Construction project software specialist Bluebeam has launched a downloadable guide showcasing its top tips for customers seeking to benefit from digital transformation.
According to James Chambers, regional director UKI+ at Bluebeam, other sectors have so far digitised faster and more effectively than construction – even after “report after report” outlining the benefits that a more technology-focused construction industry could have.
“We have tried to cover some of the key questions and considerations before implementing new software and technology solutions – from understanding the digital literacy of your organisation through to practical tips about choosing, implementing and managing a solution,” he wrote.
The guide aims to help construction-related organisations make the right decisions early on to support their long-term goals while still keeping the end users in mind, beginning with a digital ‘pulse’ check and then moving on to look at issues in more detail.
“If your strategy, for example, is to deliver more sustainable buildings, where can technology help you to achieve this goal? Or perhaps your focus is on one of the other key issues facing the industry, such as the need for safer buildings, better quality or improved outcomes?” Chambers said.
“Once you know what you are aiming for it is time to start reviewing your existing tools and processes alongside the skill set within your business. This should be done before selecting any new tools, as it will reveal the places where changes will have the most impact and benefit.”
Going digital on projects can range from small solutions focused on a specific use case right up to a full journey toward BIM.
Yet challenges can quickly appear – for example, when files are exchanged in different formats, errors can result that cause problems within team communications and practices that negatively affect the project.
So far, only 49% of construction companies use technology to simplify or automate common processes, according to the Bluebeam guide.
Mike Foy, president of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), said that architecture, engineering and construction firms often have challenges around skills, knowledge and resources, with some more inclined to collaborate or look at digital innovations and modern methods of construction.
“A tipping point in the use of modern methods and digitisation is within reach,” Foy said, in the foreword to the new Bluebeam guide.
“Digital technology plays a crucial role in the entire construction process; from clarity and consistency of vision through the digital twin, to measuring the environmental impact of both building performance and its use by the occupier.
“Digital tools that encourage proactive and real time collaboration can overcome issues that often result in spiralling costs and delays to completion which often have a knock-on effect on the wider community and supply chain.”
Foy said big challenges as an industry include achieving net zero, building safety and quality, digital technology, training and apprenticeships, social value, modern slavery, mental health, diversity and inclusion, and procurement practices.
Solving these will involve firms embracing the entire construction value stream, from inception to recycling, with a commitment to sustainable construction.
“We want to empower clients with knowledge and skills to enable them to drive a better development and construction process,” he wrote.
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