One of the bigger trends coming in construction is interoperability. Interoperability is the ability of multiple parties to make use of the same information. 

In construction, there has always been a back and forth strain between a company having control over its data but also making the best use of it on a project. The auxiliary benefit is that making it available helps advance the industry. First and foremost, technologies need to be able to talk to each other if we are to have a chance to solve the problems we are currently facing in construction. Those include delivering more production with less labor on shorter schedules and with smaller budgets.

There are pains inherent in interoperability, and they are shared by architects, engineers, construction companies, owners, and skilled trade contractors and workers. The different industry perspectives have a big part to play in solving our biggest interoperability challenges.

Sharing data among players sounds easier than it actually is. Sometimes the people involved do not normally interact with each other. Innovation and change management involve finding similarities and things the disparate players have in common.

In addition, they need to identify the anchors that have been getting in the way and holding the industry back from the improvements that are needed. Skilled labor is a real challenge in construction, and yet people continue to leave the industry. They may be leaving for advancing roles, better pay, work-life balance, conflicts with a manager, or harassment. Whatever the reasons are, the red flags need to be addressed and controlled in order to attract the talent that’s sorely needed in the industry.

Players need to decide what steps need to be taken to move the industry from its current state to the shared future state they are aiming for.

The best scenario is when companies can share information from their enterprise resource planning systems, timesheets, requests for information, submittals, costs, change orders, pay apps, requests for proposals, and pre-qualifications of contractors. This information can get them all on the same page. The result of effective communication can, in addition to accelerating the industry, improve contracts and improve project delivery.

When they are on the same page, everyone can strive to improve situational innovation while working from their different perspectives. If they understand each other’s daily needs, processes can be improved so they function for everybody. A flowing and creative process can result in more innovative outcomes.

When project teams come together, they can share their custom way of communicating, collaborating, exchanging information using existing standards, referencing standards, and deciding how they want to combine them.

It’s important to decide together the conditions of the shared future state everyone involved wants to see in the construction industry. Then they can work together to achieve it.

Bridging the Gap Podcast, episode 181 with guest Nathan Wood of Construction Progress Coalition "The Shared Pains of Interoperability"​

Join episode 181 of the Bridging the Gap Podcast to hear about the Construction Progress Coalition 2023 AEC Integration Summit. Nathan Wood joins me in discussing hiring, interoperability, brainstorming, future trends, anchors, and more. 

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