From works package programs to material schedules, it seems like there is no end to the data generated before and during a construction project. But getting insight and value from that data continues to prove elusive.
Since the publishing of Dame Judith Hackitt’s final report following her Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, the need for better, more transparent and transferable data on what is going into our developments, and how they are being delivered, has never been more apparent. She calls this “The Golden Thread of Data”. In its most basic form, the Golden Thread of Data is quality, up-to-date information throughout a construction project.
Hackitt is calling for major reform and a change of culture, with the onus more clearly on everyone involved to manage the risks they create at every stage. With this, the government is increasing the moral and financial obligations of all parties to ensure that processes and projects are completed to a high standard first time around. But transforming an industry like construction will not happen overnight, and various tools and innovations will be required to support this journey.
What makes delivering the Golden Thread of Data (GTD) so difficult for construction?
BIM today cites our reliance on manual processes, and our lack of visibility as the major blockers to delivering the GTD. But it’s not enough just to digitise your processes, now we must also ensure that these digital data threads not only talk to each other but also enrich and inform the process, creating that ‘Golden Thread of Data’. Let’s explore some of the likely systems that will help the industry deliver a safer, more transparent future.
No. 1: BIM
It is, of course, critical to start with a safe and effective design. As the application of BIM across the industry continues to develop, it has become increasingly important for the various datasets, generated during design and construction, to integrate and communicate with each other. BIM cannot be treated simply as a static design tool, it must be a dynamic system that is constantly updating based on feedback throughout the construction process. We believe that BIM will be a critical role in capturing and delivering the Golden Thread of data. Some popular BIM tools include:
No. 2: Spatial Verification
To inform our BIM model throughout the construction process, we must be capturing data on where things are installed. To augment and enhance the traditional daily walk around of a site engineer to inspect progress and completed works, there are multiple digital tools to help capture this information and even flag possible errors and issues, noting these against the BIM model and ensuring quality is upheld. Some examples of these tools include:
No. 3: Asset tracking
It’s not simply good enough to know that something has been built in the right place, we must also be sure it is built with the right materials. Projects need to verify that they meet specification; whether that is fire safety limits, volatile organic compounds, or responsible sourcing, so that we can ensure that our buildings are being built safely and responsibly as we move forward and to a more sustainable future. Traditional approaches for verifying materials delivered are typically incredibly time-consuming and error prone, involving manual checks of documentation of goods received notes and verification against invoices. New digital systems to automate parts of this process and provide fully digital accounts of what is delivered, including the capture of the product certifications, can help to not only save time and money during construction, but also feed into the Golden Thread of Data. Some examples of these tools are:
We hope you found this post both interesting and valuable. We will continue to delve into how connected data and digital innovations like Qflow can support the industry in building a safer, more sustainable future. If you’d like to join us for upcoming events on this subject, and receive future posts then simply sign up below.