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IT tools and support for improved briefing

Bouchlaghem, D. and Rezgui, Y. and Hassanen, M.A.H. and Cooper, G. and Rose, D. (2000) IT tools and support for improved briefing. In: Construction Information Technology 2000. Taking the construction industry into the 21st century. Icelandic Building Research Institute, Reykjavik, Iceland. ISBN 9789979917434

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The briefing stage is critical to the success of construction projects, however it is widely recognised that improvements are needed in this process in order to reduce the cost and optimise quality of buildings. Briefing involves understanding the client's needs and expressing them in a way that will ensure compatibility between the client's vision of the project and the resulting product. There are problems encountered in construction briefing which involve both clients and designers. There is little guidance and support for clients, whilst designers have difficulties both in capturing clients' needs and conveying conceptual design options to them. There is a central difficulty, associated with language, communication and the exchange of information between clients and design teams, which is now gaining widespread acknowledgement. The CoBrITe (LINK/IDAC UK funded) project argues that the construction industry has yet to exploit the potential of IT systems to assist both parties during this critical phase. This is in contrast to later stages of design and construction where computer-based techniques and systems are commonplace. The overall aim of the CoBrITe project is to improve the briefing process through more efficient and effective use of existing and emerging information technologies that can support client and design teams. The project builds on the recent IDAC 88 project: Managing the Brief as a Process of Innovation, and its five key action areas for improvement: empowering the client, managing the project dynamics, appropriate team building, appropriate visualisation techniques, and appropriate user involvement. It is driven by the needs of solving challenges within the briefing and related design process, with IT a means to an end. The project brings together a group of companies from across the construction supply chain to work together towards the above aim. The methodology comprises: -An extensive literature review on construction briefing focusing on the process of briefing, human and cultural issues, and IT applications and their role within the process. ·The integration of the recent and current projects on briefing through interviews, establishing an electronic network and holding workshops. ·The formulation of a framework of enabling technologies and their potential role in facilitating the briefing process and overcoming human and organisational constraints. ·The development of a model which will facilitate the integration of activities and information sharing in the briefing process. The proposed paper will give a comprehensive overview of the CoBrITe project, including an analysis of the briefing practices and information requirement, an initial CoBrITe Briefing Process Model, the CoBrITe system architecture, and the description of the proposed framework that integrates a set of proprietary and commercial software applications aimed at supporting the briefing process.