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Impacts of Design/Information Technology on Project Outcomes.

pdf icon Impacts of Design/Information Technology on Project Outcomes. (592 K)
Thomas, S. R.

NIST GCR 99-786; 46 p. Januray 2000.


National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD

Available from:

National Technical Information Service (NTIS), Technology Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, Springfield, VA 22161.
Telephone: 1-800-553-6847 or 703-605-6000;
Fax: 703-605-6900.
Order number: PB2000-101952


information technology; design/information technology; practice use; performance norms; cost benefits; schedule compression; economic value; project outcomes; technology implementation; bar coding; integrated database; design technology


This study sponsored by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) represents a collaborative effort by industry, government, and academia to evaluate the use of design/information technology (D/IT) and to relate the degree of use to project performance. The study was accomplished by the Construction Industry Institute (CII) staff using data from its Benchmarking and Metrics (BM&M) database and feedback from on-site interviews with representatives of select high performing projects. The CII database reflects the actual project experiences from more than 700 projects from 64 member companies and organizations. Data in the database has been systematically collected during annual data collection cycles since 1996 to support the benchmarking of construction industry performance norms and to measure the degree of practice use. Only US domestic projects were selected for this study and data were segregated by owners and contractors. Contractor data were further screened by selecting only those projects for which contractors performed both design and construction activities. The study consists of three tasks. The first was a detailed statistical analysis of select projects in the CII database. This analysis produced baseline measures of performance and D/IT use and then established the correlation between these measures to assess the economic value of using the technologies. For the second research task, a set of projects that excelled in the use of D/IT and that scored high on performance measures was identified. These "exemplary" projects provided a basis for further in-depth analyses through on-site interviews with key project representatives. Common characteristics of these projects were summarized via anecdotal information and included in this report as a set of lessons learned. This report, which synthesizes findings of the statistical analyses and on-sight interviews, is the product of the third study task. The results of this study establish that projects benefit from D/IT use. Both owners and contractors can expect overall project cost savings of approximately 1.4 percent and construction cost savings closer to 4 percent by increasing the use of D/IT. For owners there is clear evidence of schedule compression as well. Although the statistical analyses do not support schedule compression benefits for contractors, findings from the exemplary project interviews provide anecdotal support. According to these interviews, D/IT use contributed to faster shop fabrications resulting in reductions in overall construction time. Additional schedule benefits were reported by those using D/IT for computer modeling, which led to reductions in rework, further shortening required construction time.