Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering


Dr Steven Yeomans

Dr Steven Yeomans

+44 (0)7584 205513

Google Scholar


ICT-enabled Collaborative Working Methodologies in Construction

Project Title

Collaborative Prototyping in Construction


Buro Happold Ltd


Academic Supervisors:
Professor Dino Bouchlaghem
Dr Ashraf El-Hamalawi

Industrial Supervisors:
Dr Andrew Cripps
Mr Mark Phillips

Director of Research:
Professor Chimay Anumba

Research Period

2001 - 2005

Collaborative Prototyping in Construction


The last decade has witnessed the extensive discussion and documentation of the UK construction industry’s inherent problems. Issues at the forefront of conversation include a conservative culture, an adversarial nature, fragmentation, poor knowledge management, a lack of process transparency and a lack of industry standards (for information exchange). One result of this has been the acceptance by the predominant number of industry experts (essentially over the past four years), that IT has a vital role to play in helping to overcome these problems, and achieve those targets outlined by the Latham and Egan reports. Furthermore, the emergence of the information age and the ensuing increase in globalisation have seen leading construction organisations within the UK to look towards new ways of working in order to compete effectively in a new era.

One new way of working recognised by several groups within the UK construction industry is that of collaborative prototyping. Other industries such as the automotive and aeronautical industries have long recognised the potential benefits of prototyping, and have used it to accelerate and streamline their development process.

Presently within the industry, collaborative prototyping utilises ad hoc integrated 3D CAD modelling techniques and collaborative forms of working to allow the evaluation and testing of a building at the various design stages of a project. Egan (1998) wrote that “there are enormous benefits to be gained, in terms of eliminating waste and rework for example, from using modern CAD technology to prototype buildings and by rapidly exchanging information on design changes. Redesign should take place on computer, not on the construction site”. However, construction needs a single industry-wide solution that delivers an integrated model, which covers a project’s complete life cycle from inception to demolition. The aim is to develop collaborative prototyping into a tool for providing a complete source of multi-disciplinary information extractable from the start, during and after development of a project. In order to facilitate a more efficient and productive way of working, one that will challenge the way conventional projects are managed. When looking to the future, the Foresight report by the DTI concludes that collaborative working with CAD models will improve performance in almost every dimension helping to improve quality, cost, time and safety.

Aims and Objectives

  • A review of the role of 3D modelling and collaborative prototyping practices within collaborative working;
  • A review of existing collaborative prototyping methods of working within the construction industry;
  • Review new developments in collaborative working within the industry, establish what is state-of the-art, and consider future developments;
  • Determine the levels of application of collaborative prototyping within medium to large organisations;
  • Analyse and evaluate Buro Happold’s existing collaborative prototyping methods;
  • Assist Buro Happold in developing procedures and software necessary to enable interoperability to take place;
  • Run one or more collaborative prototyping projects in parallel with the conventional process to compare techniques and benefits;
  • Assist Buro Happold in disseminating the benefits of collaborative prototyping throughout their practice and the wider construction community.

Method and Current Status

  • A basic report on the state of the construction industry’s use of collaborative prototyping has been presented to Buro Happold;
  • Complete a comprehensive review of all existing literature including research papers, industry journals and trade magazines, Internet articles (from authorised sources) and information gathered from within Buro Happold;
  • Carry out a study of Buro Happold in order to establish their existing levels of resources and IT capabilities in order to determine future requirements in connection with collaborative prototyping;
  • Complete the MSc Thesis on collaborative prototyping as a basis for further research;
  • Undertake training on specific software to obtain working knowledge;
  • Actively participate and manage live projects to establish an understanding of collaborative prototyping practices; whilst also gaining an appreciation of the role a project leader under this scenario;
  • Attend and partake in industry events such as Teamwork 2002 in order to gain a greater understanding of the barriers and challenges the subject ncompasses;
  • Carry out an extensive appraisal of current and emerging technology;
  • Complete semi-structured and structured interviews with industry and discipline specific experts;
  • Carry out case studies of instances where collaborative prototyping has been previously utilised and determine ‘best practice’
  • Examine those salient topics and barriers which will impact upon a collaborative prototyping solution including cultural issues, legal issues, fragmentation, Supply Chain Management (SCM), design integration, interoperability, partnering, copyright and ownership, knowledge management, document management, technology requirements and understanding the collaborative prototyping leadership role.

