Digital continuity throughout the building life cycle

According to an international study conducted by RICS (2022) on the digitalisation of construction, 40% of the construction industry professionals surveyed stated that they do not use digital technologies in their projects.

Only 11% of building professionals claim to use them in all their construction projects and 18% in most of them.

Despite the small numbers, these digital adopters do report many benefits: improved progress monitoring and safety, better planning and cost control, environmental issues.

Despite the possible reluctance to go digital, this methodology is ideal for improving all the activities and stages that make up the life cycle of a building.

These phases can all be optimised thanks to digital technology. From the feasibility study of a project, to the design, construction, management and finally demolition of a building. Let’s discover, phase by phase, the different benefits that digital continuity can bring to your construction projects.

Construction life cycle of buildings
The construction life cycle of the building

Feasibility study phase

Better collaboration for greater efficiency

Carrying out construction projects digitally means that everyone’s roles are clearly defined in advance. Before you even start the project, you make sure that the data is passed on to the right people. It will also be updated in real time.

A better organisation of roles also means better productivity on the part of everyone. By not having to worry about manual data collection and re-entry, for example (because everything is already centralised thanks to digital), everyone can focus solely on their tasks; what they have knowledge and expertise for.

According to The Hub, in the construction industry, the digitalisation of companies is responsible for +2.5% of productivity per year over the last 10 years.

Design phase

Ensuring the accuracy of its renderings

In the design phase of a project, it is essential to be as precise as possible in order to reduce errors. With the transition from the drawing board to digital models, your renderings will be much more qualitative. And this without hindering your creativity.

Today, with the use of “Building Information Modeling” (BIM), the maturation phases of your works are maintained thanks to the LOD (Level of Detail).

In addition to reducing the margin of error, digitisation saves an enormous amount of time in filing, consulting and analysing data.

Here we see five different levels of detail of a BIM object.

We offer you a webinar on the management of the model development level from one phase to another of a project. Join Emmanuel DI GIACOMO, AUTODESK BIM Ecosystem Development Manager Europe and Rémy Maurcot, Project Manager & Solution Engineer at BIM&CO.

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Expand your project possibilities

For construction players who are not necessarily very mature in terms of new digital methodologies in the construction sector, their range of potential projects remains limited. Understanding how these methods work (BIM, PIM) will enable their teams to increase their skills. Greater expertise in BIM opens the door to more project opportunities in construction.

Construction phase

Real-time monitoring to save time

Thanks to technological site monitoring tools, an operator can connect at any time to his site monitoring application. In this way, he or she can check the progress of the construction site in question in real time. The job site dashboard is accessible from a smartphone, tablet or PC.

In this way, project management is greatly simplified. The operator can make the necessary decisions as the project progresses.

Thus, non-conformities and other construction defects are avoided.

Saving money

Digitalising site monitoring also saves money. Indeed, even if the installation of the system has a cost, this is quickly recouped.

A study by the Boston Consulting Group (2016) estimates that large-scale digitisation of construction will have resulted in annual global savings of $0.7-1.2 trillion (13-21%) in the engineering and construction phases between 2016 and 2026.

Firstly, the time saving mentioned above is usually synonymous with savings. Secondly, the price of the equipment needed to collect the data is only that of a smartphone or tablet.

Cost reduction also comes from the proper control and management of construction defects. Thanks to real-time verification, digital technology can automatically detect them and thus avoid them. No need to spend money on demolition or modification of a building!

Finally, the construction industry can more easily forecast, plan and control all costs related to their project.

Source : Canva

Building management and maintenance

A better view of each project

Using BIM means working together and collaborating to get a better view of each project.

The use of digital and 3D technology makes it possible to quickly visualise each project. As mentioned above, this makes it easier to spot potential problems and avoid them.

For example, with virtual reality tools, we can immediately project ourselves into a future living space. The owner of a house under construction can, during a visit to a building site, visualise himself in his future living room. This also allows for a better understanding with builders and project managers, and can also reassure the client.

The possibility of bringing a building to life before its construction is a real opportunity to build better and more efficiently through the use of immersive technologies. Beyond the digital model, BIM, virtual reality digitises construction.

Successful environmental transition

Thanks to digital technology, the monitoring of a construction project throughout the building life cycle is much more qualitative, reliable and detailed. Digital project management tools like Onfly are very effective in gaining more control over negative impacts. Any error in a building will be detected and avoided. Any mistake means restarting work. And thus use more materials and produce more waste with what cannot be reused.

In addition, better management of preventive maintenance will result in lower energy consumption. Also, the remote management of possible needs or problems in a building will reduce the use of transport.

Deconstruction phase

Characterising buildings and reducing risks

The use of digital technology and digital modelling allows the characterisation of buildings thanks to data on the materials used, their nature and their quantity. Then, it is time to simulate the deconstruction site, by inserting digital models of equipment such as cranes and other machines.

Digital technology also makes it easier to plan deconstruction work. And then to communicate this simply to the people involved.

Finally, deconstruction represents a higher level of risk compared to that on a construction site. Simulation via digital tools makes it possible to visualise the spaces available for the disposal of materials and waste. In addition, it is possible to see in advance the various possible movements of machinery within the site. In this way, the risks of collision between these machines can be detected and avoided.

Tracking and reusing materials

The use of digital technology in construction projects provides the opportunity to trace and reuse materials that could be used in other projects.

With the Onfly cloud solution, digital mock-up users can centralise and organise all their 3D objects in their private space. Thanks to the project space functionality in Onfly, it is also possible to define which objects are to be used for which projects. But it is also possible to send these objects to other projects with just a few clicks. After all, this BIM content is organised in your Onfly library in such a way that it can be found quickly and easily.

So, with the same product used in several projects, it makes sense to use the same materials. Perhaps leftover surplus from previous projects. This means less waste, and a guaranteed time saving. Indeed, there is no need to re-model your favourite products. They already exist, and are available in your Onfly space!

Building demolition
Source : Canva

What can we learn about digital continuity throughout the building life cycle?

To conclude on this topic, we see that digital brings many benefits to all phases of the building life cycle.

  • In the feasibility study phase of a project, it is important to remember that digital technology allows you to organise yourself well beforehand. And thus to plan for better collaboration between everyone.
  • In the design phase, digital technology is very useful to ensure accurate renderings, especially with reference to DRLs. This helps to reduce errors.
  • In the construction phase, time and cost savings are important elements in optimising construction projects.
  • When managing and maintaining a building, the use of digital technology brings a better life and projection of a building’s performance. And it helps to improve the industry’s impact on the environment.
  • Finally, there is a reduction in the risks during the demolition phase of a building. This is an important element in the construction sector, which accounts for approximately 14% of work-related accidents in France, all sectors combined, according to the French Health Insurance (Assurance Maladie).

Do you have questions about the digitalisation of the building sector, or about the implementation of new digital solutions within your company? BIM&CO can answer your questions and help you in your transition to digital. Contact us for more information!

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