Having been involved in the organisation of today’s NCCTP conference in central London, I am slightly biassed, but I think it was the best event of its kind that I have been to. More than 90 people came to the Radisson Hotel in Portman Square to learn more about construction collaboration technologies (AKA extranets) in the UK construction industry – and there wasn’t a vendor presentation in sight!
Highlights of the day for me were the presentations from Rennie Chadwick of Taylor Woodrow (comprised almost entirely of evocative photographs), Stuart Green (Reading University) for his comparison between the aerospace and construction industries, and Harvard’s Spiro Pollalis – who gave some whirlwind insights into how collaboration technologies have been used in the US. Surprises:
- in the US, technologies were applied on – to UK eyes – short-term and low-value projects (more than half were employed on schemes worth under $1m)
- client organisations were not the main driver for their use (33% were paid for by contractors; only 20% by owners)
- systems were sometimes used only to support parts of the project process (eg: only design or only construction)
- many user groups were relatively small (70% of projects had teams of less than 20 using the collaboration solutions – perhaps partly a consequence of the previous point?)
- low take-up among sub-contractors (could this be the result of providers charging on a per-seat basis?)
Gossip gleaned: Aconex are apparently hot on the tail of Asite in joining the NCCTP, and two Autodesk guys attended the event – so perhaps we may see Buzzsaw join the vendors group too. Given that the Aconex hail from Australia and Buzzsaw from the States, it would seem the NCCTP is getting a little bit of an international flavour.