American Society of Civil Engineers

Collalboration Environments for Construction: Implementation Case Studies

by Bilge Erdogan, (corresponding author), (Res. Fellow, Salford Centre for Res. & Innovation, School of Built Envir., Univ. of Salford, Salford, Greater Manchester M5 4WT, U.K. E-mail:, Chimay J. Anumba, F.ASCE, (Prof. and Head, Dept. of Arch. Engrg., the Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA 16802. E-mail:, Dino Bouchlaghem, (Prof., Dept. of Civ. and Bldg. Engrg., Loughborough Univ., Loughborough, Leicestershire LE11 3TU, U.K. E-mail:, and Yasemin Nielsen, (Asst. Prof., Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Middle East Tech. Univ., 06531 Ankara, Turkey. E-mail:

Journal of Management in Engineering, Vol. 24, No. 4, October 2008, pp. 234-244, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: Although emerging technologies offer the construction industry many opportunities for computer supported collaboration environments, the companies adopting these technologies usually fail in achieving the full benefits from their implementations. The reason for this is found to be focusing too much on the technical factors and ignoring or underestimating the factors related to change, implementation, human and organizational factors, and the roles of the management and end users. Each new information technology (IT) implementation involves some change for the organization and the employees, and is therefore a source of resistance and confusion unless special attention is paid to managing this change. This paper aims to review the related theoretical concepts and previous work on success factors for collaboration environment implementations and failure reasons for IT, and to present the current approaches adopted by construction organizations implementing collaboration environments. In order to achieve these aims, the results of an extensive literature review on general causes of failure in IT implementations are presented, and the key areas to focus on during IT design and implementation are highlighted and explained. The results of exploratory case studies are summarized to show the current IT implementation and collaborative working approaches in the United Kingdom construction industry and interpreted using a systems thinking approach. The paper then concludes with some insights into how construction organizations can improve the implementation of collaboration systems.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Case studies
Change management
Construction industry
Human factors
Information technology (IT)