Construction sector must embrace digital innovation

By - World Infrastructure Journal

Construction sector must embrace digital innovation

A new report from the Construction Innovation Hub calls for greater prioritisation of digital innovation across the construction and built environment sectors, if the government’s ‘build back better’ agenda is to be a success.  

In the decade since the original announcement of the Building Information Modelling (BIM) mandate, the UK has made tremendous strides in improving its foundational digital capabilities. According to the The Digital Innovation Imperative: Advancing progress towards a digital built Britain, the Construction Innovation Hub’s most recent report, those strides will have to made at an increasing pace if the UK is to capitalise on its opportunity to 'build back better'.

Assessing the UK’s digital landscape, the report makes the case for increasing the pace of innovation as well as a significant expansion of current digital capabilities. This digital upscale could boost productivity and support Britain’s transition to a green economy. This renewed focus on digital would also increase efficiency through enabling contractors to deliver better whole-life value for assets.

The report argues that a digital push of this nature could address longstanding challenges in the sector. Many of the challenges faced by the construction and built environment sectors are linked to uncertainty created by inefficient practices, and so integrating digital capabilities can help contractors avoid confusion with regards to requirements or desired outcomes. This could therefore ensure that projects are delivered more effectively.

The report looks to provide practitioners with a complete understanding of the potential benefits that they can accrue through the expansion of their digital capabilities, while also identifying best practice across six ‘core capability categories’ - governance, value, systems thinking, information management, built and natural environment and skills. This guidance is supplemented with a range of case studies and further resources to support them in the development of their digital skills.

The report’s release follows the recent announcement of the new Information Management Mandate, which supersedes the 2016 BIM mandate, and plays a major role in the Infrastructure and Projects Authority’s Transforming Infrastructure Performance: Roadmap to 2030.

Commenting on the report, Keith Waller, Programme Director of the Construction Innovation Hub, said: “As we emerge from the pandemic, it has never been clearer that digital ways of working are critical to the resilience and sustainability of the sector more broadly.

“Every £1 invested in Information Management could generate cost savings of £6.90 - £7.40 over time. Now we must work together to reach a critical mass of people and organisations with the right digital skills to improve the safety, security and sustainability of the built environment. ” 

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