Both around the world and in Australia, construction project delivery must change if needs associated with building and infrastructure are to be met, a leader in construction technology says.
At a networking event hosted by his company in Melbourne, Allan Chalmers, Construction Technical Sales Specialist at manufacturing and construction software provider Autodesk, said the world faces challenges to deliver the buildings and infrastructure needed to accommodate population growth.
According to the World Population Prospects 2019 report published by the United Nations in June, the global population is expected to rise from 7.7 billion in 2019 to almost 10 billion (9.7 billion) in 2050.
In urban areas, an earlier UN report found that the number of inhabitants may jump from 4.2 billion in 2018 to 6.7 billion in 2050.
To accommodate this, Chalmers says 13,000 new buildings are needed each day along with a volume of infrastructure equivalent of 30 times around the world.
Simultaneously, the building sector needs to both attract candidates to replace aging workers and to boost productivity.
On the latter issue, a 2017 McKinsey & Company report put long-run productivity growth at 3.6 percent per annum in the manufacturing sector but only one percent in construction.
Chalmers says construction can improve in two areas.
As technologies such as offsite fabrication and 3D printing gather momentum, there are opportunities to embrace industrialised construction and to derive benefits associated with the standardisation and predictability of a manufacturing environment whilst still delivering the customisation required in construction.
Beyond that, Chalmers talks about better data management and information flow.
As things stand, he says there are challenges with inadequate quality control of data as well as information being kept in silos.
Indeed, Chalmers says 30 percent of data is lost by handover whilst 95 percent of data which is generated is not being used.
Partly as a result, he says rework is costing around $US280 billion globally.
One factor behind this is an array of software which contractors were using – a phenomenon which increases complexity and creates challenges in ensuring that project teams are working off the most current set of documents.
Around one-quarter of all construction contractors, Chambers says, use five or more software solutions.
Instead, he says systems need to become more integrated.
Speaking of his own firm, Chalmers says Autodesk’s response revolves around its BIM 360 platform, a cloud-based system which aims to connect processes relating to design, construction and project management.
He says Autodesk’s vision involves three pillars: digitising workflows and helping users to collaborate in the cloud, integrating systems and offering seamless data flows and enabling users to analyse data and to foresee and prevent potential problems.