1.1 Background to the Study
Every construction process requires heavy exchange of data and information between project participants on a daily basis. This makes the construction industry on of the most information-intensive industries. Information Technology (IT) has been widely applied across many sectors in order to increase competitiveness and reduce consists and is today seen as a medium to gain a competitive advantage (Earl, 1993). Construction industries usually use Information Technology (IT) in order to overcome problems and achieve improvements in construction process. The average annual growth rate of IT investment in the construction industry is increasing every year and this now constitutes a significant part of the total project cost. (Issa et al. 2007). Information Technology (IT) is seen as a mechanism that enables fundamental change to be affected in the construction industry. However, firms in the construction industry are slowly responding and adapting to developments in information and communication technologies (Alshawi and Ingirige 2003). O’Connor and Yang (2003) opined that the success of a project is related to the level of IT use. The duo approached the issues of IT by means of statistical methods and discovered that there is a statistically significant correlation between the use of IT and projects being successful. In Nigeria, Oladapo (2007) argued that the level of use of IT in the construction industry is low and one of the reasons is attributed to the project leaders’ attitudes toward the use of IT in their organization.
The integration of construction processes using IT offers considerable potential for construction firms while poor flow and integration of information have led to low productivity and competitiveness in the industry (Hampson, 1993). Technological developments such as the internet and internet are re-defining the way construction firms should carry out many of their strategic, tactical and operational business processes. It is observed that the construction industry is currently experiencing a change from traditional paper-based to digitally based information exchange, which other industries such as aircraft manufacturing and banking have adopted and benefited from, long ago. The use of IT can impact on the traditional processes of organization in construction and result in change in organizational processes, working methods and culture (Alshawi and Ingirige 2002).
This study attempts to evaluate the level of use of IT on construction project. The study will examine the relative effects of selected factors on the use of IT in project delivery, the level of use of IT at the pre-contact stage of construction projects in Akwa Ibom State and its influence on project performance. IT has been an effective tool adopted in other industries to enhance work processes and achieve digital-based documentation and communication, resulting in a real-time connection among work stakeholders and suppliers (Fischer and Kunz, 2004). The use of IT reduces task fragmentation and improves coordination and collaboration, resulting in better communication practices among term members of the construction project. IT use and implementation is not a straightforward process because many issues need to be considered at the earlier stages when IT is to be adopted. However, implementing IT in construction companies does not usually provide all the benefits initially envisaged at the expected time. Other benefits require more time for maturity, therefore, there is a time gap between the initial investment and revenues (Peppard et al., 2007).