Walking the talk: Best practices for digital construction
It’s no secret that digital innovations can improve productivity and help the construction industry navigate disruptions and mitigate risks. And in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many project owners have been forced to step up their use of technology to enable their teams to work and collaborate remotely.
But beyond the context of the current crisis, adoption of digital innovations has been slow. This delay is at least partly due to a lack of digital standards and experience within the industry. In addition, many players likely anticipate high up-front costs and a long wait before their investment pays off. Project owners are understandably wary of testing new digital tools on multibillion-dollar projects. And given that project success typically hinges on collaboration, introducing new digital workflows—which may be unfamiliar to some of the parties involved—can seem daunting.
But the benefits can be greater—and the barriers lower—than many industry players expect. In the design phase, a fully digital construction project can reduce drawing revisions, redundant conversations, and version errors while lowering project risk and facilitating clash detection. Going digital also supports procurement across work packages and over time, increasing safety standards and allowing better workforce planning and machinery use. Of course, achieving these benefits requires parties to be willing to explore new solutions and fundamentally shift the way projects operate.