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Using information technology in construction and when designing
The association on management of the finance in building Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) has prepared the report on use of an information technology (IT) in building of the USA – CFMA's 2006 Information Technology Survey for the Construction Industry. Similar reports prepare each two years and are partially published in magazine ENR.

Reports are based on the data of interrogation of the American building contractors, then are analyzed and in the generalised kind are represented on specialisation of contractors and their annual turnover.

In the report of 2006 appears on 17% more number of questions to contractors in comparison with the previous report of 2004. New questions include finding-out of personal positions in the field of an information technology, measures on an antispam, protection of the data, communication systems by phone and message transfer. To management on service by the software.

In total 2400 companies that has made the report the most volume have taken part in interrogation. Specialised contractors – the greatest group of respondents, then follow general contractors and contractors of major projects and road building.

Development of an information technology in building is influenced by general provisions in the building industry that is displayed and in the report. The main changes which have occurred in the building industry in the last two days, the following:
1. Rise in prices for materials has caused increase in demand at more effective projects which choice is better to make with use of an information technology.
2. Influence of a season of hurricanes.
3. A high competition among the contract companies.

Taking into account changes in the building industry the report on an information technology in building of 2006 is an instant picture of practical use ITin building sector. The report data can be used for definition of a level of development of the building industry.

The most considerable tendencies of development IT are considered and compared to results of the report of 2004 First, management of an information technology and results become more and more important. Growth of number of participants of interrogation almost on 200% concerning the previous interrogation in 2004 shows that an information technology and reports on them cause the increasing interest among contractors. Secondly, the tendency of standardization both personal computers, and the software and operating systems which has been noted in 2004
There were changes in staff on an information technology. About one third of all interrogated companies (35%) have regular employees on an information technology after their number in 2004 was reduced to 47%. However among these companies the number of the regular employees working inside and out of the companies, has increased to 5.9 from 4.3 in 2004

The majority of the companies use external hiring of workers for performance of functions on an information technology. In 2004 53% of respondents did not employ internal staff and only 19% from these respondents carried out information functions at the expense of external resources. In 2006 65.% had no internal staff, but already 75% used external resources for performance of functions on an information technology.

Among new questions – the budget on the staff maintenance on an information technology. On the average in a year this 344 thousand dollars, the highest budget at general contractors, the average figure makes 532 thousand dollars

In the report hardware maintenance and operating systems is reflected. As the most popular suppliers of hardware systems in the USA name company Dell, its production is used by 75% of respondents, and the number of users has not changed with 2004 for 2006 Demand for production of other companies has decreased in 2006 concerning 2004 in different degree at different manufacturers. The exception is made by company Hewlett-Packard, demand for hardware maintenance of this manufacturer has grown from 22% in 2004 to 26% in 2006

As operating systems systems Windows XP and Windows 2000 are widely used. According to the previous report, users equally chose those and other systems. However, in 2006 over all 3/4 of interrogated used system Windows XP on the personal computers.

At the analysis of network communications it is noticed that in 2006 access volumes to corporate remote networks (77% in 2006 and 86% in 2004) have decreased. More than 3/4 interrogated have necessary toolkit for access to remote networks, only 35% from them have the authorised access (in 2004 – 32%). Remote access mainly use for connection to corporate networks from the house. General use remote access from a building site more often other users successively-chiki. Contractors of major projects and road building prefer to use remote or a satellite communication.

E-mail and access to the information – the most frequent purposes of users at use of technologies of remote access (77%). Access to the working information and a database is important also.

Throughput of access to the Internet from corporate offices and дистанционно has considerably increased from the moment of release of the review of 2002 In the review of the specified year it was noticed that 1/3 corporate users used access to the Internet on telephone lines through modems. The report of 2006 shows that position has sharply changed, 91% of users use high-speed access and only 2% continue to use telephone lines and modems.

