Does digital improve construction productivity?

by Andrew Johnson | January 22, 2021 |  3 min read

Does digital improve construction productivity?
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Increasingly, we are adopting digital technology in the construction industry to improve productivity. Digitalisation enables performance improvements that can be tied to productivity gains, but this relies on specific skills and knowledge, which requires training.

The built environment has been repeatedly reported to be underperforming in terms of productivity, and there has also been a growing trend of digitalisation that is fuelled by the argument that digital technologies improve construction practices.

So what factors are affecting productivity in the built environment? People, communication and information management. All these factors affect productivity and the impact of digitisation also influences organisational competitiveness.

Every year, the NBS BIM Report states a skills shortage is largely due to lack of training and upskilling. A competitive organisation with ’satisfied employees’ motivates employees to contribute to the organisation continuously, recognising the importance of training and development whilst emphasising the importance of digital technology helps enhance organisations. Digital technology can also be an enabling mechanism for the upskilling of employees.

Understanding information management provides a competitive advantage as it supports well-informed and effective decisions. The influence of information and communication identifies information management as a determining factor of competitive advantage due to the positive impact on efficiency. An organisation could achieve time reductions and faster decision making, therefore gaining a competitive advantage through improved communication.

Organisations that use digital technology acknowledge that they could expand and diversify their activities in several different ways, leading to faster and better-informed decisions, once due to improved communication and information management. For example, we supported an architectural practice which found it could reduce design resource allocated to a technical design by 25% through use of BIM processes and technologies, whilst still maintaining, and in some cases exceeding, their delivery programme.

We are continuously aligning our training and development programmes to meet the needs of professionals in the built environment who seek to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding in all digital information management areas aligned to the ISO 19650 international standard series.

The alignment and transition to the ISO 19650 series has aided the management of information over the whole lifecycle of an asset using BIM. The suite of standards is helping remove barriers in collaborative working and tendering across borders.

Scottish Futures Trust, for example, has developed a new set of digital information requirements templates for the adoption of public projects in Scotland, referred to as the Standard Information Management Plan (SIMP). The plan has been developed to align with ISO 19650, and BIM Academy collaborates with Scottish Futures Trust to support this.

For professionals or organisations looking to upskill and get that competitive advantage, BIM Academy is here to support, guide or create custom programmes and specialist skills training.

To find out more, contact Andrew Johnson at [email protected].