In this chapter we analyse organizational challenges when an engineering consultancy in the building industry integrates information and communication technologies (ICT) in the production and delivery of their services, and discuss how the e-service concept can be applied in this context. The analysis is based on a field study on introduction of 3D-modeling tools within one of the leading engineering companies in Scandinavia (Ramboll). The analysis focuses on the changes in knowledge creation and transfer both within the company and in inter-organizational relations. The analysis points towards a need to change the business model as the project engineering part of the technical engineering service becomes standardized.
For decades the building industry has been characterised by increasing costs, low productivity, and often poor quality. This is in part due to labour intensive production processes in design, projection, and construction, which have proved to be hard to automate. Another problem is lack of coordination between the large numbers of partners involved in building projects. Knowledge that flows between partners from different companies is often limited by lack of common standards, lack of common understanding on how the building process is organised, and the varying division of labour and responsibilities between the partner companies. This results in unnecessary conflicts and errors. In addition the lack of knowledge flow within building projects reduces accumulated learning both across projects and across partners. These problems are reinforced by the temporary character of partnerships within the building industry, where each project in general presents a new partner constellation. Moreover, along with increased competition, the ongoing globalisation taking place in segments of the building industry will further complicate coordination between partners.