Accessible knowledge plea from task group chair15 Dec 20
A change in culture to ensure that construction knowledge is shared and used effectively was urged as a key route to reducing error by guest speaker Dr Gregor Harvie at this week’s GIRI forum. A recording of the webinar is now available to watch on the GIRI YouTube channel.
Harvie, who is chair of the Construction Knowledge Task Group, highlighted the diversity of knowledge sources in the industry and the barriers that prevent users from accessing it. The task group is taking steps to address these shortfalls, he said.
Not only is there a staggering amount of information available from the various industry organisations and professional institutes, but they do not collaborate effectively, Harvie noted. And while industry documents such as British Standards used to remain in use for an average of 20 years, these days that average has dropped to just two, against the backdrop of an increasing number of standards being published.
Keeping up with this ever-expanding framework of information is hard work, Harvie acknowledged, especially in the context of the many different sources and the cost of buying documents or taking out subscriptions.
As part of its research, the Construction Knowledge Task Group surveyed 300 industry-wide organisations about access to knowledge; shockingly the results revealed that a third of practitioners do not have easy access to all the knowledge they need to do their jobs.
Even when this information is accessible, there is also a notable lack of clarity about who is responsible for applying it, said Harvie.
In a move to address these barriers, CKTG has published its first draft of the Specification for Discoverable Construction Knowledge, which aims to assist providers of knowledge in publishing information in a format that can be understood by machines. Imagining what type of questions practitioners want answering, and providing knowledge in such a way that it answers these questions, is a good starting point, he said.