This research describes an investigation into the information flows within the
technical and commercial functions of house building organisations. It was initiated
because of the evidence of poor data transfer and communications within the
construction industry as identified by previous research. Little previous research
had addressed the particular problems of the house building industry which
accounts for up to a third of total new construction output in the UK. The
organisational and information structures of six house building companies were
examined and a typical organisational model developed. This model highlighted the
importance of the technical and commercial functions of estimating, purchasing,
valuations and cost monitoring/comparisons and the need for effective transfer of
information between them.
The information flows between these functions were studied and modelled using
systems analysis techniques of data flow diagrams and entity-relationships models.
The requirements for a computer-aided management system to improve and
rationalise the information flows were identified and an integrated system, known
as DEVELOP, was developed.
The system was installed into a collaborating company and its advantages and
disadvantages monitored over time.
The main outcomes of the research are:
(a) an organisational model for a typical house building organisation;
(b) data flow and entity-relationship models for the functions of estimating,
purchasing, valuations and cost monitoring/comparisons; and
(c) an operational integrated management system for house builders that
(i) faster throughput of information (for example the time required to
aggregated dwelling quantities for a typical development is reduced
from three man days to one hour);(ii) greater consistency of information (by the provision of a company
data library); and
(iii) better communications between the functions (due to the integrated
nature of the system and the adoption of a common coding system).
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.