ESPRIT ProCure. ICT at Work for the LSE ProCurement Chain:

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1 ESPRIT ProCure ICT at Work for the LSE ProCurement Chain: Putting Information Technology & Communications Technology to work in the Construction Industry The EU-funded ProCure project was designed to encourage the usage of available information and communication technology to large-scale engineering construction. The industry and research partners to the project believed that sufficient information and communication technology was already available for use in real projects, albeit with care and an acceptable risk of failure. Setting the Scene The EU-funded ProCure project was designed to encourage the usage of available information and communication technology to large-scale engineering construction. The industry and research partners to the project believed that sufficient information and communication technology was already available for use in real projects, albeit with care and an acceptable risk of failure. Approach ProCure was a three-year research project completed in 2002 as part of the EU information technologies programme. The goal of the project was to take a significant but achievable step forward in the application of available information and communication technology to large-scale engineering construction. Project partners consisted of five industrial partners representing three member states the UK, Germany and Finland comprising a client, three types of engineering contractor and a major product supplier. The basis for the project was the partners belief that sufficient information and communication technology now exists to achieve deployment in real projects, albeit with care and an acceptable risk of failure. Changes are occurring within the industry and larger clients and engineering contractors are establishing new patterns of working within the current industry structure that will evolve considerably in the future. Such strategies acknowledge the vital role of information and communication technology in supporting information flow across the many interfaces and information sharing to eliminate interfaces. However, the technology appears complex and its application difficult to envisage for large-scale engineering practitioners. The approach adopted by the project was to define scenarios and specify the information and communication technology for deployment within its first year, in addition to agreeing the real projects for the three Pilots that followed. Results and achievements The objectives of the project can be summarised as follows: To show that applying advanced ICT into LSE is: o Possible o Applicable o Scalable To deploy the methodology and software To quantify the benefits

2 2 Synthesis Report ESPRIT Procure To stimulate the SME software industry To establish a methodology for deploying ICT in LSE and prepare Good Practice Guidelines To identify human and organisational obstacles to deployment To identify technology gaps During the early stages of the project, the Partners found it difficult to integrate the social science issues with the technical development work being carried out. However, following the social science workshops that were held for each of the three Pilot projects the project identified a number of methods to address these issues: Companies can include the human and organisation aspects into the conditions of contract required of contractors. This has been extended to include the requirement to monitor in a framework of continuous improvement and tools for monitoring this have been developed by The Bayswater Institute. Social scientist s should be engaged in a continuous way with the development of a Pilot project. This enables iteration between the engineering and social science professionals, so that they both share in the ups and downs as the project progresses. A number of methods for recording progress were used that included: diaries and a log of telephone calls. The information that was gathered was then fed back to the project participants as the Pilot progressed. The Pilots were planned to be done on real projects and not historical data from completed projects. However, it was found that trying things out on a safe environment was preferred. This was done in the following ways: o New technology should be implemented in parallel with the old methods. This enables people to continue to use familiar old tools in parallel with the new ones; o The investigation of the role changes that result from the adoption of new technologies should be done in small, not very important, projects. At the start of the project it was assumed that the project Pilots would be able to make use of a number of emerging information exchange standards. However, deployment of such exchange standards in commercial software applications has not always happened as quickly as the project anticipated. The initiatives to solve the current data exchange and sharing problems that have been used within the Procure project are as follows: STEP-CDS, the construction drawing subset is an industry driven initiative to improve the quality of two-dimensional computer aided design data exchange based on existing ISO (STEP) standards. Many of the supporting parts of ISO such as the part 40 series of resource models part 11 on the EXPRESS modelling language and part 21 on the exchange file format. CIMsteel integration standards that were one of the many results to be produced from the CIMsteel pan-european Eureka project that was completed in The Industry Alliance for Interoperability (IAI) has led to the development and implementation of the Industry foundation Classes (IFC) that were developed to improve communications, productivity, delivery time, cost and quality throughout the design, construction and maintenance life cycle of buildings. DocLink developed within the Procure project to support the automatic transfer of project documents, together with their associated metadata, between document management systems. The table below lists the results from the project that are described in more detail in the ProCure Technology Implementation Plan. Results and Achievements Table 1 - Results Project Results Social Science Methodologies Information Management Platform Cost Power and Project Simulation Good Practice Guidelines Project Website Selection Method DocLink Specifications DocLink Implementation

3 ESPRIT Procure Synthesis Report 3 Integrated Workflow with PlanNet Pilot projects Pilot 1 CostPower and project simulations The change in FE's business culture requires new tools to support the processes within the company. The basis of the new tools is a vision that power plants can be seen as standardised products instead of individual construction projects. This has led to the assembly of a power plant defined by a hierarchical product information model. The Finnish Pilot project was based around the introduction and implementation of a new software application for cost estimation called CostPower, which has been developed for the cost estimation of power plant tenders. CostPower presents an important change in working practice of the company during the tender stage, but its target is also to pave the way for increased use of core databases and expert systems for engineering, procurement and construction projects. The other new tools introduced for the personnel in the Pilot were Simo-2 and ScopePower. Pilot 2 The UK Pilot focused on medium sized office developments that are undertaken on a regular basis by Taylor Woodrow. The Christie Fields Phase 2 project, comprising the design and construction of two office buildings of a multiphase development, was selected. Taylor Woodrow was both the developer and construction manager. Following two Pre-Pilot studies the following specific areas of technology were the focus of the Pilot: The use of a shared collaborative project web site (PWS) for the exchange of all project information between all parties participating in the design and construction of the Pilot project structure. The automated transfer of information from the PWS to and from a company s own corporate Electronic Data Management System (EDMS).

