Is technology a new challenge for the field of construction management?

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The central theme in Construction Management (CM) and CM research is improving the performance of construction industry. Much effort and thought is given to improving project performance. Within CM there is a natural inclination to focus on projects and project management (PM). Companies in the construction industry also see project management as their key competence. Both have little appreciation for technologies other than those that support project management tasks. Technology – other than PM support – is often seen as an outside resource that is "contracted in". By taking such a neutral position regarding technology, CM and construction companies not only disregard the potential of these technologies, but also fail to notice the adverse effects when new technologies are "contracted in". This paper argues that CM as well as companies in construction can gain by reconsidering their stance towards technology. This argument is built on the case of road construction – in particular the asphalt paving process. The case shows that development of the new technologies and the development of the skills and operational practice of the people that are expected to use the technologies are not in harmony. Projections for the upcoming decade indicate a sharp rise and proliferation of SMART technologies – this too for the construction industry. Construction companies need to take a more proactive and involved stance towards these technologies to be able to reap the benefits. If not, then the gap between technologies and construction will grow and the risks for the companies increase with it. CM and CM research needs to address this gap, support the introduction of new technologies and the synchronisation of new technology development and the development of skills and working. If it fails to do so CM and CM research will struggle to maintain its meaningful contribution in the improvement of the construction industry.
Original languageUndefined
Title of host publicationProceedings 24th ARCOM Conference, 1-3 September 2008, Cardiff, UK
EditorsA Dainty
Place of PublicationReading, UK
PublisherAssociation of Researchers in Construction Management (ARCOM)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)0-9552390-1-X
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2008
Event24th Annual ARCOM Conference 2008 - Cardiff, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Sept 20083 Sept 2008
Conference number: 24


Conference24th Annual ARCOM Conference 2008
Abbreviated titleARCOM 2008
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • IR-61475
  • METIS-249238

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