The Great Divide – The large tech implementation gap.

There’s been a lot of talk about the benefits of technology and BIM and how various digital solutions can help make construction safer and more efficient. But the number of companies forging ahead and actually implementing this technology seem to be in the minority.

When asking industry role players why, the answer that is consistently given is cost. However, the early adopters dismiss this as a good enough reason to not implement digital transformation, citing that the technology ultimately pays for itself because of the cost savings it produces.

Real time information and collaboration

One example of technology at work as explained by Topcon is: “We have systems where the exact position of the final pass of the cutting edge of a machine can be recorded, loaded to a web portal, and fed back to the engineering surveying team for reporting as-built information for operational and asset management purposes.” (i)

It is this type of information sharing that facilitates better collaboration of expertise and results in project cost savings. Errors can be picked up on in real time and corrected immediately, rather than after the fact when sections of the construction have already been built. This helps facilitate not only on time delivery but also on time delivery.

Breaking the barriers of traditional work silos

The other challenge that technology helps to overcome is the disconnect that occurs between the design and engineering teams and the operations teams on the ground. Historically these divisions operated in silos, each concentrating on their own areas of expertise.

However, it is this divide that is often the cause of errors and delays as information is not communicated accurately. There’s also often a lack of understanding on the ground as to why engineers want certain information in a particular format. BIM pulls together information connecting and managing it in a way that can make projects more efficient and when people see this play out in real terms, there’s greater buy in.

Even after a construction project has been completed, the information can be pulled through for maintenance schedules and safety checks. This too can be linked up with technology to make operations more efficient. Such as using drones to survey structures or robots to establish safety parameters for further underground work. The question is: Will the only limitation to technology be those unwilling to adopt it?