Alignment of Partnering with Construction IT: Exploration and Synthesis of network strategies to integrate BIM-enabled Supply Chains


Supply Chain Management (SCM) and Building Information Modelling (BIM) are seen as innovations that can manage complexities in construction by focusing on integrating processes and products respectively. Whereas these two innovations have been considered compatible, their practical combination has been mainly anecdotal. With the Netherlands as a research setting, this doctoral study explores their real-world combination and propose strategies for the alignment of SCM and BIM, by viewing Supply Chain (SC) partnering as the inter-organisational proxy of SCM. The main question was: “How to align the SCM philosophy with BIM technologies to achieve integration in the construction industry? What aspects contribute to this alignment?”. The methodology was mixed and both qualitative and quantitative data were analysed. The overarching method was case study research, featuring interviews, questionnaires, Social Network Analysis (SNA) and living labs. The thesis is article-based and builds upon 4 interdependent publications in IJBPA, AEDM, CME and BRI journals. To align SCM with BIM and digital technologies, an ‘actor-related’ route towards SC management could attain long-term integration and thus, lasting relations among multi-actor networks, supported by BIM and other digital technologies. The key aspects for aligning partnering with construction IT are (1) the nature of construction complexity, (2) collaboration patterns, (3) SC coordination mechanisms, (4) the balance between formal and informal aspects, (5) the intra-organisational relations and (6) the extent to which SCM and BIM innovation visions are diffused across hierarchical levels. As the construction industry evolves into a more information-driven sector, the alignment of construction IT with inter-organisational management is preeminent for managing construction. Embracing SC thinking for information management is a promising way forward for construction improvement.

In Architecture and the Built Environment (A+BE) series, Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)