Differentiate through digital investment - Deloitte
Digital is moving business decisions from reactive to predictive and could enable E&C firms to outpace their competition, according to Deloitte research.
In a Deloitte post-election poll, 76% of E&C executives indicate that they are likely to invest in at least one digital technology in 2021 and it is likely to be a priority on CIOs' growth agendas.
Here are some specific areas and opportunities of digital initiatives that could enable E&C companies to differentiate themselves:
- Technologies such as building information management (BIM) can help enhance real-time project visibility, eliminate cost overruns, and accelerate the development timeline. Further applications of BIM into offerings that incorporate energy efficiency and facilities management for comprehensive lifecycle project management are also emerging.
- Digital supply networks can help to calibrate demand and supply by ensuring constant material availability using machine learning and cognitive computing. This could help solve for a key challenge that 54% of contractors surveyed in a recent study indicate: the shortage of at least one construction material.
- Digital twin technologies can help make use of 3D data to generate building profiles and blueprints of building parts and components in real time, driving visibility and operational improvements across the building life cycle.
- Autonomous rovers and drones can help conduct remote site inspections. This can not only help improve worker safety, but also enhance productivity for inspection operations.
- After project delivery, predictive maintenance technologies can help E&C firms better manage assets and equipment. Preventing any equipment downtime can increase efficiency and ensure on-time project delivery.
The research complements a new report from Virgin Media and CEBR which highlights how COVID-driven digital change could be a £232 billion opportunity for the UK economy (click here).
Digital transformation has prompted flexible working, digital delivery of services and richer data for analytics and AI.
New tech spends in commercial sectors such as construction, professional services, and retail could spur a £40 billion rise in GDP. The digital transformation uplift in construction could be worth £3 billion by 2040, raising the sector to £167 billion.
"The construction sector has the potential to become a field in which digital solutions will save time and money," the report states. "This is particularly true for smaller administrative tasks and projects where virtual work technology can allow for different companies along the supply chain to collaborate in real time and deliver remotely."
Which countries are leading the adoption of BIM?
Building Information Modelling (BIM) was first used by UK construction firms in the 1980s. Since then an increasing number of countries such as Germany, Austria, and Russia have also started to use it, but which country is leading the way?
According to research by PlanRadar, the UK, as of 2021, remains the leader in BIM implementation in construction when compared with other European nations. However, the company’s research shows that there is clear evidence other countries in close pursuit.
As part of the research into the adoption of BIM, PlanRadar examined government policy documents and conducted interviews to find out why BIM is being deployed in each country. The study also allowed the company to gauge construction professionals’ attitudes to digital technology tools in their industry, as well as explore where fast growth rates in BIM are most likely in the coming years. In addition, it looked at which governments have progressed furthest in making construction BIM mandatory.
PlanRadar says the findings are “a useful follow-up to the recently published Construction Manager BIM annual survey”, which pinpoints distinct barriers to adoption in the UK market.
While Britain has long been considered a pioneer in BIM technology, with projects such as the Heathrow Airport reconstruction, it seems that Russia is catching up. Even though its first BIM projects only appeared in 2014, PlanRadar says that the country “is on a steep upward trajectory”. According to the research, no other European country has adopted so many laws on standardisation and the mandatory implementation of BIM in the construction industry.
“Russia is arguably the most eagle-eyed nation for compliance and harnessing advanced BIM tech to drive efficiencies”, the company said.
Germany’s BIM adoption is also rapidly increasing as its government invests in BIM standardisation, skills training, and support for BIM projects, in line with its vision for the future digitalisation of the German construction sector.
PlanRadar research summary
As part of its research into the adoption of Building Information Modelling, PlanRadar has summarised each country. According to the company, here are the summaries for the UK, Germany, Russia, and France.
- The UK has the highest number of construction companies using BIM at level 2 and beyond.
- It remains the leader in the earliest use and implementation of BIM in construction projects.
- Since 2016 all state-funded projects must use at least BIM level 2, and this has led to a surge in awareness and use of BIM in the last decade. For private projects, BIM usage is advised but not mandatory.
- Currently, only 62% of small businesses in the UK actively use BIM, compared to 80% of large businesses.
- Approximately 70% of German construction companies use BIM at different levels. However, the majority are architects and design companies, making use of BIM in the design phase rather than construction and operation.
- Since 2017, BIM has been mandatory for projects worth over €100 million. And from 31st December 2020, BIM became mandatory for all public contracts relating to the building of federal infrastructure.
- BIM technology is used by very large property developers and construction companies that operate in the largest cities such as Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Ufa, Yekaterinburg.
- When it comes to legislation standardising and mandating BIM, Russia is the clear leader, and today there are 15 national standards (GOSTs) and eight sets of rules for information modelling in the country.
- From March 2022, all government projects are required to use BIM technology, and further legislation is in the pipeline.
- France does not yet have a single BIM standard enshrined in law or regulation, yet 35% of developers in France use BIM for their real estate projects.
- In addition, 50 to 60% of the leaders in the French construction market have switched to BIM, with level 2 as the most common maturity level.
- At the end of 2018, BIM Plan 2022 was launched to encourage construction participants to integrate it into their workflows. Still, construction companies have struggled to agree since there is no single approved BIM standard.
The research report concluded that the adoption of BIM is yet to reach its full potential in Europe. While the UK is currently the leader, countries such as Russia and Germany are evidently forging a clear path and have goals surrounding skills and legal frameworks. PlanRadar says that next year’s European BIM ranking “could paint a very different picture”.