Publications / 2003 Proceedings of the 20th ISARC, Eindhoven, Holland

Automation with or without 'humanization'? Dilemma in a Developing Construction Environment

Wilco Tijhuis
Pages 287-293 (2003 Proceedings of the 20th ISARC, Eindhoven, Holland, ISBN 978-90-6814-574-8, ISSN 2413-5844)

In the present modern construction industry there is a growing acceptance for automation. Not only while the human need for it is growing or whatsoever, but also while the living environment in general is increasingly involved with automation-processes and equipment. See e.g. ICT-developments like mobile phones, internet, computers, household-appliances, etc. These daily ‘tools’ have been strongly integrated in day to day life and business. At least in the so called ‘modern society’. However, especially in developing areas the use of such equipment and technologies is still quite underscaled. That means that the way of behaviour of the people involved in daily life and business often is a pure ‘struggle for life’. This paper focusses on the aspect of how to approach the ‘automation’ of daily life, especially in construction business as a means for improving construction productivity. More specific, focussing on an (underdeveloped but) developing environment. The dilemma of ‘automation’ or ‘labour-intensifying’ is discussed. In general it shows that the human component, i.e. culture and other human factors (here altogether called ‘humanization’) plays a more than just a role in it. It is a means which can help to overcome (practical) barriers on the path to better organized construction processes. Therefore, the question on how to get introduced a real ‘Future Site’ depends more on the level of human acceptance (barriers) than on the level of technological developments. Although the approach presented in this paper is written mainly within the scope of construction in developing regions, it may also be used to rethink the situation of construction industry in modern developed regions.

Keywords: Automation, Construction business, Environment, Humanization, Technology