Discover how we make it work with our Construction Digital Prototype® methodology.
The construction industry is considerably slower to adopt technology compared to other industries. That’s not recent news; a 2016 article from the Harvard Business Review stated which industries were the most “digital”. The construction industry did not very well. Actually, it remained almost in the last place (only above the Agriculture and Hunting industry).
What is more, there have been numerous breakthroughs that show to increase benefits and to contribute to a precise construction project management process, year after year, construction companies continue to underinvest in technology.
There is no other proof necessary than visiting the construction site on day one. More often than it should be, the sets of drawings are somehow idyllic representations that become troublesome to translate into reality. It is usual to hear questions such as “How do you intend to support this structure? How are these going to work together if they’re going to be in the same place?”.
And if this occurs on the Construction Site it is way too late.
On the words of Martin Amengual, CorbisStudio’s CEO, for Bisnow: “It is insane that in this era of futuristic tech, we are still creating giant skyscrapers based on archaic, signed, stamped, rolled-up pieces of paper. Architectural drawings standards have to be brought into the future”.
And we couldn’t agree more.
Still, we are hopeful that the construction industry is on the brink of going for that change in work strategy. This will happen in no time. And we are confident that technology represents the hugest part of this change.
This transformation involves all areas and disciplines that regularly fall under the Construction Management range of services. And it calls for a new approach from Project Management and Project Teams collaboration to the construction phase bidding process, procurement strategies, and facility management.
If technology is the ultimate game changer in the Construction Industry, we are still missing how. One big piece of the answer in this paradigm shift is definitely Building Information Modeling (BIM).
This work system puts information on the core of the process and makes information accessible through all the construction project management stages. All available on the same model.
But, let’s cover on BIM management in detail later on this story. First, let’s stop for a bit on what we have seen through our more than 17 years of experience working in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction business. And let’s consider especially the Mixed Use sector.
It is time for a change of habits
In order to keep on the organization path, we have identified the traditional habits that should go out of fashion to let a new approach thrive.
1. Primarily, there is a significant lack of planning and clear quality definitions. No shared parameters, project teams designing without having defined objectives, agreed on schedules, and no index of deliverables with approved acceptance criteria.
2. There is limited use of BIM technology only focused on the production of the same old drawings. The big potential for coordination is not maximized, so errors and uncertainties keep appearing. These, conjointly, end up neglecting the impact on work and operation processes.
3. Oversight of production management where the focus on design often leads to endless continuous changes and a negative impact on development times and costs.
4. Scarce resources for the executive project and engineering planning. This usually demands more resources than the consultants have available. And it generates delays and incapacity of generating innovations in the information communication to reduce errors, delays, and RFIs in work.
5. Deficient management of technology and systems integration, given the lack of an overall vision and the fragmentation of specialists. This is added to the growing complexity of the available systems and tools that experts need for their effective implementation.
6. Lack of certainty in construction costs. This usually results in exceeding the cost estimation coming at a very advanced design development stage, wasting a lot of time and efforts in the iterative process. There is no value in generating the documentation from the project and contemplating the real requirements of work. These are not always the same the designer pursues when documenting their ideas.
A New Kind of Scope: Our Construction Digital Prototype®
We came up with a different scope for CRE developments. Our Construction Digital Prototype® tactic has been formed to run the project management in a pre-construction level. It helps owners and developers unify all consultants and keep them on a strict timeline so their expert input can be incorporated into a more comprehensive, more effective version of a design-build phase.
It was conceived with horizontal integration and vertical integration enforcement in mind. But, essentially, it puts the focus on maximizing BIM technology’s potential with an integrated delivery system on data management.
BIM Construction contributes to greater efficiency. Everything done in preparation for the project is going to be useful. And it also makes it easier to understand what the client values and brings that through the design and construction process.
The Construction Digital Prototype® corresponds with our System Integration methodology. Powered by our own Project Management platform accessible from a desktop, smartphone or tablet. It allows to visually map out a project timeline. A virtual board enables our Construction and Project Managers to easily see what needs to be completed while providing real-time project status updates.
