As well as ongoing discussions about the future and role of the NCCTP, we also heard from representatives of two other initiatives: mobile IT COMIT‘s Neill Pawsey, and Avanti‘s champion Mervyn Richards. Both were invited to attend by Constructing Excellence to see what potential synergies there might be between the different groups, and it was clear to me that the NCCTP should seek to build alliances with both initiatives.
Some collaboration vendors are already developing tools that can be accessed via PDA-type devices – [my employer] BIW, for example, has a hand-held defects management solution that is integrated with its core platform, allowing on-site data capture and re-use of information by other team members – so we should be working with COMIT to develop case studies on such experiences.
And as the Avanti approach has now been incorporated into an updated British Standard (BS1192 pt5:2007) that will guide team processes, particularly in the challenging field of building information modelling (BIM), we should be ensuring that the appropriate new mixes of people, processes and technologies are efficiently developed to support new, more collaborative approaches to projects.
I was encouraged that Constructing Excellence CEO Don Ward suggested that it might be worth focusing on the role of ICT in collaborative working at a future CE members event. We’ll have to see if we can make that happen.
This combined meeting also formed a useful opportunity to debate progress with the Uniting Construction Information umbrella organisation (about which I had heard nothing since May – see BuildingSMART 2008 conference programme revealed – and it was a no-show at the BuildingSMART event). UCI now has its own website – www.ucinet.info – hosted by Constructing Excellence, and there has apparently been talk about holding a conference, though different people have different views on the nature of such an event; some want a three-day chat-fest for academics, it seems, while others are urging a one-day event that would attract busy construction practitioners. And, like most membership bodies (NCCTP included), the UCI struggles to retain the ongoing involvement of all its components – some, I hear, are already somewhat detached from the initiative.