Efficient Construction Project Delivery – BIM3, Ontology, and Process
Actionable, transparent information, collaboration, and supporting technology are requirements in reaching the goal of more efficient construction project delivery and life-cycle management of the built environment. While “big data” may be viewed as a buzzword, it is also a necessity as all built environment stakeholders are tasked with “doing more with less”.
The cornerstone of big data is a robust ontology. Ontology is a robust set of terms and definitions and their defined linkages/associations for a specified purpose. Ontology is a requirement for any robust business process. Any improvement to the current excessive levels of waste within the construction sector is impossible without all stakeholders working with common, transparent information. One excellent example of an application of common information is RSMeans Cost Data. Leveraging RSMeans Cost Data as the basis for Owner, Contractor, AE, and Oversight Group activities provide immediate benefits. Planners, Procurement, Cost Estimators, Program Managers, Engineers, Architects, Facility Managers; virtually all local and global professionals and entities; would be able to track contract, project, and estimate information and get more project done on-time and on-budget to the benefit of the Government, Contractors, Subs, and AEs.
Multiple cross knowledge domain competencies and associated robust business process are equally important (See Figure 1). Of all of these the enterprise application of collaborative construction delivery methods; such as Integrated Project Delivery, IPD and Job Order Contracting, JOC; are important prerequisites on the path toward greater efficiency. Collaborative and/or “lean” construction delivery methods are not new. They are proven business process that have had decades of field application. Education and awareness, however, is limited in this area. Very few if any Owners have applied these and/or similar “best practices” on an enterprise level, while some have deployed on a local level/site level.
Technology is also a core element in that is place an enabling role by lowering implementation costs while also supporting consistent deployment, information sharing, ongoing monitoring, and continuous improvement.
Thus the question remains, why has significant improvement in construction efficiency yet to occur on a widespread basis?
The answers are both simple and complex.
- Owners have not taken a leadership role. They pay the bills and are ultimately responsible for the “end product”, the built environment.
- Education needs to be changed and improved from higher education throughout all related professional areas. Focus is required upon fundamental life-cycle management and total cost of ownership business processes.
- The concept of global oversight with local action must be observed and practiced, along with a cultural shift from ad-hoc, linear, and antagonistic business process such as design-bid-build, to collaborative methods that involve stakeholders earlier in the decision making process.
The culture change is major. Owners. Contractors. And AEs must work together toward common goals, with shared risk/reward, and with the same information. How many participants are currently capable of doing this?
Time for a change?
 Stakeholders: Architects, Engineers, Contractors, Operators, Building Product Manufacturers, Building/Structure Users, Oversight Groups, Community at Large, Software OEMs.