Digital construction management involves the use of modern technologies to create and manage safe and efficient constructions. Discover all about the digital construction revolution.
In recent years, the AECO industry has witnessed significant advancements in new technology, with frequent mentions to “digital construction.” Digital constructions are revolutionizing this industry, bringing unprecedented innovation and efficiency: from design to management and maintenance, each phase incorporates digital tools to improve work efficiency and quality.
This article explores what digital constructions entail, their advantages, key technologies, and future trends.
What is meant by digital construction?
Digital constructions is the use and application of digital tools to improve the process of delivering and operating the built environment, providing the construction industry with an opportunity to find innovative solutions and revolutionize how projects are executed.
Sharing digital information among all stakeholders during the construction process is crucial in reducing delays and additional costs. Here, Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology is pivotal for success. An effective adoption of BIM allows for optimizing the collaboration among all project members.
The advantages of digital construction, including BIM, are substantial for all the involved actors. For contractors, a digital workflow means more effective coordination and rapid problem resolution; for others, it means having a clear understanding of what they need in order to perform their roles efficiently and adhere to deadlines and budgets.
What is digital construction management?
Digital construction management refers to a working methodology applied to the AECO sector, utilizing advanced digital technologies to make the entire lifecycle of a construction more collaborative, efficient, and functional, thereby creating a safer built environment.
The technologies that shape this industry are the aforementioned BIM, as well as the Internet of Things (IoT); augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR); cloud computing, and data monitoring and management.
These technologies, integrated into software applications and BIM platforms, offer more efficient project management and better project traceability, visibility, and collaboration.
Improved project traceability is achieved through construction planning and management tools that enhance quality control, planning, budget monitoring, and all other project aspects.
Enhanced transparency and better collaboration are ensured by BIM collaboration platforms, where each team member can:
- real-time view the project status, contributing to avoiding delays and identifying potential issues;
- access shared information at any time among participants, allowing more effective coordination than ever before.
Benefits of digital construction management
Digital construction management offers numerous benefits to professionals and all involved parties in the construction process, including:
- more accurate and precise planning and design:
Errors, project changes, or unforeseen complications can slow down projects and exceed established budgets. However, digital construction provides greater flexibility in managing these challenges. It allows for faster and more efficient changes, reducing the number of revisions and minimizing version errors;
- optimized collaboration and communication:
Digital technology fosters collaboration and communication among all project-involved parties. Through BIM collaboration platforms, all stakeholders can remain informed in real-time and have a unified source of accessible information wherever they are;
- improved project analysis, monitoring, and forecasting:
3D site scans with drones and portable scanners linked to BIM models enable automatic deviation detection and potential issue prediction. Also, real-time data from IoT sensors allows generating more accurate forecasts for resource availability, such as workforce, equipment, and materials. This allows better workforce planning and more precise project progress monitoring;
- more efficient on-site risk management:
Safety is paramount in the construction industry. Using platforms for managing on-site activities guiding safety checks, quality controls, snag lists, or daily reports can greatly simplify the work of involved professionals and promote safer practices throughout the construction workflow.
Building Information Modeling (BIM) and the cloud for successful digital construction management
3D/BIM models are rich in details and information about geometry, materials, components, and relationships between parts. These interdisciplinary models facilitate collaboration among different involved figures (structural engineers, MEP designers, architects). It’s easy to understand how it’s possible to manage design and execution changes more effectively: each change is automatically reflected in the model, allowing all involved parties to have an updated view.
The combination of BIM technology with cloud computing exponentially enhances efficiency, collaboration, and transparency in the construction process. To digitize constructions and infrastructure and leverage all the advantages of cloud computing, you can use a BIM management system and thereby:
- access BIM models and all documentation from any device and anywhere;
- have a secure digital archive of all project documentation to fulfill contractual obligations;
- gather information from various sources (site sensors, drones, mobile devices, and more) and store them in the cloud for project management use;
- more efficiently manage construction revisions because architects, engineers, and contractors can access the latest design and plan revisions directly from the cloud;
- real-time sharing with all involved parties financial data such as budgets and costs;
- be protected against information loss with automatic backups.