Bench Marking the Use of Information Technology by the Quantity Surveying Profession

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Benchmarking the use of information technology by the quantity surveying profession Qiping Shen, Heng Li, Liyin Shen, Derek Drew and Jacky Chung Department of Building and Real Estate, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong, People’s Republic of China Keywords Benchmarking, Quantity surveying, Computer applications, Hong Kong Abstract This paper introduces the findings of a recent benchmarking study on the use of information technology (IT) among quantity surveying (QS) companies in Hong Kong. The study was conducted through a questionnaire survey among 15 QS companies registered in Hong Kong, representing around 50 per cent of the total number of companies in the profession. The study focused on how QS companies use IT in their daily operations, including information flows among business partners, the use of computer hardware and software, IT expenditure and training, management support, the perceived benefits of IT applications, perceived obstacles in IT implementation, and major criteria used in software selection. The content validity and measurement reliability of the questionnaire survey have been evaluated, and both of them have shown satisfactory results. This study provides an up-to-date and holistic view of the current state of IT applications among QS companies in Hong Kong, in terms of how well they have equipped with IT and their attitude towards adopting this technology. These findings provide a strong foundation for subsequent benchmarking studies to identify best practices among the quantity surveying profession in the construction industry. Based on the findings, this paper suggests major areas for improving IT usage in this sector of the construction industry.

Benchmarking the use of IT

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Introduction As a result of technological development, uncertain economic conditions, social pressures, and fierce competition, construction industry clients are placing increasing demands upon the industry in terms of the project quality, costs of delivery, time from inception to occupation, and above all, value for money of projects. According to the Construction Industry Task Force (1998), there is an urgent need to develop a knowledge centre through which all clients of the industry can access to good practices, innovations and performance of companies and projects. As a useful tool that can help the industry meet these challenges and demands, information technology (IT) has been widely used in many developed countries for several decades. IT, by definition, is a collective reference to the integration of computing technology and information processing (Long and Long, 1997). Applications of This paper is the result of a research project funded by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The authors wish to express their sincere thanks to the university for this support. The authors also wish to thank Ms Carmen Chu for her assistance in the statistical analysis.

Benchmarking: An International Journal Vol. 10 No. 6, 2003 pp. 581-596 q MCB UP Limited 1463-5771 DOI 10.1108/14635770310505193

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IT in the construction industry have attracted increasing attention worldwide. A number of surveys have been conducted in the construction industry in recent years to investigate the state-of-the-art of IT applications in the industry. These include: a survey of IT trends and needs in the construction industry in the UK (Construction Industry Computing Association, 1990), the use of IT in construction in Singapore (Betts et al., 1991), IT in construction planning in the UK and the USA (Aouad and Price, 1994), data communications in the UK construction industry (O’Brien and Al-Soufi, 1994), priority IT topics that benefit the construction industry in the...
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