Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Head in “The Cloud”

At the risk of developing a bit of a theme in these blog posts, 2011 is starting with some thoughts that continue from previous entries focussed on advancing technologies influence on the delivery of construction projects.

There is still a degree of pessimism surrounding the short-term future of construction in Scotland, so it is the elusive “silver lining” that is being sought in these thoughts for developing methodologies.

As stated previously, the emergence and uptake of BIM (Building Information Modelling) is an inevitable result of the need to improve processes and refine practices.  This is the technology with major potential to revolutionise the way that construction projects are managed and delivered.  The BIM methodology is focussed on the system of IPD (Integrated Project Delivery). 
This fits nicely with the ideals of McCafferty Consultancy Ltd.  Visitors to our website may notice the tag line that states simply “information…consultation…e-services”.  This is expanded in the statement found on the welcome page:

“…excellence can be achieved through innovation and progressive thinking - and while it is often said that knowledge is power, I believe that shared knowledge can be even greater.”

IPD is not a new idea, but the way in which technology and communications capability has developed in recent years has made the reality of true integration more accessible and achievable.

Greater collaboration and sharing of information is possible today, with the opportunity for stakeholders and various parties concerned with different stages of a construction project to join forces and develop and discuss seamlessly and comprehensively.

Projects that are BIM-based can readily benefit from this type of collaboration, allowing the entire building team to work together on a “master plan” in real time.

“Cloud computing” is one of the topics that is currently en-vogue, which is encouraging from a BIM focussed perspective.  The concept of processing data and ideas in a dynamic, non-location specific manner fits in nicely with the potential that can be achieved through BIM and IPD.

By developing a system where a master plan is centralised, a hybrid-cloud model could be established that allows architects, contractors, clients, engineers, fabricators, specialists, etc. to develop their own “areas” according to their specific needs.  At the same time, they have the ability to fully collaborate in real time by coordinating with the central plan.

This model would allow for greater competition between a larger number of specialists, without risking the integrity of the overall project; therefore improving the possibilities for improved financial performance.  Complex ideas could be developed in parallel with each other rapidly and inexpensively, allowing parties to react to, amend or approve issues efficiently and effectively.