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Implementing A Web Based Knowledge Base For A Construction Company: Industry Academia Collaboration

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Trends in Construction Engineering II

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.694.1 - 9.694.12



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Paper Authors

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Timothy Walker

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Annu Prabhakar

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George Suckarieh

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Implementing a Web-Based Knowledge Base for a construction company: Industry-Academia Collaboration George Suckarieh, Annu Prabhakar, Tim Walker University of Cincinnati


Knowledge Bases (KB) that capture and leverage the knowledge and experiences of employees are popular in many industries. However, in the construction industry, knowledge base implementation has been limited to some applications at the design stage or to project databases during the construction stage. This paper describes a project for implementing a web based knowledge base to help a company transfer construction knowledge from experienced professionals in the field to newly hired professionals. A team of students and faculty in the Honors and Scholars program at University of Cincinnati and construction professionals at the Messer Construction Company developed an application to tap the experience of professionals for internal use of the company. This paper describes the process of conceptualizing, designing, developing, testing and implementing the web based Knowledge base.

1. Introduction

Like most industries, the construction industry has a mix of well-experienced professionals who manage projects and new graduates who have just joined the management team. Due to the diverse locations of construction projects and their rapid pace, experienced and novice professionals working on different projects are not able to communicate well with each other. As a result, the knowledge developed within the construction firm is fragmented at the project level. New graduates working on projects are exposed to the experience of their direct supervisors, with limited exposure to the broader knowledge of other experienced professionals within the firm.

The need for transfer of knowledge within a construction firm becomes even more important as aging professionals with vast amount of experience are ready to retire. Without writing their own books about construction, their valuable experience goes away with them upon their retirement.

Transferring knowledge is not limited to inter-personnel technical knowledge transfer. New employees are usually not familiar with the many company policies that help them with their daily tasks. Their lack of familiarity extends from project policies like hiring subcontractors and processing purchase orders, to personnel policies like personnel evaluation and promotions. These policies are typically different from one firm to another. Although employee training programs are helpful, they are sometimes not

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering

Walker, T., & Prabhakar, A., & Suckarieh, G. (2004, June), Implementing A Web Based Knowledge Base For A Construction Company: Industry Academia Collaboration Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13881

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