School of the Built Environment
Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment
Recent critiques of the BIM literature describe it as largely devoid of critical theoretical perspectives and theorisation capable of explaining the nature of change in work practices in a holistic manner. In response, the authors argue from a theoretical standpoint, that implementing BIM within professional work practices (as activity systems) induces their evolution through dysfunctions created within the systems and their resolution. Cases of professional organisations in South Africa that have implemented BIM within their organisation and in multi-organisational projects, helped to develop new theoretical insights into how professional work practices evolve using activity theory-based re-description of the data. Changes in professional work practices were analysed sequentially within the framework, confirming theoretical propositions and revealing the dynamics between and within the interconnected system of actors, their object, tools, rules guiding work, roles they assume, and the stakeholders. Essentially, the findings imply that the implementation ofBIM significantly changes work practices within organisations, but gradually and over time. This supports an evolutionary, rather than a radical or revolutionary, view ofBIM-induced change. This theoretical perspective could explain future dimensions of change in professional work practices involving BIM, and indeed similar work mediating tools.
In response to the demands of implementing building information modeling (BIM), new roles and job titles have emerged. However, it can be argued that these roles fundamentally fall within the scope of the traditional functions of existing core professional service providers, although being carried out through different means and methods. This study examines the circumstances that have created the necessity for these new roles in the South African context and also questions the sustainability of their legitimacy. Data were collected using key informant interviews with construction professional service providers (CPSPs) in South Africa and analyzed through thematic content analysis. A deep conceptualization and new theoretical insight is developed on the phenomenon of new role creation and legitimation. It was established that new BIM role takers are legitimated to exercise authority within project teams and organizations mainly by leveraging superior knowledge as a strategic resource. By implication, they will remain legitimate only as long as the constraint prompting their creation subsists, i.e., core professionals’ BIM knowledge deficiencies, thereby affirming that the new BIM roles are transitory and unsustainable.
E-tendering is a veritable tool for increasing productivity and empowering construction industry professionals to take better control of the tendering process. However, despite the administrative and managerial benefits obtainable by the adoption of e-tendering, the challenges and associated risks are rife. Thus, this study set out to assess the state of the art of e-tendering in the Nigerian construction industry. Using a cross- sectional survey type of research design, data was sought from quantity surveyors, architects, engineers and contractors in the industry. The results of this survey report an elementary level of knowledge about e-tendering among Nigerian construction industry professionals. There is a general lack of basic facilities necessary for the process coupled with a low level of proficiency in its usage. Irregular power supply, financial implications of putting up e-tendering infrastructure and poor telecommunications infrastructure rank highest among factors Legal backing for electronic transactions in Nigeria is also deficient. Government effort at creation of better exchange portals and improvement of existing e-tendering portals was found to be inadequate. However, despite the ambivalent disposition of industry professionals towards e-tendering, the prospect of its adoption in the Nigerian construction industry by construction industry professionals is still high as evidenced by the results of this research.
Building information modelling (BIM) implementation in South Africa, though spanning over a decade, has been neither widespread nor optimal prompting a need to identify key constraints to achieving these. Data were collected through semistructured interviewing of purposively selected consultants who have implemented BIM within their organisations and on projects. Key industry level constraints to optimal and widespread implementation of BIM in South Africa include lack of standards and uniform protocols as well as lack of government capacity, buy-in and support. These in turn contribute to varying patterns of implementation methodologies among collaborators along with non-interoperability of technology and business processes. The findings establish a clear demand for country-specific standards and institutional backing though current implementers adopt or adapt standards and protocols from other countries. Taking the proliferation of BIM standards into account, rather than recreating BIM standards for South African construction industry, it is more efficient to universally adopt or adapt existing standards from countries leading in BIM. Therefore as countries lagging in BIM continue to adapt existing BIM standards, diverse standards and methodologies across the world may evolve towards a dominant pattern of BIM implementation practice among existing variants, and with global collaboration, global BIM standards may emerge.
Adeyemi is Principal Education Advisor at World Scholars Academy.