Adopt digital construction now – not later

Ben Lever is Future Skills and Innovation Lead for the Construction Industry Training Board or CITB as it’s known. Not surprisingly much of his focus is on digital adoption by building firms. He’s rightly concerned that change isn’t happening fast enough which he looks to address in his ‘three-step guide to using digital in your construction business’. His three steps being:

  1. Use digital methods to solve problems
  2. Be aware of what is available and start trialling
  3. Understanding the value of data

It’s a useful read. Let’s look at the specific points Ben Lever makes.

1. Use digital methods to solve problems

“A common mistake is to buy new technology because that’s what others have done, like getting the latest smartphone or home gadget. But to make the most out of technology, start with the problem that you are trying to solve and then look for the available technology or applications that are best suited. 

Often the temptation is to launch straight in without thinking first about what digital solution you really need. But if you get it right, having a clear solution allows you to measure the success of technology and you can start to build a business case for further investment. 

Once we grasp the importance of starting with the clear problem to solve, we will see much more successful adoption of modern methods.”

So that’s what Ben Lever says. In the context of software, here at Integro Construction Software we’re entirely focussed on problem-solving for general builders, developers, architects and designers. Our Design and Estimate modules in BuildingWorks are designed to solve a variety of issues including being:

  • Unable to respond to quote requests fast enough
  • Unable to produce drawings quickly and easily
  • Unable to make decent money either through oversights or mismanagement
  • Unable to efficiently produce Bill of Quants

…and so on. BuildingWorks solves all the above problems and then some. What’s more, if you have both the Design and Estimate modules, when you draw your design, you get an automatic cost literally with every line that appears on the screen – which is a first for this sector.

BOQ Works| Construction Software for Builders

2. Be aware of what is available and start trialling

Well there’s some excellent advice here from Ben.

“The opportunity to use digital technology is huge – but what is currently being used falls far short of what is possible. What can we do to change this? Onsite technology ranges from the phone in your pocket to autonomous vehicles, although the latter is currently limited to big budget projects or pilots. But we need to start experimenting more widely now in order to push innovations.

Often the best ideas come from those working in the field, experiencing problems and opportunities on a daily basis. Teams need to be encouraged to do things differently, make suggestions and be allowed to fail. Even low level investments – such as your phone and a cardboard VR headset – can be a valuable starting point. At least it can open the door to a more innovative future.”

Ben is obviously talking on a wider scale, but we’re on the same page when it comes to ‘giving it a go’. What’s the worst that can happen? We’re really keen for our software to be thoroughly trialled. BuildingWorks is available to trial instantly, without any qualification. See what your options are here.

3. Understanding the value of data

Here’s what Ben has to say.

“Our research reveals that using data is a key skills gap but the term is often used to describe different things. Getting to grips with the power of data may seem daunting at first. Once you understand the value and how it can benefit the way you work, your digital transformation will be well on its way. 

Where do you begin? You can start from a very basic level such as collecting work performance data with a pen and paper and use it to identify opportunities for improvement. What did you find? Where can you make improvements? The point is that by showing the value even rudimentary data can allow you to make a case for more sophisticated collection techniques that tech can support and amplify. 

We know that our sector’s future depends on the people who work in it. We are keen to kick-start the transformation required – led by an industry motivated to modernise.” 

We couldn’t agree more. Adrian Wild, founder of Integro Construction Software, wrote recently for Housebuilder & Developer Magazine about the opportunity digital transformation offers builders and developers.

Digital data is what drives digital construction. Our own library has almost 10,000 rates and 15,000 objects, each one packed with 2D and 3D geometry descriptions of the product, plus U-values, sizes and branding. They’re all available from the UK’s leading manufacturers, each one costed and regularly price checked.

Material order schedule | Construction Software for Builders

BuildingWorks cleverly integrates data-rich model and project information databases to build a virtual representation of a project and all of its assets, whether you’re building a housing development, a one-off new build or an extension. You can test the feasibility of a project in terms of cost and energy efficiency.

So CITB’s three-step guide is a good one, and one that supports our own strategy for supporting the SME construction sector. To find out more give one of the BuildingWorks team a call on 0117 916 7880 or start your instant free trial here.