The Effects of Visual-Based Information Logistics in Construction

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Title: The Effects of Visual-Based Information Logistics in Construction
Author: Nuntasunti, Suchart
Advisors: Leonhard E. Bernold, Committee Chair
Abstract: The construction industry has, for sometime, suffered from stagnant productivity, high accident rate, project delays, and poor quality. Research studies have shown that the major cause of these performance problems is the lack of effective communication. This research was launched to investigate the usefulness of a comprehensive information logistics model on construction process performance. In order to test and validate key components of the model, a prototype network system named Visual-based Integrated Wireless Site (V-IWS) was developed and tested on a mid-size building construction project. The system was designed to allow every project participant access to real-time visual images of the jobsite and share information interactively with each other as well as with a central database through the Internet. It was developed and evaluated for 7 months in 2003. During the same time, the communication channels adopted by the general contractor, R.N. Rouse, and on-site meetings were observed and analyzed. This analysis indicated that most of the information shared among participants of this project could be handled electronically by the V-IWS. It was demonstrated that the V-IWS: a) reduces production waste and non value-added activities such as material delivery time, b) eliminate the need for unnecessary site visits and meetings, c) adds significant value to project participants by automatically creating visual as-built and picture archives, d) provides operational how-to training for crew, and e) increases site safety and security through automated monitoring. The system is scaleable and more network devices can be added as the building grows. While this study proved technical feasibility of the V-IWS, it became evident that trust, collaboration and information sharing among participants were critical success factors. Due to the industry's traditional low-bid competition and aversion to change, it is crucial to understand how costs and benefits be distributed. Value sharing as well as technology adoption process need to be studied in order to ensure successful implementation of the system.
Date: 2004-04-13
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Civil Engineering

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