The case of 3D working methods in the Construction Industry
Based on multi-site ethno-methodological field studies in the Danish construction industry this paper examines the relational effects of 3D object-based modelling. In describing how that technology is being introduced, shaped and enacted, how it associates with, mediates and translates existing practices, I discuss how it has effects for work methods and routines in an (inter-)organisational setting, namely that of architects and consulting engineers. The technology is introduced in the practices in question, in part because of a program referred to as Det Digitale Byggeri (Digital Construction). Among others, the program demands that architects and consulting engineers embrace a new breed of computer-based software programs allowing for 3D object-based modelling. In this paper I will describe the program and the network of (non-)human actors engaged in the promotion hereof with a view to examine various ways in which 3D object-based modelling relates and associates itself with the wider socio-material actor-network. This is done in two interrelated sections that serve as a backdrop against which to understand on the one hand, how the program is sought stabilized, at least temporarily, and on the other hand, how the program is challenged by a number of unforeseen translations - Digital Construction manifests itself in ways not anticipated in the original program. In continuation hereof follows a couple of analytical descriptions that illustrate in detail how 3D object-based modelling is enacted in practice. I will discuss these cases with a view to understand the implications for organising, learning and knowing in the design phases of a construction projects. Before this, however, I will present in detail the research question and how I intend to deal with it methodologically. I will outline a method assemblage, based on actor-network theory, and I will argue for why I have chosen this particular approach. Prior to the empirically grounded observations and description I have chosen to include a brief section on digitalization and construction IT.