resulting an increase in efficiency, better facilitate decision making and improve project control.
Buidling site database - The site information database is an IT tool expected to contain all aspects of the building system data, and make it available to all those sub-systems, that request it. The exchange of the information between the sub-systems is what makes the collaboration in the building site possible (Abderrahim et al, 2005). The information includes building CAD design and 3D object, site map, schedule and planning data, machine list and list of personnel.
Critics- Implementing IT to support IBS adoption is critical but not without critics. The cost of developing and implementing of some system maybe high if not astronomical (Abderrahim et al, 2008) and the implementation of IT facilities will need more IT-savvy construction workforce which may increase the cost in wages and effort to re-train the workers.