Construction projects have many moving parts, and managing all those different elements is crucial for project success. One wrong piece of information can create a snowball effect and potentially lead to project teams building off the wrong set of plans resulting in schedule delays, cost overruns, and a loss in morale.
One way to ensure that teams are coordinated and working off the latest data set is connected construction. By connecting and integrating workflows and data, information flows seamlessly from one system to the next, ensuring collaboration across stakeholders. At its core, connected construction connects teams, processes, and information from start to finish across the project’s lifecycle.
At Autodesk University, starting on November 17, 2020, you’ll experience the future of connected construction. In the lead up to the global digital event, we turned to our customers and asked, “what does connected construction mean to you?” Over the next five weeks, we’ll be sharing candid insights and opinions from top professionals on the value of integrated and connected workflows.
Watch our responses:
Defining Connected Construction
To better understand how our customers define connected construction and the value of integrated workflows, we also polled The Big Room, an online hub dedicated explicitly for construction professionals, with a series of questions. What did we learn? Connected construction means different things to different people – but one element remains the same. Connected construction at its foundation is open communication between technology to make sure that project teams have the right information at the right time, leading to better project outcomes.
Melissa Schulteis, Virtual Construction Specialist at Miron Construction, shared that connected construction links the entire project lifecycle from design to construction to handover. “With connected workflows, we can eliminate data loss and broken communication between one entity and the next. Technology is the glue that holds the project together and creates success by removing data silos and streamlining access to information in a central location.”
Getting Set Up for Project Success with Connected Construction
Connected construction will solve some of the challenges on the jobsite, including data loss and miscommunication by breaking down data silos and increasing collaboration and coordination across project teams. Operating on one interface will lead to better problem solving and decision making on projects, reducing rework, limiting risk, and increasing project visibility.
“Connected workflows will help eliminate questions because information is easily accessible and communicated across teams,” says Zachery Hamilton, Associate Estimator at Oliver Mechanical Inc. “If all the stakeholders have the correct information, they are bound to be more successful as there will be less cause for rework and delays on projects.”
The Benefits of Connected Construction
1. Real-time updates to minimize risk and issues onsite, with a single log-in
“The way I look at the term “connected construction” is having one source of truth. Meaning that there is one place where the information lives. A change made once is a change made everywhere so that everyone is looking at the most current information at any given time,” says Steve Rollo, National BIM/VDC Manager at Graham Construction & Engineering.
With access to real-time information – whether its RFIs, submittals, or plans – project stakeholders can feel confident that they are working off the latest data set, which will minimize errors and risk onsite. This will also increase response times, streamlining the construction process.
With information accessible to the entire team, there is a sense of visibility into issues before they happen.
2. Interoperability between tools eliminating redundancy and increasing quality
“Connected construction means software that integrates well with other programs and thereby increases productivity,” says Brandon Peterson, Mechanical Engineer at EnSiteUSA.
Connected construction minimizes risk by automating how information is shared, eliminating the duplication of tasks. With an integrated and connected platform, information can be updated once instead of toggling between systems, minimizing data loss and saving time and resources.
By connecting tools, data can easily be shared across teams creating a centralized hub with project information increasing efficiency and quality.
3. Better and more informed decision making
“The benefits associated with connected construction are having accurate information ready and available at any moment during the process for the client, the design team, and the construction team,” says Gilbert Garcia, VDC Engineer at Turner Construction. “Having the ability to adapt to unforeseen changes and have the information available in real-time helps deliver an efficient and quality project to the client.”
With information connected on a single platform, the approval process is smoother, and there is accountability across stakeholders. Teams can coordinate and communicate more seamlessly, allowing for issues to be resolved earlier in the project lifecycle and provide greater value to the Owner.
4. Seamless communication and collaboration across all stakeholders
When project teams are on the same page at the same time, there’s a lot less delay with any new changes or developments around the actual project scope. When teams are on the same interface, you can seamlessly and efficiently communicate across all platforms.
Connected construction can remove or limit any loss in communication or data, allowing for a seamless transition of information across project stakeholders from design to engineering to construction. Connected workflows increase response times and visibility into discussion points, creating faster decision making.
“It also means being able to help others and not duplicating effort,” says Justin Thomas, Estimator at Harper Limbach. “For example, when I do take off, I tend to draw a model. With connected construction, I can then pass this along to our BIM department to get a head start on drawing.”
5. Reduced construction conflicts and project costs
Connected construction improves project outcomes by aligning stakeholders at the onset of the project on end goals and requirements. Having all team members armed with as much knowledge on the project helps keep the project on track and anticipate potential issues.
“Connected construction allows teams to identify and resolve issues promptly, which significantly impacts costs before they appear,” says Michael Shurgalla, CADD Manager at Moffatt & Nichol. “This also makes the approval process much cleaner resulting in less finger-pointing and rework since everyone has visibility into the data and knows where things are.”
How to Get Started with Connected Construction
Connected construction is the future of the AEC industry. With integrated workflows and the seamless transfer of data from one project phase to the next, the industry will tackle more projects with less perceived risk.
Construction is like a team sport, and you are only as successful if each stakeholder – owner, designer, general constructor, and subcontractor – is working together in unison. This is what separates good projects from great ones.
Don’t forget to check back every Wednesday through November 11 for a new video response on connected construction and the value of integrating workflows.