The Building Quality Assurance Act, Wet Kwaliteitsborging voor het Bouwen, is set to be introduced in mid 2023 and will radically change the building system regulations for the Dutch built environment. Many stakeholders will be impacted by the new legislative change – from construction businesses and municipalities to building owners and consumers.
For main contractors in the Netherlands, the legislation will require an even greater level of transparency and information sharing. And for construction workers, understanding the changes will be imperative.
For most firms, technology will play a critical role in enabling companies to meet the Wet Kwaliteitsborging voor het Bouwen requirements. But change of any kind can be a challenge to implement, and this is no different when it comes to digitising outdated ways of working – whether it supports compliance to regulations or not.
Getting people trained and invested in new technology as quickly as possible is key for a successful implementation. So, here are five tips for quickly onboarding users with new digital tools.
One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to implementing new technology. It’s important to spend time thinking about the change process that will be best for your organisation – and to take advantage of advice from people experienced in this area: specifically, your technology partners.
You can collaborate to design a training programme in a format that will deliver for your employees, whether that’s an immersive one-day workshop or weekly training sessions, delivered remotely or in-person, by function or by project.
When BAM Deutschland was adopting BIM 360, the team turned to their partnership with Autodesk to design customised training. Naveed Zargar, BIM Manager, noted, “We created a one-day internal training program with documentation that visually explained how to use the tool and standardised quality management process.”
Having an outside voice can help to overcome any initial scepticism in the business, as UAE main contractor Khansaheb found when introducing Autodesk Build. BIM Manager Eoin Nield explained, “Having an independent person come in to map our workflows and lead the initial discussions was invaluable; people could re-evaluate everything with a fresh viewpoint.”
Change is hard – and people naturally feel more comfortable sticking to what they know. To get employees bought in from the start, explain why using the new technology will be positive for them and for the business. Maybe new tools will save people time, eliminate redundant admin processes or make it easier to keep clients happier.
You can start by identifying internal champions, who can be trained first; these champions can then advocate for the tools with their peers, as well as supporting them with any early challenges.
It can also be valuable to link technology to your company culture, and commitment to delivering for clients and employees. For example, Kirby Group Engineering has a strong approach to culture and methods of working outlined in the ‘Kirby Way’ and this is reflected in all technology onboarding.
Training not only provides a thorough understanding of how technology is applied to projects, it also links the digital tools to Kirby’s key values. “For us, ensuring our team understands the value and benefit of unified data means our projects run smoother and our people are happier,” explained Mark Danaher, Associate Director, Kirby Group Engineering.
It takes time to feel comfortable with new digital processes, and very few people will be able to master a brand new tool in just one session. However, this can become a major issue if employees are struggling but find it easier to avoid using the system than to ask for help.
It’s critical to create a safe and supportive environment, where people with any level of experience can ask questions. As well as the initial training, set up follow up sessions and anonymised “ask me anything” chats with experts.
Providing a range of supporting resources, like checklists, videos and visuals, will help people with a range of learning styles. Technology champions can also offer peer to peer support with day-to-day questions.
Spanish general contractor Arpada carefully planned how to encourage employees to adopt BIM 360. Cristina Calderón Gallo, Safety and Sustainability Director, explained, “By providing onsite training with close follow-ups and constant technical support, led by a change champion onsite, we were able to standardise the safety issue management process, streamline safety tracking, and increase adoption in the field.”
When it comes to the success of a new digital construction platform, simple things matter. As Duncan Yarroll, Head of BIM & Digital Engineering at Mace, puts it, the key to digital transformation is to start with the basics and get the “unsexy” stuff right.
For example, day-to-day users might not think that entering data in a consistent format matters. But without standard naming conventions, it can be difficult to actually analyse and learn from data further down the line. It’s important to take time to define and then outline a consistent approach for new technology users to follow.
“At Mace, when we were exploring how to create a golden thread of information on each project, we decided to take a couple of steps back and begin by standardising how we operate across projects. We looked at our digital infrastructure, right down to data standards and naming conventions, to ensure that everything was consistent from team to team,” Duncan explained.
Educating employees on the fundamentals can help to illustrate why these small things are important. This will in turn discourage people from creating workarounds further down the line.
When it comes to new technology, a step-by-step approach can be much more manageable than trying to introduce significant changes all at once. Whether you start with an initial project or one workflow, it can be best to introduce technology through a pilot, before undertaking a wider rollout.
This means you can see how the tool works in practice, act on feedback from day-to-day users and identify any hurdles with onboarding employees. A pilot project can also provide initial results or successes, that can help to prove the benefits of that technology to other teams.
This was the approach taken by European contractor Mercury Engineering during the introduction of BIM 360. “We got the basics working really well on our first project, and it was only after this that we introduced more functionality to the team on the next project to ensure a smooth transition to the wider team,” recalled Aisling Goff, Business Unit Quality Manager
For their transition to Autodesk Build, Netherlands-based construction partner Wierts BV focused on introducing one workflow at a time. This iterative approach is a useful reminder to everyone that digitalisation will be a continuous evolution, rather than a one-off event.
Every business – and every IT implementation – is different. But the response of employees will almost always make or break the introduction of a new technology. Spending time and resource creating a dedicated onboarding strategy to quickly get your people onside will help to ensure your digital construction investment really delivers. Want to learn more about how technology can support your company to comply with the Wet Kwaliteitsborging voor het Bouwen? We’ll be at Bouwbeurs – the leading construction event in Benelux from 6-10 February discussing how construction companies can get prepared for change. Join us here.