To continue delivering great projects for owners, the construction industry needs to make collaboration practical. While a company wants to deliver a great design that will please the owner, it’s important to keep in mind how that design is going to be built. Added into the mix is the fact that contractors must mitigate risk.
Newer contract features will help. But delivering great projects really depends on collaborative constructability reviews. This ensures that what was designed is what will actually be built. It makes a difference when everyone is participating in the same ecosystem to accomplish those reviews. At the very least, the resulting product helps avoid litigation, which delays progress and wastes resources.
Collaboration not only involves owners and every other stakeholder on the project, it requires new software tools that involve the entire project lifecycle – as long as 30 to 50 years. Owners naturally want to consider preventive maintenance during the built asset’s lifetime.
Collaboration involves sharing information and fine tuning in real time with different entities and people. As a side benefit, the better relationships that result can lead to selling more work when your company is known as being “easier to work with.”
With building information modeling, companies can collaboratively develop execution plans and increase the level of detail shown in the model. One sign of the demand for that higher level of detail is that the market is shifting toward requirements around having digital twins of as-builts for project handover.
In depth data is the basis for digital twins. Both data quantity and quality are important to a project. The push for “big data” originated in the manufacturing industry. For quite a while, manufacturers have been using data to improve their processes and decrease costs, including information on: suppliers, tools, supply chain, efficiency, and time to market for products. The same uses can change the built environment for the better.
Two other manufacturing processes that are benefitting construction companies include prefabrication and modular onsite assembly. The same collaborative environment is needed with the design team, and a higher level of detail is key. When construction companies can perform work more quickly, the benefits stack up.
Collected data forms a historical record of what has taken place. A shift in mindset is taking place in the industry regarding the reasons job data is important. Collecting that data might not seem important to the people who are tasked to do so. They may need an incentive behind the collection of particular data. Connected devices are becoming more prevalent for this reason.
Because valid data enables ways to do a job more efficiently, putting meaningful information into the system can benefit individual workers. It’s important they understand the need for real-world data and how the resulting project insights can benefit them on an individual level and impact their life.
Having those insights about how things were best accomplished in the past gives management factual information for making future decisions.
The pressures on the construction industry indicate the built environment must change. Tune in to episode 164 of the Bridging the Gap podcast with guest Blake Douglas for his thoughts on what that future might look like.