ASSESSMENT OF THE USAGE OF ICT TOOL IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY IN NIGERIA


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ASSESSMENT OF THE USAGE OF ICT TOOL IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY IN NIGERIA (A CASE STUDY OF PRACTICING FIRMS IN LAGOS STATE)  

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title Page i

Certification Page ii

Dedication iii

Acknowledgements iv

Abstract v

Table of Contents  vi

CHAPTER ONE: - GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1.0 Introduction                                                               

1.1 Background of the Study                                           

1.2 Statement of the Problem                                           

1.3 Aim and Objectives                                                    

1.4 Significance of the Study                                                                  

1.5 Scope of the Study                                                        

1.6 Research Hypotheses                                                    

1.7 Research Question                                                        

1.8 Definition of Terms                                                       

CHAPTER TWO: - LITERATURE REVIEW

2.0 Literature Review                                                                    

2.1 The Role of Design Professionals in the Construction Project Chain                                                                       

2.2 The Current Use of ICT in Professional Practice in Construction                                                                       

2.3 Constraints to ICT Use                                                       

2.4 Benefit of ICT 

2.5 The Current Use of ICT and Its Future Prospects 

CHAPTER THREE: - RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

3.1 Research Design

3.2 Research Hypotheses

3.3 Method of Data Collection 

3.4 The Questionnaire

3.5 Data Analysis 

3.6 Factors Influencing the Computerization of Professional Practice 

3.7 Profile of Respondent    

CHAPTER FOUR: - DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS

4.1 Use of Communication System by the Professional 

4.2 Test of Hypotheses

4.3 Discussion on Result  

CHAPTER FIVE: - SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION 

5.0 Summary

5.1 Conclusion

5.2 Recommendation 

References 

CHAPTER ONE

1.0INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY  

The construction industry is so hierarchical and fragmented in nature that some of the major participants do not consider themselves to be part of the same industry (Hindle, 2000).  This requires close coordination among a large number of specialized but interdependent organizations and individual to achieve the cost, time and quality goals of a construction project (Toole, 2003).  Hence, according to Maqsood, (2004), a major construction process demands heavy exchange of data and information between project participants on a daily basis.

Rivard (2004) has identified, the two vital roles information plays in all construction projects as the specification of the resulting product (design information) and the initiation and control of the activities required for constructing the facility (management information).  Design consultants, (architects, engineers and quantity surveyors), acting as professional advisers to the client, are largely responsible for the production and dissemination of both the design and management information among the various project participants. According to Mohammed & Steward (2003), the majority of construction process information is heavily based upon traditional means of communication such as face – to – face meetings and the exchange of paper documents in the form of technical drawings, specifications and site instructions.  This is why the construction industry has for many years suffered from difficult - to – access, out – of –date and incomplete information (Shoesmith, 1995).  As the management of construction, like most other industries, requires accurate information, the need to increase the efficiency of information management by exchanging massive volumes of information at  high speed and at relatively low cost has been long recognized by the industry. (Deng, 2001).

According to Nkado (2000), the effectiveness of consultants in meeting the needs of clients in the built environment is influenced 

by their recognition and application of context – relevant competencies.  Architectural, engineering and quantity surveying professionals are the consultants traditionally responsible for the production and management of most of the project information and documents required by such other project participants as contractors, subcontractors and suppliers for the execution of construction projects.  The complex and uncertain nature of construction projects demands the appointment of capable consultants, to realize the client’s interests in a project (Ng & Chow, 2004).  A common competency required of these, consultants is the ability to manage and communicate project information and documents.  In fact, a core issue in the driver for increased productivity in the construction industry is the effective management of information, both in the form of information flows that permit rapid inter-organizational transaction between project participants, and in the form of information accumulated, Coded and stored in firm database structures (Mohammed & Stewart, 2003).  Thus from quantity surveyors, a basic competency in data, information and information technology is required (RICS, 1998), while from engineers, the availability of computer facilities in a measure of technical capacity (Ng & Chow, 2004).   In the case of architects, the effective communication of design information to contractors is a key performance criterion (Oyedele & Tham, 2005).  It has become a tactical necessity for these   consultants and other project participants to integrate their information systems with each other to improve the flow of information between them and enhance the effectiveness of decision –making (Li 2000).the adoption and use of ICT facilitates this much-needed integration in the construction industry (Li et al., 2000; Liston et a.,, 2000; Mohammed Stewart, 2003).

