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19 June 2019
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10 January 2019 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal


A third of practitioners in the construction industry do not have easy access to the knowledge they need, according to a survey carried out by the Construction Knowledge Task Group.


It states that 299 practitioners from every part of the industry took part in the survey and 38.5 per cent say they do not have easy access to all the knowledge they need to do their job.


Practitioners also admit they use less-trusted knowledge sources more frequently than more-trusted knowledge sources, with web searches and free online resources accounting for almost half of all the knowledge accessed.


Other key findings include:


• Cost and sign-up forms are significant barriers to accessing knowledge, particularly for SMEs.


• Practitioners are unaware of much of the knowledge that is available, they are overwhelmed by how much knowledge there is and frustrated by how fragmented it is.


• There is a ‘them and us’ culture separating those in the knowledge loop from those stuck on the outside.


• There is a need for quick and straightforward access to knowledge on demand.


The survey also revealed that designers access industry knowledge up to four times more frequently than decision-makers such as clients and project managers, and that the most frequently accessed knowledge is practical, specific guidance that supports day-to-day activities. Less specific, traditional ‘learning’ material is not as popular.


The purpose of the survey, which ran at the end of 2018, was to help the Construction Knowledge Task Group steer its work, improving the way industry knowledge is prepared, accessed and applied. It was distributed to the membership and other networks of the organisations that form the task group.


Ann Bentley, global board director at Rider Levett Bucknall, and member of the Construction Leadership Council, said: “The results of this survey confirm what I suspected, and should be a wake-up call for the industry. Practitioners have embraced the internet and are seeking out easy-to-access, easy-to-apply knowledge. The industry needs to make sure they find what they are looking for. This means bringing knowledge into the 21st century and taking a more collaborative and systematic approach to how it is prepared and shared. BIM has shown how this can be done for data and information, but knowledge is still stuck in the past.”


The survey suggests that the future should be one in which knowledge is better integrated, less siloed, more easy to access and available through flexible subscriptions and intelligent search tools. The task group will meet this month to discuss how to drive this agenda forward.