Courtesy of the latest Constructing Excellence members newsletter, I got a link to the latest report, Construction Matters (Vol I, PDF), from the House of Commons Business and Enterprise Committee. I wanted to see if this report was any better than the recent Strategy for Sustainable Construction (see post) in regards to recommending better use of ICT tools within the UK construction industry. I was disappointed.
The report summarises the importance of the industry to the UK economy and to the long-term objective of making the UK a low-carbon society; it then highlights some familiar but significant problems, for example:
“The industry is complex and fragmented; it operates on low profit margins. There are difficulties in ensuring that lessons from experience are shared…. There is also a high risk attached to innovative approaches which could save costs, time or carbon emissions.”
The Committee did receive evidence of the potential benefits of ICT tools to address such problems (see Vol II, PDF). Constructing Excellence said:
Common processes and tools bond the team together and release major efficiencies. For example, good inter-operability of ICT systems in the supply chain using Constructing Excellence’s Avanti protocol, project extranets and single building information models, and common logistics for moving materials to and from site. ICT is seriously under-exploited in the sector despite many initiatives and much evidence of the business case. However, something as simple as co-location
of a project team in the same office is a good place to start.
However, the final report has just one mention of ICT – and that relates to training new entrants to the industry. The Committee recommended the “creation of a post of Chief Construction Officer”. Maybe that individual might be persuaded to help lead the UK construction industry into the digital age?