The new insights into the construction sector come from a newly issued report from Research and Markets, titled “Global Digital Transformation on the Building and Construction Sector, Forecast to 2025.” The key message is that in order for construction firms to remain competitive need to continue their digital transformation journeys (or start the process if there is no digital transformation strategy in place).
For those companies that elect not to do so, or are very slow adopters, the problems of inadequate planning, lack of automation, insufficient communication, inadequate risk management, and unsophisticated supply chain practices, will continue and these failings will be more apparent against more efficient competitor firms.
The report expands further why construction companies need digital technology. The adoption leads to improved productivity; and it also enables firms that use analytics to minimize project overruns; and for those that use automation, the reliance upon unskilled labor can be reduced.
Big data management
As to what constitutes the important elements of digital transformation in construction, the report draws out three main areas. The first is the need for big data: management of bulk data. This allows for information sharing on transparent and accountable platforms and processes. This enables a company to work with materials, equipment and labor suppliers in collaborative and inclusive decision-making ways. Moreover, big data capture allows for improved better analysis and prediction.
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An example is with Malaysia’s Mass Rapid Transit Corporation which has begun leveraging cloud-based collaboration on a common data environment, in partnership with Microsoft’s Global ISV and Bentley Systems to enable better big data analysis as major transportation projects develop.
The second area is with automation. The use of machines, whether programmed diggers or drones, facilitates competitiveness and reduces unpredictability. In turn this helps to minimize time wastage and helps to keep control over cost overruns. Furthermore, robotics can improve resiliency to they types of threats and interruptions that can affect manual labor.
With automation, drone technology is one of the tools a construction company can employ to produce digital data, such as ground-based scanning. Such data can produce 3D modelling and merging images to form a seamless mosaic. Additionally, drone technology can be deployed rapidly, safely and cost-effectively.
The third area is with standardization. This generates efficient resource management and it simplifies operations and the supply chain. Furthermore, the use of computers to set appropriate quality attributes helps to minimize waste and it can boost efficiency. An example of a standardization package comes from Katerra. The software brings Building Information Modeling tools and computational design and integrates these with global supply chain infrastructures, which enables efficient material ordering, manufacturing, tracking, and delivery.
Barriers to progress
The barriers to digital transformation, according to the report, and less often with the core construction form and more so with subsectors, and stakeholders who have yet to go digital. Issues can also exist within firms where there are multiple sites and communication breakdowns occur due to incompatibility of technology. Working in synchronicity with partner companies helps to overcome these barriers.
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