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Most developing countries have not yet reached the level of specialisation that is found in the industrialised countries of the North, for example Architects usually do their own quantity surveying. Although software quantity-surveying programmes are available for conventional concrete construction in developing countries, computer technology has not been applied to the area of low-cost housing. Ironically, it is precisely the area of low-cost housing that would most benefit from a rigorous cost-benefit analysis.

Although housing institutions in developing countries are beginning to use computers for administrative tasks, nevertheless the whole design process is still carried out manually due to the absence of user-friendly, easily obtainable and affordable software.

The methodology proposed in this thesis addresses the deficit of information technology, and the advantages of the proposal are compared with the weakness of the few existing systems.

Disadvantages of the existing systems

• Interminable lists of materials and prices with no clear separations between the constituent parts of low-cost buildings (e.g.. foundations, walls, roofs etc.)
• None of the existing systems incorporate graphical statistical information.
• Little flexibility to incorporate pre-costed self-build prefabricated components
• No flexibility to take account of rapid inflation which affects prices from month to month in some developing countries
• Does not distinguish between shell and finishes
• Systems are only available for conventional concrete or similar "modern" construction methods.
• Usually the systems are based on data base applications which are neither user-friendly nor readily available.
• Great volume of information on Hard Disk
• Very expensive

Advantages of the proposed information technology systems

Integrated Statistical-Budgeting System

• Classification of the building elements with interlinked spreadsheets.
• The incorporation of statistical graphics such as bar charts and pie charts which are easily understood even by people with little training in construction and computer technology.
• The system is structured to incorporate prefabricated elements (in the Components Workbook).
• The system automatically adjusts with respect to interest and exchange rates.
• Developed principally for construction with appropriate technologies.


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Contents | Preface | Acknowledgements | Abstract | Introduction
Objective | Methodology | Conclusions | Bibliography

Trade-off Methodology for Low-Cost Housing Construction Technologies

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