Disrupt Yourself – Disrupting the Construction Industry from the Inside

Instead of allowing outside forces to disrupt the construction industry, we should be asking ourselves how we can innovate from within.  This commentary is a reflection back to Danielle Dy Buncio’s 2016 CEO Tech Forum Keynote.

 

Introduction

The construction industry is allowing itself to be disrupted. As other industries are seeing massive upticks in productivity, construction is regressing to the tune of 0.32% per year according to research from Prof. Paul Teicholz. We are becoming less efficient despite our technological improvements. Outside players are taking notice of this stagnated productivity rate – and deciding for us how we should work. Even Google, through its investment in Sidewalk Labs, has shown interest in the problem of software interoperability and inefficiencies in our industry. But disruption and innovation are not processes that just happen around us – we can and should be active participants in the effort to solve our productivity problem. At VIATechnik, we are asking the question: what does the future look like?

Disrupting the Industry Today

One way we are answering this question is by asking another: what if the future looked like a project free of on-the-fly solutions? We believe that creating accurate and intelligent BIM models that serve as the foundation for construction creates that path to the future.  Through a process that has gone through multiple iterations of improvement, we have been yielding amazing results for our clients that surprise even the most skeptical naysayers.  On a recent complex project, the team realized a 3 month schedule savings and 3% cost savings, even in spite of COVID related shutdowns.  At the very least, your first experience with disaster should not be in the real world with real dollars, and as our process shows, disrupting the way we plan our work, can generate concrete results on even the most complex projects.

What if the future looked like a democratized and trustworthy data set that even non-professionals could access and manipulate? The most sophisticated simulation tools are only as good as the data they receive, and when so much of this data is poorly managed, manipulated, or otherwise flawed it becomes useless. Through VIATechnik’s Cirrus Studio, our team is creating tools that aggregate and reform data in one location, allowing us to see design progress, up-to-date site reports, and any pending issues without asking scattered team members across offices.

We can even use this data to build models, enabling a wider stakeholder pool. For example, using tools that auto-generate schematic models, Cirrus Studio is working with real estate developers to rapidly test-fit multiple sites and use these models evaluate pro-formas and assess the rapidly changing customer preferences and profiles. These models can be analyzed for feasibility, cost, and other parameters, enabling a faster response to emerging market trends. Together this means fewer data gatekeepers and faster decisions, a winning combination for efficiency.

Disruption and the Future

Disruption is in some ways about predicting the future, about seeing two steps ahead of where we are – something that AI unlocks for the industry.  Leveraging AI in this way is something the industry needs to embrace quickly.  Consider the digitized real estate portfolio – potential retrofits could be easily cost-estimated in a simulated BIM environment and their benefits analyzed over time to determine product efficacy before it is ever installed – all in a matter of minutes. This is only a glimpse into what the future can be, and we are always asking what comes next.

Conclusion

Disruption in the industry must come from within, and as our team has shown, innovation can generate a significant amount of value if done correctly. As the industry moves towards full BIM integration, and our built environment becomes increasingly digitized, our ability to make high-velocity decisions will determine how, and whether, we shape our own futures. After all, the world is moving faster; if the industry cannot become equally connected, convenient, and digital on its own, someone will do it for us.  For more information on implementing technologies that can support your path to disruption, reach out to our consulting team at [email protected]

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