Over recent years, the construction industry as a whole has gone through a huge period of change. From adopting new technology and services that help build smarter and more efficiently, to utilising data to drive better performance and productivity, as well as deliver more informed decision-making and safer housing. The construction industry is adapting rapidly towards a more agile and digitised model that can help navigate market pressures, is more aware of its surroundings and can create more sustainable built environments.
On top of this, reforms in legislative regulations that have been updated or come into force over recent years, have spurred on change in how construction firms work and build. With an emphasis on digitisation, many new regulations require digital data and information for compliance to validate that buildings are built and operated safely and are performing in a way that supports sustainability. With information being so important, creating, collating, evidencing, reporting and demonstrating that you have the right data is becoming the new norm. It’s now high on the agenda whether you are designing or planning a building, on-site constructing it, or in the office helping maintain a property.
However, more needs to be done. Not only to make sure this data is present, correct and accessible, but to ensure it is available to the right people, kept up-to-date, traceable and auditable. As mentioned in the Building Safety Act 2022, a ‘golden thread of information’ will help ensure that data is maintained on a property across its life.
Every stakeholder in the construction value chain needs to play a part, which means improved cross-team communication and collaboration. This will also improve performance, productivity, and faster project completion time too — all part of the industry’s progress and evolution.
In a climate where there is a level of uncertainty and no doubt challenges ahead, this blog delves into the benefits of collaboration in construction to build and maintain properties better through better building information.
The Construction Industry is one of the largest in the UK market, with Statista Research predicting revenues to be £476.6 billion by 2027.
The Office for National Statistics [ONS] reported in 2021, that there were 353,365 registered construction firms across the United Kingdom.
At the beginning of 2022, The Construction Industry Training Board [CITB] recorded that there were 2.69 million construction workers in the UK.
With these numbers spotlighting the size of the industry, where firms and people work across multiple projects and segments, collaboration to create quality building information should be king.
Within the construction industry, the approach to data and information management is often disjointed, with information being provided from design teams, contractors and subcontractors, and stored in different systems and formats. With a typical construction project having approximately 30-40 subcontractors to procure and manage, this can lead to fragmented, incomplete and unstandardised data which is dealt with in silos, and can lead to costly outcomes such as delaying project completions, particularly when handover is done.
Information collation is just one area that demonstrates a lack of collaboration within the construction sector. It burdens teams who might not have the right information or insight to hand, impacts productivity and quality, while also compromising assets.
In 1994, the Latham Report delved into procurement and contractual arrangements in the UK construction industry and identified that performance issues can be improved through effective teamwork by designers, contractors, subcontractors and manufacturers. Fast forward almost 30 years, and Latham’s suggestion of using co-ordinated project information and collaboration has yet to be fully implemented. While the industry is getting better, there is still room for improvement in terms of having a joined up approach.
When collaboration doesn’t form part of your process it can result in several issues, including:
Bringing together information and understanding data can be a laborious and time-consuming task, especially if there has been a lack of collaboration and requirements have not been scoped sufficiently from the start. This distracts teams from what they should be focused on — building work and bringing a project to competition.
When clients are not part of the feedback and collaboration loop, it can also hold things up, for example:
It’s important that contractors and clients engage and collaborate early to ensure projects are scoped and expectations and working practices are set from the beginning.
In order to ensure a more collaborative approach, a scope of work should be agreed early with teams talking to each other at the right stages to ensure information is gathered, delivered and being used as expected. Outsourcing projects such as Digital Handover to a specialist like Createmaster means you can manage, coordinate and collaborate on your project more effectively without being spread too thinly to deliver information requirements
As a contractor, if you outsource you can bypass distractions such as emails and follow-ups about operations and maintenance manuals (O&Ms) in the final stages of a project and leave it to an experienced team to deliver your building manual, so you have one touchpoint to work with and can collaborate more with your teams and client when you need to.
Taking this approach ensures a standardised format across all documentation between subcontractor, contractor, development and asset teams. This, in turn, creates an environment where stakeholders are engaged at the right times and documentation can be delivered on time, in a concise format which adheres to client requirements.
Facilitating a collaborative environment between outsourced and internal teams, including subcontractors and asset owner, means construction projects can be driven to completion with everyone on the same page. Collaboration within your projects can also increase safety and ensure compliance, streamline workflows to regularly update stakeholders on the next steps and ensure that deadlines are met, on time and to budget.
Additionally, by utilising a cloud-based construction software, like Zutec, Createmaster’s sister company, you can bring all your data into one place for real-time project reporting, as well as document storage and management. This gives you a clear picture of project progress, by bringing all users together in one platform, and ensures teams are in the know of what the next steps are in order to ensure the project is complete. Similarly, this can avoid duplication or missing work and so you can make informed decisions based on the data presented across the board. Post project, handover documents and information can be managed centrally in one system, enabling a golden thread of information.
Put simply, collaboration can mean teams are working together towards one project goal, and everyone can get the information they need, when they need it.
To see how Createmaster’s structured data solutions can help you, not only work more efficiently but collaborate more effectively, book a demo today, or download our Digital Handover Brochure for more information.