ITcon Vol. 6, pg. 83-83,

Editorial - Information and Communication technology advances in the European Construction industry.

submitted:December 2001
published:December 2001
authors:Yacine Rezgui, Professor
Information Systems Institute, University of Salford, UK

Alain Zarli, Dr, Project Manager - Team Leader
CSTB - Centre Scientifique et Technique du B√Ętiment, Sophia Antipolis, France
summary:Funding bodies in general, and the European Commission in particular, have for over a decade funded project centred Research and Technology Development (RTD) efforts. While these have traditionally operated in isolation with little co-operation and cross-fertilization of results, a crucial requirement has emerged, following the latest developments and advances in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), to have a more concerted and co-ordinated action aiming at a better integration, standardisation, dissemination and exploitation of the results from these projects across the European regions and countries. This has been clearly identified as a key requirement within the European Information Society and Technology (IST) Programme.Construction is one of the European industry sectors that requires innovation and process improvements if it is to remain competitive in today's digital economy. It is nearly unique in its dependence on SME working teams who own most of the construction industry skills but cannot afford to invest individually in advanced developments. They often rely on (largely national) trade associations to look after their medium and long interests, whilst focusing on more short-term improvement timescales. In this overall context, based on the promising results and achievements made by the leading European Construction IT community in the IST Programme, a cluster initiative involving six IST funded projects has been set up. This initiative, ICCI (Innovation co-ordination, transfer and deployment through networked Co-operation in the Construction Industry - IST-2001-33022), is addressing a wide spectrum of Construction industry related issues ranging from ICT implementation and deployment to organizational, social, and legal aspects. It is trying to establish a critical mass of European involvement to meaningfully start the process of change that is now required in the Construction sector. The projects forming the foundation of ICCI are: OSMOS (IST-1999-10491), ISTforCE (IST-1999-11508), GLOBEMEN (IST-1999-60002), eConstruct (IST-1999-10303), Divercity (IST-1999-13365), and eLegal (IST-1999-20570).This special issue is dedicated to this initiative. It comprises comprehensive papers describing the aims and results of each project forming the ICCI cluster. These projects share similar aims and promote complementary approaches making use of established technologies revolving around the theme of Virtual Enterprises and eWork for OSMOS and GLOBEMEN, concurrent engineering for ISTforCE; virtual collaborative workspaces for Divercity; e-Business and e-Commerce applications in Construction for eConstruct; and legal and contractual conditions for ICT use and deployment in Construction organizations and projects for eLegal.It is quite obvious that the ICCI clustered projects present not only strong overlapping areas, but also quite interesting complementarities. In order to achieve its ambition, the ICCI project plans to elaborate on the results of each of these projects and provide the glue that will reinforce the complementarities between them and the synergies derived from their work, by (1) promoting the use and efficient deployment of ICTs to contribute to a highly competitive European Construction networked economy; (2) allowing the establishment of a platform from which novel management as well as technological ideas can emerge; and, (3) contribute to European policy development in various areas of the Construction industry
citation:Rezgui Y and Zarli A (2001). Editorial - Information and Communication technology advances in the European Construction industry., ITcon Vol. 6, Special issue Information and Communication Technology Advances in the European Construction Industry, pg. 83-83,