Digital Construction Summit: Information management now a ‘central plank’ to built environment

Digital information management is rapidly becoming a core component of the built environment.

That was the message from David Philp, global BIM/IM consultancy director at Aecom and chair of the CIOB’s digital technologies and asset management special interest group, who led a discussion at the Digital Construction Summit, organised by Construction Manager and BIM+, on how digital technology can transform the sector.

Philp said: “We are starting to see our built environment beginning a completely new relationship with how it uses technology and data. BIM and information management are becoming a central plank in how we design, construct and operate our assets.”

He highlighted how the CIOB’s special interest group was looking to fuse technology and innovation together, using data to create value not just during construction but also during the asset management phase.

“The real innovation will happen when we change the commercial model, moving from a world of capital expenditure to a world of service provision. We can start to think about how we use data to look at demand in real time and use our assets better,” Philp said.

Roy Evans, client solutions lead at the Government Property Agency, agreed. He said: “Clients are no longer purchasing just a building, we are purchasing the information that is associated with it. It is about bringing the supply chain on a journey and making sure that clients have the expertise to engage with it. Organisations like CIOB and its members are key in terms of joining up clients’ demands with what happens on site.”

Meanwhile, Dr Jennifer Macdonald, senior BIM consultant at PCSG highlighted how the way in which digital data was being handled is starting to change as BIM matures. “In the past, there has been a focus on trying to push clients into buying whole new platforms but now we are moving towards trying to utilise data that we have got, helping clients take their existing legacy systems to get new insights,” she said.

And James Daniel, head of digital engineering (infrastructure services) at Skanska, stressed how essential it has become for contractors to embrace new technology and good information management practices.

He said: “Skanska infrastructure services looks after 14,000 structures, 270,000 streetlights and 42,000km of highway network. There is a lot of information inside those assets and that is just 14 % of the highway network. You cannot deliver suitable service delivery objectives to your clients using pen and paper.”

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