Loughborough University
Thesis-1998-Lewis.pdf (11.43 MB)

Electronic data interchange in the construction industry

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posted on 2012-12-13, 12:36 authored by Tony Lewis
The aim of this research is to improve the efficiency of the construction process through the application of electronic data interchange (EDI). This thesis describes the development and application of EDI messages. The messages described are targeted to provide a means for transferring construction specific information during the construction process. The definition of electronic data interchange and its technical issues are first described. The nature of EDI, replacing paper based communication with electronic messages, impacts on the way in which business is conducted, and also has far reaching legal implications due to the reliance of many legal systems on paper documents and signatures. The business and legal implications are therefore discussed in detail. The application of EDI in the construction industry is investigated by means of a literature review. This work is furthered by a longitudinal study of the construction industry's application of EDI, which consisted of two surveys at a five year interval. A model of the information flows within the traditional construction process is developed to assist in the identification of information flows suitable for EDI. A methodology for message development was produced. The methodology was then applied to develop a description data model that could be utilised in the existing bill of quantity and trading cycle messages. The bill of quantity message set was at a stage ready for trial. To determine the issues related to implementation specifically in the construction industry a trial implementation of this message set was undertaken. The official implementation undertaken by EDICON is described. Software was also developed to undertake the trial. This software was tested and proved the message set developed was suitable for the transfer of bill of quantity related information during a construction project. The factors causing the failure of the implementation of the bill of quantities message set are discussed. A number of these factors are considered valid for all construction project information flows. Finally, the use of shared project models to re-engineer construction information tasks is recommended as a means of achieving significant benefit from electronic data exchange in the construction process.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering


© Tony Lewis

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.


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