Open data brings with it the promise of accessible, shared information, greater coordination across trades, and more project efficiencies. Open data machine-readable information has generated a great deal of excitement within the digital construction industry globally for its potential to visualise rich data models, change how the design team collaborates and more importantly the ability to deliver public government-funded projects. If BIM projects are guided and driven correctly, this information can reduce significant costs in the industry. The sharing will help the end client see their project through and supports digital construction leads, who define new products and services, and assist design/construction project teams in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the project lifecycle.
Image: UK Industrial Strategy: Construction 2025 Targets, Courtest of Gov.UK
Open data has strong potential to bring added value to projects by applying advanced analytics for use by the project teams and end clients. Fluid data and knowledge-share can become an instrument for breaking down information gaps across disciplines, allowing teams to collaborate better, and encouraging best practices that raise overall productivity. A uniformed approach by the project teams to share data, can drive innovation and help replace traditional decision-making methods with data-driven ones. Fluid data analytics can also help uncover end clients’ preferences and support project teams to ensure they comply with the requirements of the project. This in turn allows digital construction leads to improve new products, discover irregularities and flag unnecessary variations. That can result in leaner and more reliable processes for all parties involved.
Open knowledge-share and fluid data can bring many benefits to drive growth and innovation across the construction industry and partnerships with related industries. Such benefits of interest include cost saving from better efficiency driven by the digital construction leaders. Creating transparency enables experimentation and support project teams to make informed decisions. Increased productivity, allows competition to thrive while at the same time, data analytics can help to foresee risks and issues. Government BIM mandates, which should go beyond just publicly-funded buildings, help maintain standards and reduce misuse of information. They have the potential to bring added economic and social benefits. Applying critical processes at the right stages of the project and analysing them, can aid in the auditing process, and identify valuable improvements, efficiencies and insights hidden within the internal workflows and behaviours of the project.
This approach will help end clients and project teams perceive the advantages of increasing the accuracy of knowledge and data available. Although, this cycle can only gather energy if the whole team across industries – end clients, digital construction leads, designers, contractors, sub-contractors, and the government- fosters a vibrant and engaging approach to open knowledge and fluid data share. If policies are applied, and barriers are addressed, such as privacy and legal frameworks, it can make the construction industry more vigilant, savvy and accepted as a provider of knowledge-share and fluid data. That in turn will help to create a place for technology and talent to collect and analyse data to aid the project lifecycle.
As much as digital leads strive to bring about a more open knowledge-share and a fluid data environment, end clients and project teams want to reserve their rights to protect the data analytics produced by their projects. Not everyone is thrilled with the trend. The idea of opening data to others outside a company is not at all acceptable to some firms, that view such openness as a security risk. After all, they have the right to reserve sharing applied processes to keep their competitive edge. This mindset means digital construction leaders are still in the position of having more educating and convincing to do within the digital construction industry.