Despite some aversion at the first stage of development of wireless/pocket technologies because of uncertainty in practical advantage or their high cost, these technologies take root in building for communications when simple vocal communications are inaccessible. From all interrogated 34% have informed that use wireless/pocket technologies (25% in 2004). Others of 15% interrogated plan to take advantage of these technologies the next six months.

Many contractors use web technologies for the purposes – web sites, the intranet and extranet. The corporate websites have the majority, many use intranets-sites only for the employees, others use extranet-sites for clients or suppliers.

Corporate web sites exist as the market tool (52%) and as an information resource (23%) more often.

From all interrogated, 22% use Internet sites; have access to corporate systems of 29%, to information resources of 24%, the information at cost of works – 21%.

Concerning safety and protection of the data a situation following. More than half (55%) respondents have the formal plan of restoration of the data. But only 28% from them test the programs.

Large contractors with a turn more than 250 million dollars (41%) test the programs. After acts of nature of 2005 it is expected that testing of programs becomes obligatory for all contractors.

The majority of the interrogated is used by various ways of restoration of the data, continuous power supply or duplicate electronic files on the servers of e-mail, network servers and working devices of personal computers. The part of the interrogated companies does not duplicate the data. Usual practice – duplication of the data in the end of the working day.

For protection of databases against undesirable penetration the password more often is used or the safety trajectory remains also.

Viruses remain a problem part of work of computers, about half of respondents (46%) have noted their negative influence on business. However work of hackers as have noted interrogated, practically does not bring a damage. As the most popular program of protection against viruses both under the report of 2004, and under the report of 2006 remains Norton AntiVirus.

The majority interrogated (90%) use some methods of protection against a spam. Among all kinds of contractors the most popular quality monitoring of a spam is the software (84%).

Interrogated (86%) inform the majority on accepted measures on struggle against unapproved penetration by means of hardware and the software. Taking into account the confidential nature of the financial and other data stored in electronic form, safety of the data remains on the future the major aspect.

Taking into account all features of building manufacture specific appendices are used some:
- the automated designing/plotting (CAD/Drafting);
- an estimation (Estimating);
- cost of works/book keepings (Job Sosting/Ac counting/Payroll);
- management of the project (Project Management);
- joint working out of the project (Project Collaboration);
- project planning (Project Scheduling);
- the image (Imaging);
- the fixed actives (Fixed Asset);
- management of services (Service Management);
- management of relations with the customer (Customers Relationship Management);
- independent accounting toolkit (Third-Party Repotrting Tools);
- the contract documentation (Contractual Document Production).

On the average, about half of large companies (with a turn more than 26 million dollars) inform on importance of integration between programs of management of the project and applied accounting programs. Only 12% of the large companies (over 250 million dollars) consider a turn it not important, the small contract companies (a turn less than 26 million dollars) adhere to the same opinion also.

From all interrogated 82% have answered that their suppliers of accounting programs offer the programs integrated with the program of management by the project.

For integration of applied programs with the non-uniform environment following technologies are used:.NET, web-services, Java, XML (a basis for XBRL) and AJAX.

According to the general director of the company “ALTIUS SOFT” the developer unique in Russia Circulation management programs the building enterprise of domestic working out “ALTIUS – Management of building” A.Travkina, “short of the program for accounts department, quantity surveyors and designers, automation of other divisions the zero. Many heads consider that if there are accounting and budget programs, Word and Excel the enterprise is completely automated. Such established opinion is dictated more likely not by objective estimations, and, unfortunately, unwillingness to master new software and to complicate to itself work – to get used to new regulations. But the matter is that work from introduction specialised Software not only will not become complicated, and becomes more systematised and logical. For example, by means of programs for management of building it is possible to supervise continuously business processes, to plan activity.” [2]

1. An information technology in building (USA)//BINTI. – #2 (32), 2007 (06/01/2007) []
2. Travkin A. Builders began to approach more religiously to a choice software//The information technology in building. – #92, 2009 []

The author: Челябэнергопроект
Date: 07/24/2009

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