It all is complemented on 3D model information that is available for Owners, Architects, Civil Engineers, Structural Engineers, MEP Engineers, and General Contractors.
Furthermore, the Construction Digital Prototype’s technology paves the way to think about the information on all the items: technical data, specifications, installment information, operation, maintenance, and even replacement once the end of the lifespan is reached –due to technical obsolescence or new brand developments.
Another fundamental technology-incorporated change is the parameterization of digital objects, that is, the incorporation of information to data models.
From this change, "plans and drawings" stop being simple documents of graphics transmission and are transformed into BIM models or databases, on which new information dimensions can be managed.
How does our Construction Digital Prototype® work in Mixed Use Developments
Our focus on the Mixed Use sector is not arbitrary. Mixed Use developments are becoming one of the most demanded and popular developments across the US. The reason lies in how effective these products are regarding land use. That being a vital characteristic for highly populated urban areas, such as the case of US coastal regions.
The trend seems to be constantly leaning towards urbanization and walkable communities. Mixed Use developments are the right answer to this market demand.
But, going back to our premise, the construction methods at Mixed Use projects have not seen major changes in the way to producing final buildings. Costs and deviations remain, as they always have.
Mixed Use project planning has to face some challenges that should be addressed early. Security is an important issue as these projects are aimed at different kinds of users. And project developers need to be careful that each user has access to the corresponding place.
But Mixed Use developments have also to account for noise transfer, parking, coexistence with its surroundings and the harmonious between the different uses in the building.
Construction Managers can overtake those specific Mixed Use challenges through technology. BIM, VR, project management software and mobile devices can help with scheduling and planning as well as communication and collaboration which can lead to better productivity.
When things go wrong on a project methodology, it is almost always due to a communication breakdown along the way. Two-thirds of Americans own smartphones, so there is a good chance that almost everyone on your project has one. A well-thought strategy gets information instantaneously to all people on the project in real time and reduces the slowdowns and speed bumps produced.
The Construction Digital Prototype® at the Mixed Use Construction phase
Once the project hits the Construction Phase, our teams are ready to develop a construction program during Project Set Up, to ensure the schedule aligns with the financial. And all the take-off data from the models is coordinated with the cost database for following up the budget.
The Document Management situation is another big challenge most Mixed Use projects face. Contracts, change orders, materials orders, receipts, invoices, employment applications and certificates of insurance. They double the amount that a single development, for instance, would require. But they could be handled differently and in a clear direction.
It’s time to go paperless.
Implementing digital solutions in Document Control (through interface control documents, for instance) favors organization and allows the project to be on time with payments.
Technology implemented since day one will allow the project to get detailed 3D images that can lead the construction crew.
Contrary to the general conception, augmented reality construction can be used on cellphones or tablets to enlarge sections from drawings and visualize them with more data in more dimensions. Microsoft HoloLens AR is already making appearances on the job site. Some construction crews are using AR helmets that display digital info over the real structure so they can actually see MEP structure.
These are just a few examples.
Moreover, there exist other emerging technologies like VR and AR, robots, drones, 3D printing, the Internet of things (IoT) and wearables, and autonomous vehicles. All are being adapted for use in the construction industry. And they have their impact on the project budget.
Currently, on a 1.5M SF mixed-use project, our Construction Digital Prototype® scheme is being applied to run the project management.
After the informative input from consultants has been locked and a clash report is drawn, our methodology establishes what we call a BIM room. All consultants are put together and showed on screen all the conflicts identified between the original design drawings and the construction in execution. When this report is shared, it’s not for consultants to go off and read it by themselves — the main aim is to make every party aware of the program and the gaps at the same time.
This way, solutions can be worked out together.
If you have further inquiries about how does our Construction Digital Prototype work and how does it help your project. You are more than welcome to get in touch with us and we’ll share everything we know to contribute to a more efficient process in your Construction projects.
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