By setting the right skills foundations, future transition to BIM – or other cutting edge technologies – is made easier.
In a previous post, BIM and the need for industry change, we talked about the construction sector’s slow pace of digital transformation and drivers of wider industrial reform to create the right conditions for technology adoption.
At last month’s Constructing Excellence North East Construction Summit, “Driving the Need for Change” (where, as a sponsor, we exhibited Cabinet), Ben Lever gave a sneak preview of a new report on digital skills from the Construction Industry Training Board.
This report (available here) was published on 15 October to coincide with the 2018 Digital Construction Week show in London. It confirms that digital technology has the potential to transform construction – but only if the sector is equipped with the right skills and knowledge.
Unlocking the digital future
- Digital construction is a catch-all term meaning different things to different people. This lack of consensus is part of the problem. We need to be clear on what digital construction means, how best to use it and what skills employees have – and will need.
- Much of technology being used is not at the cutting edge of what is available. Innovative technology – if used at all – is generally limited to small pilots or trials.
- Data and its effective collection, communication and management are central to digital transformation.
- Technology-specific skills aren’t the problem. Broader skills and competencies at various levels need to be addressed.
Skills foundations – not just about BIM
Some of the report’s findings particularly resonate with us at Opentree. Cabinet, for example, is not exactly “at the cutting edge” (document management systems have been around for years). However, for businesses that were previously reliant upon shared drives and email to manage documents and drawings, adopting Cabinet is transformative:
- Time spent looking for documents is reduced.
- Teams develop and maintain more standardised approaches to folder structures and document naming and numbering.
- Information in headers, footers and title blocks is automatically created and then kept up-to-date.
- And audit trails showing complete document and workflow histories are maintained for increased compliance.
The CITB also highlights that ‘going digital’ is not just about adopting BIM. Sometimes we must adapt and integrate existing processes. For example, Opentree customers such as TSP Engineering, Sellafield and NM Group have found that creating more efficient workflow practices, and joining up design authoring tools and workflows, can dramatically improve efficiency and productivity, with corresponding impacts on worker skills and satisfaction. And by setting the right skills foundations, future transition to BIM – or other cutting edge technologies – is also made easier.