Towards an online knowledge management system for reactive maintenance projects
In the UK, building maintenance makes up more than 50% of total construction output while reactive maintenance covers two thirds of the overall building maintenance projects. It was therefore found not surprisingly that reactive maintenance work receives the most complaints and gives more negative impacts on business activities in terms of time, cost, and the health and safety of the users. As this type of maintenance work is mostly carried out by firms with less than 20 employees, which constitutes 84% of the industry, reactive maintenance is hence, the major focus of this study. The aim of the research is to demonstrate how inexpensive IT and communication tools can lead to enhanced effectiveness and efficiency in the delivery of minor construction projects. Process analysis was carried out to provide valuable insights into the existing business process of reactive maintenance and also the information and communication technology that is being used by the parties involved in the process. It unearthed problems that impede the process in terms of time, cost, quality of work and the health and safety of the users. These problems can be encapsulated as poor communications between different parties, lack of knowledge sharing and poor quality of information, which often leads to longer time taken to fix a problem and incurs higher cost. A prototype online knowledge management system called "MoPMIT". MoPMIT (More Productive Minor Construction Projects through Information Technology) was developed based on these problems and the improvements required which the main idea is to bring all parties onto the online system so that they can share the necessary project information for better management of knowledge. The system allows them to communicate and share the information available to them via a common interface with pre-allocated password access as a control mechanism that restricts each user to its role. System evaluation was conducted among potential MoPMIT users and generally the results were positive. They were of the view that this system would lead to better management of knowledge, improve communication and better sharing between all parties.