4 4 Synthesis Report ESPRIT Procure The use of integrated 3D modelling for the Architectural, Structural and Building Services design and construction. Pilot 3 - Integrated workflow with PlanNet The German Pilot was based on the integration of workflow and focused on the design process for a car plant factory and the benefits that can be obtained by having a close partnership in the design phase of large scale engineering facilities. Within the Pilot benefits were identified which can be obtained not only by using a common web based project spaces, but in addition by connecting the working environments of Züblin and DaimlerChrysler by replication of the databases used in both companies to carry out the building projects. Social science methodologies It turns out that much of the effort and impact of the social science component in ProCure was in the direction of persuading people to overcome their fears of the unknown and work with real users and data from real situations. We did not always succeed in this, and there were other things we would have liked to do as well. But on reflection this contribution was more worthwhile than we perhaps realised at the time. As has been said, reality then exercises its own power. Part of the appeal of Information Communication Technology (ICT) is the attraction of tidiness (and with tidiness of course comes control). In this model there is nothing that cannot be tamed into binary mode, and virtual becomes the new real. However, simulations that are not based on real data and feedback, whatever degree of sophistication they may have in other respects, are vulnerable to the fantasies of the developers. These will both contain wishful thinking and be subject to the sheer limits of imagination. Then users as individuals or groups - whose behaviour does not fit in with the expectations built into and engendered by the virtual simulations are perceived as somehow wrong and must be persuaded, perhaps with the help of social scientists, to see this. This is the Virtual Fallacy. A dramatic current example of this model in operation is that of the war in Iraq not measuring up to simulations and war games. But there are countless lesser examples of it in the development and implementation of ICT. Information management platform The Procure research partner VTT has developed an integrated environment for creating and managing shared and distributed project information, both document and model information, called the Information Management Platform (IMP) a prototype platform. The IMP enables project teams to exchange and share both project document and product model information and is composed from two subsystems: Document Management System (DMS) for managing electronic unstructured documents (files) Product Data Management System (PDMS) for managing pre-defined building objects (EXPRESS driven, model based data) The focus of the IMP system is to provide a webbased common project environment that in turn is linked with the internal working environments of the participating companies. The IMP provides the following functionality: Uploading and downloading of files, Full control of product model server, Access to product data using an XML or VRML interface. Good practice guidelines The project has prepared a document that presents some good practice guidelines for the implementation of commercially available ICT for the construction industry. In particular, the guidelines were concerned with the implementation of 3D modelling and Internet based project web sites. The guide is specific to the construction industry and some understanding of the industry is required to understand the difficulties, which one would expect to meet in implementing ICT.

5 ESPRIT Procure Synthesis Report 5 Project web site selection There are currently numerous commercially available Project Web Site (PWS) applications in the UK alone. In order to carry out an objective evaluation of such systems and to undertake the selection of one system for use on the UK Pilot Project, work was to formally define the requirements for a PWS. A marking scheme was also developed to facilitate the selection of the most suitable PWS. Based on the evaluation the-project developed by Sarcophagus Ltd. was selected as it was the clear leader on the points scoring system adopted for the evaluation. DocLink DocLink is an information sharing specification designed for use within project-centric industries such as construction. It defines a standard means of automatically transferring project documents, together with their associated metadata, between corporate-level document management systems and project-level information systems. DocLink provides an effective solution to an industrial need that is currently emerging as a consequence of three related trends: The relentless increase in the use of information technology in the production of all types of project document. Growing use of document management systems within companies involved in construction projects. The introduction of project web sites (also known as project Extranets) as the means of distributing documents between all the participants in a project. Conclusions and plans for the future It is clear from all three Pilots that corporate level information system solutions cannot be bought off the shelf and implemented within companies without considerable configuration and customisation in order to support the business processes and procedures. EDM systems focus on particular functionality, for example workflow or support of CAD drawings with their associated reference information. These systems therefore enable information to be managed and controlled effectively and allow access to all members of the project team. However, this only provides a partial solution towards solving the interoperability issues between different software applications that are used in a company. Improvements can be made to these interoperability issues by adopting information exchange standards for exchanging information between applications, for example: STEP-CDS for 2-D drawings, CIMsteel for the steelwork domain and IAI-IFC s in a 3-D building model environment. The emerging technologies that were relevant to the ProCure project included: Simulation of the delivery of power and process plant Extensible mark-up language (XML), including construction-specific forms of the language and the potential to enhance electronic data interchange Construction-specific electronic data interchange standards. With regard to 3D and information models, the end user Partners are committed to continuing investment in modelling on projects as a key to better quality and productivity. This will not only involve themselves but also other construction project partners and their associated supply chain partners. ProCure results are contributing to company level strategies for achieving this. A major concern is the difficulty in exchanging information between the software applications used by different disciplines. The use of information standards is vital for overcoming these difficulties. It is interesting to see that the standards are maturing and that the major software suppliers are beginning to release software, which can exchange via these standards.

6 6 Synthesis Report ESPRIT Procure More information All the project results can be found at: Project details Project name: ProCure: ICT at Work for the LSE Procurement Chain Project number: ESPRIT Research area: Information Technologies ( ) Timescale: Contract Start Date: 1st January 1999 Date: 30th April 2002 Finish Budget: Overall cost: 3,737,000 European Commission contribution: 2,000,000 Keywords: Social Science Methodologies, EDMS, Workflow, Product Models, IFC, XML, Exchange Standards Project co-ordinator: David Leonard Taylor Woodrow Tel: Project URL: Key project participants: Taylor Woodrow Corus Group DaimlerChrysler Ed Züblin AG Fortum Engineering Haas and Partner University of Leeds The Bayswater Institute VTT (D) (D) (FI) (D) (FI)

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