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

Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering


Dr Sean McAndrew


Collaborative Engineering for Virtual Project Teams incorporating wireless Web-based facilities Management

Project Title

Collaborative Engineering for Virtual Project Teams incorporating wireless Web-based facilities Management




Dr C Anumba
Dr T Hassan

Mr Alistair K Duke
Mr IP Smith

Director of Research:
Professor T Thorpe

Research Period

2000 - 2004

Collaborative Engineering for Virtual Project Teams incorporating wireless Web-based facilities Management


The aim of the project is to address the communication needs of engineering organisations in a collaborative engineering environment. The industry trends towards the use of virtual organisations and collaborative or concurrent engineering practices are creating a greater demand on individuals and groups to communicate more effectively. The transient nature of these organisations and the small size of many of the players involved can lead to high risk, high expense investment decisions on the level and nature of IT and communication. In this environment, there will exist the potential for 3rd

party organisations to provide generic services that can be tailored to individual project needs. Some companies are already beginning to offer application hosting services. This model could be extended to include the provision of collaboration services such as product data management, directories, on-line conferencing environments and knowledge management. Engineering organisations out-sourcing the provision of these services would be able to choose the exact level of support and security required.

In order for a 3rd party organisation, such as BT, to operate within such a model, a level of understanding of the needs of organisations in this environment is required. This should be in terms of general needs, i.e. the development of new and existing practices, and the identification of specific tools to support those practices. Knowledge of how these tools can be effectively delivered in an integrated way is also required.

Aims and Objectives

The specific aims and objectives of the project include:

• An investigation into the current state of the art in communication & collaboration technologies for industrial / engineering applications. This will focus on practical applications of technology, particularly those in use in virtual organisations.
• A determination of the communication and collaboration requirements of organisations and individual parties within those organisations. To develop an understanding of how to support the management of processes within organisations. It is hoped that creative analysis of these results will produce generic requirements from a number of different organisations.
• An identification of barriers to the successful adoption of collaboration technologies - both of a technical and social nature e.g. trust, security.
• A formulation of practical solutions that will address the requirements identified. These should focus on how a 3rd party such as BT could provide a range of collaboration technologies that can to tailored to the specific needs of organisations whilst being hosted and supported by the 3 rd party.

 Method and Current Status

A requirements capture, targeting the aims and objectives, which will include a literary review of current ‘state of play’ within the industry.

A development of solutions through a number of phases including proof of concept, development of a fully functional system, internal trial and an external trial within an engineering organisation.

An assessment the effectiveness of the trials in terms of technical capabilities, ease of use, level of adoption and necessary improvements.

Benefits/Expected Outcomes

The novel solutions developed should draw upon existing R&D projects or current products. They will have been developed to solve specific industrial problems or will be entirely original. The technologies should wherever possible make use of defined interfaces in order to improve the level of integration possible. The solutions should aim to improve both the synchronous and asynchronous collaboration of individuals and groups. They should not represent a revolutionary change from the point of view of the organisation and the user. Instead they should attempt to facilitate evolutionary change.

McAndrew, S.T. ... et al. (2005). Potential use of real-time data capture and job tracking technology in the field. Facilities Journal, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Vol. 23 No. 1/2, pp 31-46, ISSN 0263-2772.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/02632770510575884



McAndrew, S.T., Anumba, C.J. and Hassan, T.M. (2003). Towards Wireless Web-based Facilities Management. Proceedings of Second International Conference on Construction in the 21st Century (CITC-II) "Sustainability and Innovation in Management and Technology", Hong Kong, December, pp 529-534.

McAndrew, S.T. ... et al. (2004). Overview of Application Service Providers for the UK AEC Industry. Proceedings of the World IT Conference for Design and Construction, INCITE 2004, Langkawi, Malaysia, February, pp 427-435, ISBN 983-2724-17-1.



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The Centre Administrator
Loughborough University
LE11 3TU

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