Construction’s digital future

The Westminster Sustainable Business Forum (WSBF) event, sponsored by the British Board of Agrément, concluded that the industry ‘lagged behind’ others with similar levels of complexity in the uptake of digital technology. 

“For example, the motor racing and aerospace sectors have widely embraced digital models and virtual testing because the costs, safety implications and reputational impact mean that they have to. The construction industry should look to these sectors as a guide,” suggested roundtable attendees.

Wendy Ajuwon, BBA Head of Marketing said: “Developing this technology for our industry can help deliver the Hackitt Report’s all-important ‘golden thread’ of quality building information.”

Andrew Miller Architects Director, Andrew de Silva, commented that complexity posed significant problems as projects were operated on a variety of scales and required a range of skills and abilities across sectors. They were further hampered by industry fragmentation and competing priorities from different stakeholders.

The roundtable, chaired by Housing, Communities and Local Government committee member Teresa Pearce MP, discussed how embracing digital technology delivers secondary benefits including more efficient use of materials, better labour organisation, waste reduction and safer working environments. 

The use of building information modelling (BIM) – described as having a ‘multitude’ of indirect benefits for consumers – was discussed and how the government’s mandate for adoption of BIM Level 2 on public sector projects had accelerated the use of digital tools. 

Consideration should now turn to making BIM Level 2 mandatory at tender stage on residential projects utilising off-site construction techniques. 

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