Big Project ME March 2020

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procurement/fabrication and construction. The contractor will be able to provide a much greater level of influence on plan objectives earlier in the project lifecycle at the point in time that project expectations are being established. Contractors who choose to adopt AWP now will gain an edge in the market, as they will be able to demonstrate a stronger track record on project execution in terms of cost and schedule to prospective customers. Equally, it can be attractive to contractors seeking to minimise profit erosion, as internal finances will also be more predictable. In industries such as oil & gas, project owners are already electing to make AWP implementation maturity a factor in evaluating contractor bid responses. ADOPTING AN ADVANCED WORK PACKAGING APPROACH As with any new methodology, many organisations will face an adoption challenge. The role of a product champion cannot be understated. These champions take responsibility for the roll-out and education of these practices across the project community. The second challenge is more digital in nature. The most comprehensive view of any project stems from a complete connection from inception to operation, and capturing that process digitally offers an unrivalled opportunity for efficiency. But it’s fair to say many contractors and owners are not there yet. At a basic level, AWP can function with just a few components: model visualisation, planning and scheduling, cost estimating, and documentation. Even if an organisation is not that far along in its digital transformation, it can still look to adopt AWP as the framework for its planning approach. At its heart, AWP is really about strengthening that owner/contractor connection by ensuring expectations are aligned between them and across functions (engineering, procurement and construction). That is the goal of AWP – to keep the team in the field productive by defining the best path of construction for a project and removing the constraints that could slow them down. This benefits owners and contractors in any project environment. Leveraging purposebuilt technology to support this process will make the investment worthwhile and act as a catalyst for realising the benefits of an AWP approach to project planning and execution. Paul Self is EVP, Planning and Delivery at InEight. March 2020 | MEConstructionNews.com

ANDREW SKUDDER

CONSTRUCTION COMPUTER SOFTWARE

Construction Industry: Four Major Digital Trends for 2020

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s one of the least digitised industries in the world, with about 1.5% of revenue spent on IT compared to an average spend of about 3% across all industries, the construction industry has suffered a notable lack of growth in productivity. This is in contrast to the manufacturing industry, which has embraced technology significantly – relative to construction – and recorded a consequent increase in productivity. By embracing digital technology, construction companies will have more efficient control over their costs and be able to collaborate more effectively on projects, especially mega projects. THE POWER OF CLOUD COMPUTING Digitisation requires an enormous amount of computing power. A good example of this is the design phase of a project. Over the years, the design process has evolved from designs being created on paper, to the use of CAD tools, and today to 5D BIM modelling. Now, with virtual reality, the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) also coming into play, the design aspect requires vast computing capacity. Setting the computing infrastructure up and employing the right skills to maintain it would be an expensive – and unnecessary – exercise for a single company. The likes of Azure, AWS and Google Cloud have made large amounts of computing power easily accessible to companies around the globe. It is accessible, safe, relatively cheap and maintained by experts. This allows users

to handle much more data, more efficiently and more securely. Once construction companies have garnered big data in the cloud, it can be converted to smart data, allowing them to access comprehensive analytics and use these to make informed, real-time decisions about current and future projects. AI AND BIG DATA AI allows construction companies to harness big data and make sense of it. New algorithms are written every day to analyse big data and leverage it in an effective and productive way. It is also highly effective in interrogating past projects. One of the big opportunities in the industry is for estimators and project managers to learn from past projects. Much of the knowledge rests in their heads, which is then used to improve the scheduling, costing and estimating for upcoming projects. If all historical data is stored on a database, AI will be able to prepare more accurate predictive models, making future projects more productive and predictable. Another higher use case for AI is in 3D modelling. A big issue in planning and designing projects is design clashes between different engineers or stakeholders. When something is being built, there are typically several designs for different aspects of the project – architectural, mechanical, electrical, and others. Often, when they are overlaid, there are clashes. AI has the ability to help detect these clashes and adjust designs quickly. Yet another use case for AI is risk management. By harnessing historical data, it allows greater understanding of project complexity. It can analyse complexity factors around issues such as design complexity, labour availability and weather patterns and place them into risk management models, for greater risk mitigation.

By embracing digital technology, construction companies will have more efficient control over their costs and be able to collaborate more effectively on projects, especially mega projects”