Data and information which is connected and shared with relevant stakeholders is critical for designing and delivering a net zero built environment, a leader in construction technology says.

In an interview following the creation of his multi-national firm as a result of a merger of four leading technology solution providers (see below), VinZero Chief Executive Officer Paul Laycock told Sourceable that the connection of disparate information and data is an essential part of delivering a built environment which is smarter, more efficient, more sustainable and more affordable.

Laycock says the importance of sustainability in design and construction should not be underestimated. This involves not only reducing carbon emissions but also eliminating waste and minimising construction impacts on land and the environment.

“When we build buildings, they are intended to last a long time,” Laycock said.

“Unless we start to look at how we put smarter buildings together, it’s going to take a long time to transform our total environment impact and world that we live in.

“Whether it is new housing or new shopping centres, roads or bridges, we have to look at sustainability. We have to look at taking the step toward zero carbon by redefining traditional practices and become more intelligent in how we leverage data through digitalisation.”

Laycock’s comments come as VinZero was created last month out of an $EU200+M merger of four technology solutions providers: A2K Technologies and Cloud A2K for ANZ, U.S.CAD The Americas, Cadline EMEA and UK, and Capricot India.

The firms have now been rebranded under the VinZero umbrella as VinZero APAC, VinZero EMEA, VinZero The AMERICAS and VinZero INDIA.

Put together, the newly merged entity has 550 employees across 32 offices, more than 400,000 licences under management and thousands of global customers.

By bringing together multiple technologies, the organisation aims to speed up digitisation across architecture, engineering, construction and manufacturing and to facilitate the design and construction of buildings which are smarter, more efficient, more affordable and more sustainable through greater uptake of digital technology.

The comments also come amid ongoing efforts by industry to create a more sustainable built environment.

A recent report published by the United Nations Environment Programme found that worldwide, the construction sector is responsible for 38 percent of C02 emissions, 23 percent of air pollution, 40 percent of water pollution, 50 percent of landfill waste, 21 percent of the depletion of natural resources and 40 percent of energy use.

Speaking about technology, Laycock says the most important challenge is to connect information across disciplines.

As things stand, he says much information within the industry is fragmented and disconnected.

He says greater connectedness could deliver benefits across several areas.

On one specific issue, Laycock says greater connectedness can assist architects, engineers and builders to specify and source products which are environmentally sound and fit for purpose.

Speaking particularly of VinZero, he says the VinZero Create offering due for release in the coming months will provide curated project specific content from manufacturers globally. This will help the industry to digitise more rapidly, redefine and replace generic with specific content, design smarter and faster and improve speed and accuracy. In turn, Laycock says this will reduce time and cost to design, while helping increase project margins.

Given the large number of products which go into buildings along with the array of compliance certificates and sustainability ratings for each product type,  Laycock says that providing accessible and up to date product content from manufacturers will deliver significant benefits.

More generally, bringing information together can facilitate greater stakeholder collaboration and participation in design.

Finally, greater connectedness of information will help to facilitate innovative construction methods such as offsite fabrication or design for manufacturing and assembly.

Beyond individual buildings, meanwhile, Laycock says connected information will help in the planning and delivery of sustainable cities, suburbs and precincts by bringing together various forms of data surrounding the flow of traffic, transport and people.

Speaking of VinZero, he says the merged entity aims to have a positive impact over 50 to 100 years by facilitating the transformation of practices across industry. Within its own business, it seeks to bring in not just architects, engineers and builders but also those with broader expertise such as ergonomists, agricultural scientist or cultural experts to help develop the long-term vision.

In addition, the company is currently building out its own Sustainability Council with a commitment to place dedicated Sustainability Directors in each of their key geographical regions. This council will enable their customers to garner advice and education from around the world specific to industry supporting their mandate to help industry build a better world.

Paul Laycock (image supplied)

Laycock says the built environment will reach its long-term potential only if the vision is set correctly and aligns with economic and community objectives.

Whilst not every project will reach net zero, he says the industry needs to operate on a path of continual improvement.

Laycock says COVID has served as a wake-up call about the need to operate differently.

“With everything that has gone on with COVID, I think it has been a wakeup call for a lot of people,” Laycock said.

“People want to do something different and do better and consider a different future than what we have lived in in the past.”

“VinZero is there to help facilitate and help that transformation and to provide the people with the information to make the most educated decisions they can in leading toward net zero.”