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Jan 08 2015

CDE for BIM, bigger data…Our 6 predictions for 2015

Road Map for 2015The good news going in to 2015 is that the construction industry as a whole in the UK continues to grow.  Despite figures suggesting that growth slowed in December 2014, particularly for civil engineering projects, the market remains buoyant.

Here are my six predictions for some of the key issues that will shape the AEC industry this coming year:

 

  1. 2016 government mandate will drive demand for a Common Data Environment for BIM

As we edge closer to the 2016 deadline for BIM level 2 on Government funded projects, more and more clients and contractors are looking at how best to adopt BIM and which vendors can support them.  A Common Data Environment (CDE) as defined by PAS1192-2 is a key requirement for meeting BIM level 2 and something we are seeing increased demand for.

2014 saw a sudden take-off of interest in BIM beyond the UK.  Combined with the upcoming release (spring 2015) of the Digital Plan of Works and the classification system that comprise the final parts of the BIM toolkit, this suggests that 2015 will be the year that BIM really takes hold in private sector projects.  This will especially be the case if adoption continues to increase internationally creating a market for exportable expertise.

 

  1. Mobile apps will need to be interoperable and contextual 

2015 is likely to see greater appreciation and adoption of the benefits of mobile technology in our industry.  Reflecting wider trends in the use of technology, mobile applications will be expected to take into account the unique needs of users on the go.

Apps will have to be contextual; the functionality will have to reflect an understanding of how users behave in the field, rather than simply replicating SaaS software.  For example, conjectMI defects and inspections mobile app performs specific functionalities conducted in the field which then synchs with the SaaS software.

This interoperability will be another key user expectation.  Mobile is a tool that allows users to access and share the information they need, where and when they need to, increasing their ability to collaborate and the need for this will continue to increase.  As the power of tablets continues to increase, BIM and other collaboration tools will increasingly feature mobile applications.

 

  1. Big Data for some; Improved intelligence for all 

The amount of data generated across the lifecycle of a built asset has undoubtedly grown significantly over the past few years and will continue to do so.  Despite this and even with increasing uptake of BIM, most sectors of the industry are still not dealing with Big Data in the sense that other industries like retail, FMCG or Geospatial would understand it.

However there is a growing requirement for detailed reporting and analysis of the myriad of data that organisations are collecting over a built asset project.  At CONJECT we have experienced increasing interest in our real-time reporting and business intelligence functionality and expect this to continue through 2015 as organisations seek to leverage greater intelligence from their operations.

Operators of large asset networks such as utilities, oil & gas and transport are the exception as the proliferation of sensors across extensive networks produces vast volumes of data to be analysed.  Further developments of the Internet of Things in 2015 will continue to drive the rise of Big Data for large scale built asset management.

 

  1. A genuine whole lifecycle approach to built asset management 

An integrated, whole lifecycle approach to built assets, as signposted by the Government Soft Landings initiative will continue to grow in importance through 2015.  CDEs, BIM and mobile technologies are all means to an end of improving the flow of information between parties across the lifecycle of the asset in order to deliver better outcomes and lower risk projects.  A whole lifecycle approach as outlined by GSL will continue to present a cultural as well as technical challenge to organisations in 2015 and beyond.

 

  1. Eurozone weakness and UK political uncertainty

Two key areas of uncertainty affecting the construction industry and the wider economy are the ongoing weakness of the Eurozone, and the upcoming UK General Election.

The uneven and weak recovery of the Eurozone economies presents an ongoing challenge in the form of reduced overseas investment.  In the mid to long term this could also lead to reduced domestic investment in commercial and industrial projects as multinational companies face a difficult environment.

The General Election set for the 7th May casts a shadow over civil engineering in particular but also over construction in health, education and public housing.  As the date gets closer, some projects will be put on hold awaiting funding decisions made by whomever may comprise the new government.

 

  1. Rising supply chain costs and skills shortages 

The tangible challenges faced in 2014 of increasing supply chain costs and skills shortages, will continue in 2015.

As workloads haven risen so have lead times and supply chain costs, as there is simply not enough capacity to meet demand.  This will continue to increase leading to rising supply chain costs, as well as and the struggle to replace skills lost during the recession.  According to industry analysts, Glenigan, construction costs increased by 5% in 2014.

CIPS point to the fall in commodity costs, a trend that is continuing as transport costs fall due to lower oil prices, but highlight that this does not cancel out staff and contractor costs created by the shortage of suppliers.

 

And finally

In summary, increased costs, squeezed margins and an uncertain economic environment will continue to drive the need for greater collaboration and integration to improve efficiencies, drive down costs and deliver better outcomes.

At CONJECT we believe in the benefits of an integrated approach to the built asset lifecycle, and it is our goal to provide technology to support this.  Whether you are ready to implement a CDE for BIM on your project or are simply looking to improve document and data sharing between different parties and project stages, CONJECT can support you.

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About the author

Michelle Mason

Michelle Mason leads the UK and MEAP Marketing team, with far too many years in B2B marketing to mention. A CONJECT newbie, Michelle is eagerly climbing a steep learning curve.

View my LinkedIn profile:
http://uk.linkedin.com/in/michellemason04

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