Reaching for the skies: Time and turbulence in digital technologies and practices
Whyte, J. K. (2008) Reaching for the skies: Time and turbulence in digital technologies and practices. In: Zavadskas, E. K., Kaklauskas, A. and Skibniewski, M. J. (eds.) 25th International Symposium on Automation and Robotics in Construction - Isarc-2008. Vilnius Gediminas Technical Univ Press, Technika, Vilnius-40, pp. 836-847. ISBN 9789955283041
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This research examines dynamics associated with new representational technologies in complex organizations through a study of the use of a Single Model Environment, prototyping and simulation tools in the mega-project to construct Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport, London. The ambition of the client, BAA. was to change industrial practices reducing project costs and time to delivery through new contractual arrangements and new digitally-enabled collaborative ways of working. The research highlights changes over time and addresses two areas of 'turbulence' in the use of: 1) technologies, where there is a dynamic tension between desires to constantly improve, change and update digital technologies and the need to standardise practices, maintaining and defending the overall integrity of the system; and 2) representations, where dynamics result from the responsibilities and liabilities associated with sharing of digital representations and a lack of trust in the validity of data from other firms. These dynamics are tracked across three stages of this well-managed and innovative project and indicate the generic need to treat digital infrastructure as an ongoing strategic issue.