In the February CE Digital Drop-In session, we discussed how technology can move from being a perceived barrier towards being an enabler of better collaboration and improved accessibility for the construction industry. Here are the key points from the discussion:
There is a perception that SMEs are not getting onto supply chains because they are not able to invest in BIM – especially with requirements for certain systems. The barriers are not just the costs of buying the systems but also the time and training costs of implementation, including impact on existing systems. Insistence on specific softwares and indeed versions of software can be cost-prohibitive for SMEs as they face issues with impacts on other systems and forced upgrades. It can also hamper or even prevent future access to information by the asset owner/operator.
Interoperability can get around this, it opens up the democratisation of data. The important piece is the information not the model or system it is delivered in.
What can you do? Specify the information requirement, not the format nor software
A digitally-enabled industry opens opportunities to involve people with diverse ways of thinking, beyond those who have traditionally thrived in a construction environment. Emerging digital needs require specialists such as data scientists and software developers to take an active role in the construction industry.
What can you do? Think differently when creating roles and teams about how different skills can lead to better balance
Collaboration & Communication
Emerging technologies such as Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality provide accessibility and support better communication, especially for those who struggle to read plans and drawings. This can be translated into method statements on site and allow different ways for people to visualise and interact at each stage of the project. The CE Digital Award Highly Commended XLWerks is an excellent example of how a range of digital technologies can be integrated to support better ways of working.
What can you do? Embrace emerging technologies to communicate better with stakeholders
Much of the language around construction and particularly the digital construction space can seem inaccessible. A lot of the terminology can seem impenetrable and discourage people from getting involved. Digitisation for construction product manufacturers – a plain language guide (theiet.org) is a great example of a resource to help overcome this. It is important that all those involved in the conversation from customers through design teams and supply chain partners can engage in digital conversations.
What can you do? Don’t assume everyone knows all the acronyms and terminology. Keep language simple and accessible.
Lots of assumptions are made around individuals’ abilities to use technologies and specific software packages. Different people will need different levels of support and it is important to provide training and support to enable teams to engage effectively with technologies and making them more accessible and inclusive.
What can you do? Make sure technologies are introduced with robust training and support mechanisms in place. Look at informal methods such as reverse mentoring to support the digital transition.
To join us in the next Digital Drop In session, please follow the link below:
Digital Drop In March – Award winner
17 March @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm GMT