Site-level integration of information technologies in construction : an empirical study of information technology adoption
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The availability of information technologies (IT) that can be harnessed to support construction projects at the site-level (e.g. tablets devices) continues to increase substantially. Most computer devices and IT resources today are designed for mobility, providing construction onsite personnel potential access to electronic resources and relevant information while on the construction site or in the construction field office; enabling the possibility of real-time data exchanges amongst various project entities, unrestricted by location. Recent industry literature has highlighted the benefits associated with the use of onsite emerging construction IT and, as a result, construction organizations are showing a strong interest in implementing these technologies to improve and develop more cost effective construction document management and communication processes. Despite the perceived benefits, the construction industry has been slow to adopt IT, particularly in the construction execution phase and, more specifically, at the site-level. This research aims to analyze the industry's current state of construction field and office personnel's use and proficiency related to IT. This study also offers insight into the impacts the adoption of IT has on field personnel's onsite processes, and identifies industry-specific barriers associated with the adoption of IT. To extend the knowledge related to IT usage of project site-level personnel, the results of a survey, follow-up interview, and an IT training and evaluation study were reviewed. These tools helped to investigate and acquire data regarding site managers' and field engineers' technology-related competence, their applications of IT to produce work artefacts, and circumstances in which users and technology hinder the adoption of IT in construction. Collectively, an analysis of the results revealed that the construction industry's current state of IT adoption at the site level is more advanced than previously perceived; particularly with the use of basic technology and software tools. Furthermore, the results offer a foundation for determining "areas of improvement" for increased adoption of IT in an onsite environment. Industry business-related limitations and individual's technology proficiency currently present the prevalent barriers related to the hindrance of adoption. The inadequate effectiveness of IT to support field personnel's daily processes was also found to a be a contributory constraint.
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