Communication effectiveness in intranet based construction projects

2012-12-13T11:49:33Z (GMT) by Stephen P. Mead
Today, the advent of information technologies (IT) is changing the way the world communicates. The growth of internet related technologies provides building organizations with low-cost tools that can optimize project communications. In particular, the recent development of project specific "intranets", can enhance project communication by giving all members of the project team access to a common, centralized database of construction information. This study looked at the effect of project specific intranet systems on the communications of the project team. More specifically, the study analyzed several communication variables including timeliness, completeness, understanding, barriers, speed and procedures. Additionally, graphic models were developed to help describe the intranet's role in the project communication network.. The methodology triangulated three data collection methods to measure variables on three case studies. This triangulation included the comparison of information benchmarks, an examination of communication effectiveness, and the use of social network analysis. The study found that when used properly, project specific intranet systems act as a key actor in a project communication network. Intranets also have a positive effect on the timeliness and understanding of project information, and their use can improve the speed with which information is transferred between project players. On the negative side, intranet use seems to contribute to the information overload of project participants. But the success of the project intranet is largely a function of project participation. For positive results several key players need to use the system on a regular basis. These key players include the architect, the project manager, the site superintendent and key office engineers. When one of these primary players refuses to participate, then the system quickly loses its effectiveness.