|ceXML - an XML vocabulary for building and civil engineering: Master thesis|
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An increasingly effective communication paves the way for severe reductions of lost time, less re-doing of work because of miscommunication, a much more effective and up-to-date planning, etc. A few examples might illustrate this more clearly:
A cement truck is caught in a traffic jam and will be unable to deliver the cement before it has hardened. This causes the building crane to have nothing to do for three hours, which it has to catch up with later. Since the crane is on the critical path of the project, the entire project suffers a three hour delay. If the information about the delay had been available immediately and if the project planning had been easily accessible and adaptable, the crane might have gotten other work to do in the three hour time frame. Yes, a mobile phone could have been used to contact the lead contractor, but you still need a good, readily available and flexible project planning to be able to re-schedule on such a short notice and get the information to the right persons in time.
Walking around on the building site, a supervisor notices an upcoming lack of roof tiles and so he grabs his PalmPilot, looks at the information about the roof, selects the list of tile elements, selects the right one and wirelessly orders another pallet of those tiles through the company ordering system. The company truck delivers them at the end of the morning, just before the current stock runs out.
Many big projects are international projects, with the central office and planning/designing staff in one country and the actual working site in another country. Once a supervisor finds a problem in the design and needs to have it redesigned, he normally has to make a phone-call to the central office, manage to contact the right person in charge, explain to him the exact problem and the exact part of the site that has the problem. Once all that has been made clear, the design has to be changed. The changed design is then printed out and mailed by post to the site, taking at least a day. Had the project information been available over the internet, the supervisor could have clicked on the specific part in a three dimensional view of the project, typed in his comments and send it off. This mechanism at least ties the correct information to the right part. After the design has been changed, the changes are automatically available at the site, because the central information has been made available over the internet.
A certain piece of equipment has broken and you need a replacement meeting the original design criteria. It should not be larger, it should not weigh more and it should not use more energy. You contact a search engine on the internet which you feed with the design criteria that have to be met and it searches the various supplier's catalogs that are known to that search engine for parts meeting the criteria. It then visualises a list of possible replacements with their price-tag, possible delivery dates and additional characteristics and you can choose the item best fitting your schedule and your wallet.
Figure 3-1. PalmPilot with project management software