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Bentley, D and Stacey, R (1998) The potential for applying complex adaptive systems theory to the process of estimating in the construction industry. In: Hughes, W (Ed.), Proceedings 14th Annual ARCOM Conference, 9-11 September 1998, Reading, UK. Association of Researchers in Construction Management, Vol. 1, 236–45.

  • Type: Conference Proceedings
  • Keywords: complexity; emergence; estimating; genetic; algorithms
  • ISBN/ISSN: 0 9534161 0 0
  • URL: http://www.arcom.ac.uk/-docs/proceedings/ar1998-236-245_Bentley_and_Stacey.pdf
  • Abstract:
    Complex adaptive systems are networks consisting of large numbers of interacting agents: for example, genes in an organism; neurones in a brain; ants in a colony; people in an organization; readymix concrete plants, trucks and construction sites in a city. Such systems are adaptive in the sense that they evolve in order to survive and as they evolve they produce emergent outcomes in a spontaneously self organizing way. Theories of such systems are being developed, and their dynamic properties are being explored using computer simulations, in a number of research institutions, most notably at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico in the United States. There is a growing interest in this research on the part of industrial and commercial organizations: e.g. Cemento Mexicana in Mexico City has developed scheduling systems for its readymix concrete trucks based on complexity theory. This paper considers whether the theory of complex adaptive systems has any relevance to the process of estimating in the construction industry, concluding that it might have and suggesting a research agenda to develop applications.