The construction industry of the future
Technologies and innovations are changing the way we live together and work together. The cultural shift towards a new digital era has also been felt in the construction industry for some time. Over the past years PORR has expedited initiatives, optimised processes and invested considerable sums in expanding its IT infrastructure.
PORR's goal is to optimise the value chain by adopting a customised approach to innovative technologies: from project acquisition to design, calculation and construction, right through to the start-up and maintenance of a property. Here all of PORR's measures have been implemented in such a way that they bring marked benefits for customers and end users. In addition, PORR is involved in multiple committees in order to develop mandatory standards for the industry. We are determined to be proactive and make the most of every opportunity in this changing competitive environment, while cementing our role as trailblazers in driving the European construction industry forward.
LEAN Management and Building Information Modeling (BIM) – powered by PORR
One of PORR's greatest strengths lies in its pioneering spirit. As a powerhouse of the construction industry, we work with state-of-the-art methods and constantly apply new developments. LEAN Design, LEAN Construction and BIM have made us more creative, faster and more productive throughout the entire value chain. We are not working on the future, we are already working with the future.
Two goals in particular were defined upon the introduction of LEAN Management methods: one is to enhance efficiency in all processes – whether they relate to construction projects or the administration. The other is to improve communication and cooperation between everyone involved in the project – whether internal and external. LEAN reflects the meaning of the word itself and involves avoiding anything that is unnecessary while streamlining the project process. It calls for an understanding of exactly how processes work; what and when every individual contributes to the project as a whole; and what preparation is necessary. The transparency that results from this facilitates the rapid identification of superfluous steps, allowing us to optimise them and subsequently avoid them. At the heart of LEAN are the customers, the project and its successful realisation.
Building Information Modeling (BIM) facilitates the creation of integrated data models that cover every expert plan, construction phase and section. From design and calculation to construction and interior fittings, right through to operating the property across its entire lifecycle.
There is still a long way to go before BIM becomes established as an industry standard. In the course of our projects, we are continuously testing and optimising this method with a focus on practical applications and close cooperation between BIM development, IT, design, construction and operations. Together with partners from technology and R&D, we have taken on an active role and are playing a part in shaping new standards thanks to our extensive practical experience.
Digital transformation in the construction industry
Expert commentary by Clemens Neubauer
The digitisation of existing processes and value chains is one of the greatest challenges faced by companies today if they want to stay competitive in the future. And the impact of the cultural shift to the new digital era is also being keenly felt in the construction industry. Key drivers here include Building Information Modelling (BIM) and LEAN Management.
Lean Management plays a decisive part in optimising value added for clients and developers – and also secures the best possible use of resources. It streamlines processes in every design/build phase and allows projects to be executed more efficiently. Not least because everyone involved has the chance to communicate directly with each other.
This is also a particular benefit of BIM. Thanks to this method, users receive an integrated data model that shows every expert plan, construction phase and section. From design and calculation to construction and interior fittings right through to operating the property across its entire lifecycle.
For the transformation of traditional construction processes to succeed and for companies to genuinely benefit from digitization, we will need the courage to embrace change, a fundamental rethink in the building industry, and uniform standards for the sector. But what precisely is hindering the establishment of an optimal backdrop in the construction industry?
- Data security: a stronger focus on cloud solutions
Data is essential for any company's future success and is rightly considered the gold of the 21st century. At the same time, we are confronted by the issue of data security in almost every aspect of our lives – whether it's as a private person, somebody in the public eye, or in the world of work. Occasionally, the collection and evaluation of project-related data in the cloud appears less than iron-clad. Nonetheless, in order to remain competitive, companies and decisionmakers will have to fundamentally rethink their approach to digital information and increase their reliance on cloud solutions. One major factor here is access to digital BIM models from any location and on any available device. Future-proof construction companies draw on highly interconnected processes when realising projects in order to overcome geographic and interdisciplinary boundaries and successful implement complex projects.
- Dare to err: facilitating a culture where it's ok to make mistakes
The transparent process planning and execution using BIM and LEAN Management provide unparalleled depth of detail for projects as well as high-quality interdisciplinary implementation. Challenges and inefficiencies can be identified and mitigated in the early stages of the project. The precondition here is a well-established no-blame culture. After all, it is only when we see errors as opportunities that facilitate collective learning that we can focus on the actual target, namely the project itself.
- Establishing new job descriptions and role models
The processing and centralisation of standardised data provides construction companies with enormous potential for optimisation across every project phase. At the same time, the application of new technologies and methods – such as BIM and LEAN Management for example – are leading to a change in the job profiles of those involved in projects. In order to use large data sets effectively, logical links need to be made and existing role models, knowledge and skills have to be expanded. The direction in which we are headed is shown by new vocations such as BIM coordinators, BIM or LEAN managers. The experts secure an overview of the datasets, ensure optimal communication between the project executives and elevate personal interaction to a new level.
- Support: automation and artificial intelligence
BIM and LEAN are also essential in the fields of automation and business intelligence: optimised processes and consolidated data throughout the value chain of a building or structure inevitably lead to the use of datasets for controlling networked machinery, equipment and robots. Consequently, multiple construction processes will be automated in future. The actual data generated here can be re-entered into the model and standardised – making it even easier to establish links and support developments autonomously.
I am positive about the future as I believe that streamlined, digital project processes will allow for an even greater corporate focus on value added and customer service, while also clearly underlining the company's role as a trailblazer. Companies who want to remain competitive in tomorrow's construction industry will have to implement the right measures already today in order to really profit from the cultural shift to the new digital era.