Networking is the organizational form of the information age. Network organizations signify a form of collaboration designed to facilitate economic exchange and to provide an environment for interaction between people (social exchange). Economic actors are likely to sacrifice some of their own preferences in the pursuit of collective goals (Fleisch & Österle, 2000; Franke, 2001). Network organizations are characterized by (1) a purpose and shared goals unifying members, (2) independent members benefiting from being part of a whole, (3) voluntary links between members, (4) multiple leaders providing greater resilience, and (5) many levels integrating organizations, units, and people. From an intra-organizational perspective, networks are the collections of individuals and sub-units within one and the same organizational boundaries. From an interorganizational perspective, networks are the collections of more or less independent individual economic actors such as, companies, institutions, and research organizations (Franke, 2001). Three network types involve (1) internal networks as the loose associations of autonomous groups and teams, (2) stable networks where focal firms engage in long-term relationships with external suppliers or partners, and (3) dynamic networks as the temporary alliances of independent firms with key skills usually organized around a leading or brokering firm based on the exploitation of market opportunities.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Commissioning and After Sales Services Management System (CASSMS): A management sub-system of a virtual construction management services company that enables to provide each client with a long-term life-cycle management plan for the building in question. Clients gain better value and profitability for their investments by a life-cycle management system based on the procurement of facility management, renovation, expert, and other services.
Construction Management (CM) Services Company: A CM services company provides owners with services within a defined scope needed for the management, leadership, administration, and implementation of their construction investments (projects) at hand, respectively. Under various CM contract forms, a construction manager works throughout all the phases of a construction project (i.e., overall planning, design, procurement, and construction works) and cooperates with an owner and designers in ensuring the attainment of an owner’s objectives.
Virtual Construction Management Services Company (VCMSC): A VCMSC is a dynamic network of collaborating entities (e.g., special system contractors) that reconfigure around an organizational core whenever an opportunity arises. A single leading member guides a virtual network both on a short- and long-term basis, members are geographically dispersed, and each member concentrates on those parts of the value chain with which it achieves the maximum added value.
Building Construction Information Model (BCIM): The management system of a virtual construction management services company is based on ICT solutions that are combined and designed into a BCIM. It consists of three sub-models to ensure the management of (i) product information (via a building product model), (ii) resources and costs (via a building resource and cost model), and (iii) construction processes and schedules (via a building construction process model) in seamless ways toward a target, that is, a complete new building or the finished renovated one. A Building Product Model (BPM) enables the design of a finished building as a set of interdependent objects, that is, spaces (space model), building elements, and product structures or receipts (building products or construction materials), at minimum. Each building-specific data model is scalable. Real-time visualization and simulations are enabled with information about spaces, infill, surfaces, textures, and materials. A Building Project Resource and Cost Model (BPRCM) enables the management of a building project as a set of interdependent resource objects, that is, the amounts of building products (retrieved from the building product model) and the resource structures or receipts, with current prices, planned to be exploited for the construction and installation of these building products. A set of system-specific resource and cost models is interchangeable among internally competing special system contractors. A Building Construction Process Model (BCPM) enables the management of a building project as a set of interdependent activity objects, that is, the sequence of project activities or tasks that are coupled with their resource structures (retrieved from the resource model) and durations calculated by resources. A set of system-specific sub-process models are interchangeable among internally competing special system contractors.
Construction Planning, Execution, and Control Management System (CPECMS): A management sub-system of a virtual construction management services company that enables virtual construction site control based on a master plan and a set of activity plans/schedules with rolling windows. A CPECMS system consists of (1) a planning and scheduling system and (2) a cost control system. A master plan is produced in terms of the systems or packages to be performed by special system contractors. Each of them prepares an activity plan/schedule and integrates this into the real-time master schedule. The cost information is based on the tenders submitted by the special system contractors and other subcontractors on site.
Project Offering and Bidding Management System (POBMS): A management sub-system of a virtual construction management services company that enables to meet the distinctive requirements of one-of-the-kind projects and building scopes for the virtual, seamless, and reliable preparation of a complete offering. The competitive internal tendering exploits the system-specific know-how of each special system contractor who submits their sub-bids. For the selection of the best sub-bids, the leading member applies such criteria as performance, quality, price, and life cycle costs.
Project Owner Relation Management System (PORMS): A management sub-system of a virtual construction management services company that enables to enhance the quality of its services through the pre-emptive expert relation development with the targeted existing and potential new clients. In particular, each client relation is managed in terms of designing, visualizing, and demonstrating the client’s emerging building needs as well as ensuring, thus, higher value for client money.
Project Design and Engineering Management System (PDEMS): A management sub-system of a virtual construction management services company that enables virtual design and engineering management. The leading member establishes a building product model as the core of a PDEMS that allows real-time access to the most recent design documents and entries by each member. A PDEMS provides each special system contractor with a platform to contribute early enough to the detailed design of its sub-system or the project package.
Network Nurturing Management System (NNMS): A management sub-system of a virtual construction management services company that enables both to develop the competences of the network and renew its membership. This leading member may allocate the core virtual team, project by project, based on “fit-for-purpose” strategy, that is, the required expertise and competences are determined and the necessary functional areas are specified for the project on hand.
Project Procurement Management System (PPMS): A management sub-system of a virtual construction management services company that provides special system contractors with the internal arena to compete effectively in order to come up with the best integrated offering. The successful bidder will take part in the detailed design or do this altogether and provide the tailored solutions as part of their bid packages.