Unfortunately, however, while there are reports of the use of ICT in the construction industries of industrialized countries like the US (Issa et al., 2003; Toole, 2003; Canada (Rivard, 2000; Rivard et al., 2004); Sweden, Denmark and Finland (Samuelson, 2002) and New Zealand (Doherty, 1997), among others, comparatively few (if any) exist for a developing country like Nigeria.  Indeed, according to Pamulu & Bhuta (2004), very few reports exist of research in ICT in developing countries.  While It is not surprising that findings are similar in many respects for these industries countries, the results, according to Austin (1990), might not be applicable to a developing country (like Nigeria) due to differences in the cultural, socio-economic and regulatory environments (Jarvenpaa et al., 1998); Dewan  2000; Seyal  (2000).  This study is therefore an attempt to evaluate the impact of ICT on professional practice in the Nigerian construction industry in the context of a developing economy to provide the true picture of the use of ICT in a typical non-industrialized country.  Thus, it is believed, will extend the frontiers of knowledge on the subject beyond the North American and European experiences.  It is against this background that the paper presents an empirical analysis of the impact of ICT on the practices of 107 professional consulting firms in Nigeria, comprising 29 architectural, 38 engineering and 40 quantity surveying practices. 

1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM 

“Insufficient / erratic power supply” is the important constraint to widespread adoption of ICT and “Fear of ICT making professionals redundant” is the least important among the 13 constraints assessed. 

 The unassailable number 1 ranking of “Insufficient/erratic power supply” contracts sharply with the results of studies in several developed countries (reported by Doherty, 1977; Rivard, 2000; Samuelson, 2002; and Goh, 2005) which made no mention of electricity and other infrastructure as obstacles.  While the supply of electricity is taken for granted in developed countries, in Nigeria it is unreliable. (AfDB & OECD, 2004), leading to high production costs for companies, which are forced to procure and run their own power generating facilities.  This adds significantly not only to the cost of using ICT but also to the cost of doing business generally in Nigeria.  

1.3AIM AND OBJECTIVES

The aim of the study is to access the impact of ICT on professional consulting firms in the Nigerian construction industry.  To this end, the specific objectives are to:

1. Identify and assess the factors that determine the use of ICT by construction consultants in Nigeria.

2. Identify and assess the constraints to the use of ICT by the consultants 

3. Identify and assess the benefits of ICT use to the consultants

4. Assess the current use and the prospects for increased use of ICT among consultants in the near future.

1.4 SIGNIFICANT OF THE STUDY

The ranking of the eight benefits of ICT indicates that the three main benefits are “makes the professional’s job easier”  “facilitates decision making” and “savings in operating costs”.  The overwhelming premium of the respondents placed on the fact that ICT makes the professional’s job easier may be out of the realization that it offers the best solution to some of the problems of human inefficiency which, according to Oyedele & Tham (2005), are so severe in the Nigerian construction industry.

1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The scope of this research is limited to the usage of ICT tool in the Development of building construction industry in Lagos State, Nigeria.  It is limited to this place alone in order to ensure the use of ICT on professional consulting firm in Lagos construction.   

1.6 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

The study tested the following null (H0) and corresponding alternative (HA) hypotheses based on groups of attributes and relevant factors obtained from the literature.

A. H0: There is no agreement among construction consultants on the  factors that determine the use of ICT by consulting firms

HA : There is agreement among construction consultants on the factors that determine the use of ICT by consulting firms.

B. H0: There is no agreement among construction consultants on the factors that impede the use of ICT by consulting firms.

HA: There is agreement among construction consultants on the factors that impede the use of ICT by consulting firms.

1.7 RESEARCH QUESTION

1. What are the factors that significantly affect the benefit of information and communication technology (ICT) and the severity of the impending factors?

2. How does ICT and construction relates to consultancy firms

3. What are the level of ICT use by professionals

1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS 

⦁ Construction Industry: The building of something, especially a large structure such as a house road or bridge. 

⦁ Consultancy Firm: - These are expert who charge a fee for providing advice or services in a particular field.   

⦁ Hardware: - These are equipment and devices that make up a computer system as opposed to the program use on it.

⦁ Software: - This is program and application that can be run on a computer system e.g. word processing or database packages (often used before a noun).

⦁ Communication: - The exchange of information between people e.g. by means of speaking, writing or using a common system of using behavior.

⦁ Information: - The collection facts and data about a specific subject.

⦁ Technology: - The study development and application of devices, machines and techniques for manufacturing and productive processes.

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ASSESSMENT OF THE USAGE OF ICT TOOL IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY IN NIGERIA


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