Digitalisation has begun to change how we fundamentally construct the physical world. New technologies are altering how we plan, design, construct and even maintain our built environment. Companies are now looking at 3D printing and robotics as viable technologies that will have a beneficial impact in their near future – but why should any of this matter to you?
BIM is seen by most, including national governments as a critical step in this push to digitalisation. It is becoming commonly used to create, use and manage digital information during a construction project and eventually will be used at every stage of its lifecycle. The success of BIM has been built on the principle of creating collaborative environments for people to operate in, an environment to better share digital data.
Modern architects and engineers commonly develop comprehensive 3D digital prototypes as a standard to better understand their design possibilities and limitations. Contractors use 3D digital models to generate coordinated 3D, 4D and potentially 5D plans in conjunction with their subcontractor’s budgets and schedules, but does this realise the full potential of digitalisation?
With profit margins in the construction industries notoriously low, stakeholders from all construction disciplines are always looking to improve; this allows them to do things faster, better and more reliably with the ultimate intention to generate more profit. These same stakeholders also rely on accurate and timely information to effectively execute their job, and this is what BIM and digital construction aims to improve.
A common misconception is that digital construction benefits are most keenly felt in the design stages; this in some ways has hindered the degree to which all parties engage with digital technology. Many companies have simply shrugged their shoulders and said ‘it’s not for me’ or have been intimidated by the perceived complexity of it. This reaction could in time prove costly.
Digital construction practices and tools can help everyone at all stages of construction to deliver their jobs more effectively, and as with any change it relies on a combination of people, process and technology. Improvements in collaboration will mean work is completed more efficiently, which improves productivity and ultimately leads to better profitability. Therefore, digital construction does matters to everyone involved in the project.
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