Digital technologies are becoming a vital part of the construction industry, and it’s inevitable that every level of the industry will need to embrace digital modelling.
Although some of the more advanced technology is expensive and not universally adopted, as it becomes more commonly used it will help to make our work safer, more cost-effective and more sustainable. For those reasons, it’s good to stay on top of developments and keep one eye on the world of digital modelling.
Let’s look at how digital modelling will shape the design, build and post-construction landscape:
Advanced 4D Modelling
4D* digital modelling can now be used to test out plans from the moment you break ground right through to topping out and completion. By running through everything before works begin, it’s possible to test out the logic of the planned phases of the build and to anticipate any issues in advance. This helps to minimise deviations so the project can stay closer to the planned costs and timescales.
*I expect you know this, but for anyone reading who doesn’t, 4D simply means 3D images plus time and scheduling information.
Progress Capture and AI
As the project progresses, 360-degree cameras can capture accurate project information. Artificial intelligence (AI) can then be used to compare actual project info with the planned expectations. Throughout the project you’ll have a clear idea of how it’s progressing against the original plans.
This makes it easier to hold contractors to account. When you have accurate records to refer to and you’re keeping up to speed with progress then it’s easier to avoid disputes.
Communicate with all Stakeholders
Sharing progress throughout a project is much easier when you have 4D images to show your stakeholders, especially the non-technical stakeholders, including end users. This can reduce surprises and help make sure that the finished build is going to meet the needs of all involved.
One record to rule them all
Keeping digital records for a project is useful at the planning stage, during the build, and afterwards, and will also meet new mandatory requirements such as the golden thread of information.
The golden thread is a new requirement which the UK government plans to introduce as part of a stricter regulatory regime. The recommendation for the golden thread came about after the Grenfell fire, when the government asked Dame Judith Hackitt to lead an independent review of building regulations and fire safety.
It will include information that allows someone to understand a building and maintain it safely. The information will need to be stored digitally, to remain accurate and up to date, and be easily accessed by the people who need it.
Full adoption of digital modelling and related AI tools at every stage of a build will not happen overnight, but I am sure we’ll all want to keep an eye on progress. Meanwhile, if you need assistance with the structural elements of an upcoming project, please do get in touch.