Proposed IT-based approach for managing the construction brief effectively

Rezgui, Y. and Body, S. and Bouchlaghem, D. and Hassanen, M.A.H. and Cooper, G. and Barrett, P. and Austin, S.; Coetzee, G. and Boshoff, F., eds. (2001) Proposed IT-based approach for managing the construction brief effectively. In: CIB-W78 International Conference. IT in Construction in Africa 2001. Council for Scientific and Industrial Reasearch, Division of Building and Construction Technology, South Africa. ISBN 9780798855310

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A wide range of problems are encountered during the briefing stage of a construction project. 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. This aim translates into the following objectives: · highlight shortfalls and best practice by reviewing information management techniques and the use of IT during briefing; · integrate recent/current research projects concerned with briefing and form a research network; · access potential users' needs in terms of use and diversity in both small-medium and large projects, focusing on the five key improvement areas (Link IDAC 88); · identify promising systems/products that could assist the Key Improvement Areas by conduct an audit of existing enabling information technologies (including interfaces); · position the IT products within the framework of briefing and design processes in Level 2 of the IMI Process Protocol and the IAI Business Process Model, to inform their development; · identify specific IT tools and methods for the five improvement areas; · produce a prototype integration environment for the management of briefing and design information; · deploy effectively the proposed approach by re-engineering the briefing process redesign (within the industrial companies involved in the consortium). The proposed paper will give a comprehensive overview of the CoBrITe project, including an analysis of the briefing practices and information requirement within the industrial partners of the project. A description of the CoBrITe briefing process model will be given. The paper also gives a description of the CoBrITe system architecture, including the application programming interface supporting the CoBrITe infrastructure. The latter proposes a framework that integrates a set of proprietary and commercial software applications aimed at supporting the briefing process. Finally, the CoBrITe demonstrator will be presented. The latter has been developed within the context of the Wythenshaw hospital managed by one of the industrial partners: WS Atkins.