Computers in the British construction industry

Bo-Christer Björk

Research output: Book/ReportReport


The report concentrates on certain aspects of the use of information technology in the British construction industry. The main emphasis is on computer-aided architectural and expert systems. The development of database services and new cost estimation techniques are also treated. User experiences of CAD were studied by visits to experienced CAD users. The main emphasis was on studying how the total information management was done in the firms, since this seems to become a crucial issue in the successful implementation of computers in the design process. Typical problems to solve included standards for layer usage, libraries of standard details, procedures for back-up storage of drawings, shift work etc. Different solutions to the choice between a draughting and mnoelling system are also discussed. The new hard- and software tools now available for the development of CAD-systems were also studied. These include high resolution colour or monochrome raster screens featuring windows, icons and fonts. Fundamental research is also done into radically different techniques for modelling buildings using knowledge-based systems or using miniature models as input to CAD-systems. A number of public or commercial databases for designers and quantity surveyors are already in existence. Databases for basic maps, standard details for CAD-systems and construction costs are described in this report. In addition the potential if interactive video disk as a medium for databases is discussed. Expert systems are at present the subject of widespread interest in the U.K. building research community. A number of on-going prototype development projects are described in this report. The difficulties in developing systems that would do more than just demonstrate the potential of the technique is discussed. The last chapter contains a discussion of new techniques in cost modelling, i.e. probabilitistic cost estimating and life-cycle costing. Both methods rely heavily on the use of computers and cost data bases and are still in their infancy.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEspoo
PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Number of pages71
ISBN (Print)951-38-2271-0
Publication statusPublished - 1985
MoE publication typeD4 Published development or research report or study

Publication series

SeriesValtion teknillinen tutkimuskeskus. Tiedotteita


  • computers
  • computer aided design
  • construction industry
  • construction costs
  • information technology
  • cost estimates


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