Paper info: Technological Development in Construction: Preaching to the Converted or Seducing the Disbelievers
Technological Development in Construction: Preaching to the Converted or Seducing the Disbelievers
Ariane von Raesfeld
Place of Publication
The paper was published at the 17th IMP-conference in Oslo, Norway in 2001.
The paper analyses the successes and failures of the transfer of technical innovations intothe Dutch construction industry. When in the nineteen-seventies calcium silicate stonewas introduced as the basis for a new construction technology, it rapidly became thematerial of choice for housing construction in The Netherlands. More recently the Dutchgovernment has been promoting timber frame construction as a sustainable alternative toconventional construction methods. The adoption of this method by the industry,however, is slow. The paper argues that differences in technology transfer practices inboth sectors account for the differences in their relative success. It views technologytransfer as a result of alignment processes between technical configuration and socialeffects; or, in other words, between form and function of a technology. Alignment, then,is not a purely technical matter. It involves tension and interaction between insiders andoutsiders of a network; between those who develop, those who build, those who regulate,and those who use a technology. By describing and analysing these processes ofalignment in the timber frame and calcium silicate stone construction sectors in theNetherlands, the paper aims to understand to what extent the adoption of constructionmethods can be anticipated and how it might be advanced.