People are key to tackling technology challenges

Image to illustrate George Floros story
Image: Boarding1now |

Ensuring project stakeholders understand the “common objective” when using geospatial information systems (GIS) is key to successful delivery, according to George Floros, head of GIS at Skanska UK.

Floros was speaking at this year’s Digital Construction Summit, during a panel discussion entitled Improving efficiency and reducing rework in construction projects with technology, delivered in association with NavVis.

Discussing the challenges around legacy technology, Floros said it can be particularly difficult when implementing a new technology or capability across larger organisations, like Skanska. 

To overcome this challenge, he explained, “there needs to be an end goal… a business objective that will enable all project stakeholders, not just the geospatial experts”.

Floros added: “We have BIM professionals, geospatial professionals, scientists, analysts and IT [professionals], but we cannot leave out the end-users because these are the people who will be using the technology – in our situation, that is the construction and operations team.

“There needs to be a common goal and a common objective, and then start working backwards from this common objective [to understand] how you will be able to make every technology link with each other.”

Technical and cultural challenges

Floros urged project stakeholders to focus on four key questions:

  • What are your pain points and challenges?
  • What legacy systems do you need to remove?
  • What are you replacing legacy technology with?
  • How will you ensure any new technology is connected with existing capability? 

“There are technical and cultural aspects [that need to be considered],” added Floros. “But [the focus should be on identifying] the problem and making sure that the technologies fit the problem, rather than focusing on a new set of technologies and somehow trying to incorporate it into our stack so that we look progressive.”

During the discussion, Floros shared his view on how AI will shape the use of GIS in construction. 

“What I see as one of the biggest opportunities is how we can use this to monitor site progress… and calculate the amount of work happening on site on a particular date, almost automatically,” he said.

“The other aspect where I see a lot of opportunity is when it comes to how we can automate integration between GIS and BIM around information management. 

“Right now, with infrastructure projects we are working with hundreds of thousands of models and drawings. We really need to see the opportunity of one day being able to almost automatically reference the right data within a GIS environment or the right GIS data within a BIM environment by taking into consideration the information management guidelines and principles.”

Partners for the Digital Construction Summit 2023 were the Chartered Institute of Building, Cohesive, Elecosoft, Ideagen Mail Manager and NavVis. The Summit was organised by BIMplus and Construction Management.

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