Change and exchange : electronic document management in building design

Author: Kurt Löwnertz; Kth; []

Keywords: ;

Abstract: Producing documents using computer supported methods hasbecome common practice in the construction industry, but themanagement of documents is still to a large degree done withmanual methods. Some pioneering users in design, constructionand facility management respectively have applied electronicdocument management (EDM) within their organisations or forprojects. However, the introduction has hitherto beennoticeably slow.This thesis discusses the benefits of the new documentmanagement techniques to the construction and facilitymanagement process, with focus on building design, as well asthe obstacles when implementing these techniques. Theconstruction sector process has some particular properties,differing from other industry sectors, in that a projectorganisation is formed anew for each project and involves anumber of specialists with varying requirements for theircompanyinternal production and management of documents. Themain themes for EDM in building design are therefore how tomanage the change of information and the exchange or sharing ofinformation between the different organisations.The thesis contains a state-of-the-art description ofdocument management in building design, including reviews ofcommercial applications, standards and current best practice.Basic techniques on a scale from file-hierarchy-based toproduct-model-based systems are classified and analysed from abuilding design perspective.Five cases of document management in practice have beenstudied. The companies studied are active within differentdesign disciplines and have chosen to introduce and use EDM indifferent ways, with respect to technology as well as theinformation content that is managed. It is concluded that thedifferent requirements can not be met by uniform methods fordocument management, but that the exchange of documents andtheir meta-data has to be supported by information standardswhich need to cover a number of levels from hardware toconstruction-specific classification. As a starting-point forfurther development a conceptual schema for document meta-datasuited for building design is discussed.The overall result of the research provides requirements forspecifying applications, standards and implementationprocedures for electronic document management suited to theactivities of building design and the interfaces to longterminformation management concerning buildings.Keywords:construction, building design, electronicdocument management, requirements, meta-data, standardisation,state-of-the-art, case studies