Benefits/Expected Outcomes

  • To development a comprehensive understanding of collaborative prototyping practices;
  • Increase the speed and quality of exchanged project information;
  • Reduce the significance of barriers such as the construction industry’s adversarial nature;
  • Increase the levels of project co-operation and the promotion of greater team working;
  • Savings in costs and time;
  • Increased safety;
  • Shared project responsibility;
  • A reduction in waste;
  • Integration of the supply chain;
  • A viable collaborative prototyping solution that will be implemented throughout Buro Happold.


Yeomans, S. G., Bouchlagem, N. M., & El-Hamalawi, A. (2005). An evaluation of current collaborative prototyping practices within the AEC industry, Automation in Construction, Vol 15 (2) 139-149.


Sheriff, A, Bouchlaghem, D, El-Hamalawi, A, Yeomans, S (2013) Seven lessons for effective information management, Proceedings of Institution of Civil Engineers: Management, Procurement and Law, 166(4), pp.205-211, ISSN: 1751-4304. DOI: 10.1680/mpal.12.00013.

Sheriff, A, Bouchlaghem, D, El-Hamalawi, A, Yeomans, S (2012) Information Management in UK-Based Architecture and Engineering Organizations: Drivers, Constraining Factors, and Barriers, JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT IN ENGINEERING, 28(2), pp.170-180, ISSN: 0742-597X. DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)ME.1943-5479.0000085.

Sheriff, AM, Bouchlaghem, D, El-Hamalawi, A, Yeomans, S (2011) Developing a metadata standard for multimedia content management: A case study, Architectural Engineering and Design Management, 7(3), pp.157-176, ISSN: 1745-2007. DOI: 10.1080/17452007.2011.594569.



Bouchlaghem, D (ed) (2012) Collaborative Working in Construction, Routledge, ISBN: 9780415597005.

Yeomans, S. G., Bouchlagem, N. M., & El-Hamalawi, A. 2005. Provisions for proficient construction project extranet protocols to facilitate collaborative extranet working, Proceedings of the 22nd CIB-W78 Conference on Information Technology in Construction, Dresden, Germany, 19 – 21st July, 2005.

Yeomans, S. G., Bouchlagem, N. M., & El-Hamalawi, A. (2005). Collaborative extranet working via multiple construction project extranets, Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Innovation in Architecture, Engineering and Construction, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 15 – 17th June, 2005. Edited by: Sariyildiz, S. & Tunçer, B.


Charalambous, G, Thorpe, A, Demian, P, Yeomans, SG, Doughty, N, Peters, C (2014) An approach for identifying and evaluating opportunities offered by semantic technology to BIM-enabled online collaboration platforms. In , Computing in Civil and Building Engineering - Proceedings of the 2014 International Conference on Computing in Civil and Building Engineering, pp.2279-2286, ISBN: 9780784413616. DOI: 10.1061/9780784413616.283.

Charalambous, G, Demian, PD, Thorpe, TT, Yeomans, S, Doughty, ND, Peters, CP (2014) Collaborative BIM in the Cloud and the Communication Tools to support it. In 30 th CIB W78 International Conference on Applications of IT in the AEC industry, Beijing, China, pp.58-67.

Yeomans, SG, Charalambous, G, Demian, P, Thorpe, A (2012) BIM and Online Collabortion Platforms - An investigation into emerging requirments. In 3rd EPPM International Conference, Brighton. Full text: http://www.ppml.url.tw/EPPM/conferences/2012/downioad/SESSON3_A/04%20E147.pdf.

Bird, SN, Yeomans, S, Bouchlaghem, D, Glockling, J (2012) Decision problem structuring method for the specification and selection of active fire protection systems.. In 7th International conference on innovation in architecture, engineering and construction, Sao Paulo. Brazil, pp.1-15.

Abdullahi, S, Bouchlaghem, NM, El Hamalawi, A, Yeomans, SG (2008) An Enterprise Content Management Approach to Organisational Information Management for the Construction Industry. In CIB Joint International Symposium 2008: Transformation through construction, proceedings, Dubai.

Sheriff, A, Bouchlaghem, NM, Yeomans, SG (2008) An Investigation into the impact of 4D modelling on construction project planning. In 5th International Conference on Innovation in Architecture Engineering and Construction, Antalya, Turkey




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