Cib 2004 conference: tuesday afternoonΒΆ

Tags: aec

Tuesday afternoon. Yes, I splitted tuesday in two because of the length. And as I just woke up from a good night's sleep! Read on. Paul Anderson: information overload

Well, the talk was good, but it was a lot of statistical data, so just two quotes. Lets say that there is too much information going around.

  • The key to information strategy within AEC (architecture, engineering, construction) is investment justification.
  • There is a lot of data smog, analysis paralysis, information overload syndrome.

Kirsten Davis (Virginia tech): individuals' resistance to IT implementation in the AEC industry

She just got her PhD last week, so congratulations!

There are many assumptions or stereotypes associated with resistance to IT:

  • gender
  • education level
  • job
  • age, etc.

Her research tried to find whether these stereotypes could reliably predict people's resistance to IT technologies. Her research focused on people, not the technology. The focus was also on individual people, not on organisations as a whole.

A survey at 50 local firms lowered down the number of criterea found in literature (67...) to just 9. A second, bigger, survey allowed her to compare those 9 possible criterea to the surveyed people's characteristics. Some of the results:

  • Managers and architects had a low resistance to IT, jobs in the construction trade had a high resistance. The rest was somewhere in the midle.
  • Men generally had a low, women a higher resistance. She did however place a big question mark on this point, as women in the AEC industry are not found equally in all the different kinds of job. So she really doubted this measure.
  • A high level of experience with computers meant a low resistance to IT change. Similarly a high resistance when there's no experience.
  • When the person perceived that he went through a past IT change, he normally had a low resistance against new changes. Similarly the other way around.
  • Also, if the person percieved a change looming on the horizon, the person normally had a low resistance (!).
  • There were no relations found for age, education and (Meyer/Briggs) personality types.

So from the list of stereotypes:

  • age NO
  • profession YES
  • gender YES with a big question mark
  • education level NO
  • computer experience YES


I missed some, only one: you can identify resistors to IT change and then try to bring them around.


In responce to Martin Betts: The biggest message for AEC it research is that people have to accept your work, so look at it from that angle.

Peter Russell (RWHT Aachen): the myth of precision

There is a difference between an architect and an engineer. The engineer's work with information is structured, complete, integral. The architect's work with information is unstructured, incomplete and inconsistent.

Most building industry software promisses you total control, total information, to the 10th of a millimeter. Just look what archicat, nemetschek and autocad promise...

Now we have, just as one of the examples, a drawing that specifies the location of the corner of a brick wall to the 10th of a millimeter. Well, you cannot make a brick wall to that precision. Anything under a 2 cm difference is good.

So take a few decimal places off. It helps cut down the amount of information.

We have to allow for Unknown Stuff.

In Germany they have a database with "stocks". Basic standard things with statictical data associated with it. Like "a school building has normally 0.3 m^2 of glass per 1m^2 of floor area". That's a beginning. Order of magnitude.

Nghia Pham (Deakin, aus): a process model to support data rich digital environments

Who generates the information? Who needs it? And for both: what, when, why, how?

Much information has to do with things that need doing: tasks. Tasks can be in two modes:

  • Passive ("a door has to be installed in this door frame")
  • Active ("Peter is going to install this door...")

If somebody recieves information, he filters and processes the information and adds to it. An electrical installer will only use the basic information from the architect's drawings and add his info to that basic drawing info.

From the preliminary conclusions: *the level of complexity of the design and construction process is significantly more complex than reflected in the normally available construction documents. logo

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My name is Reinout van Rees and I work a lot with Python (programming language) and Django (website framework). I live in The Netherlands and I'm happily married to Annie van Rees-Kooiman.

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