While several industries have evolved their practices and implemented new technologies to increase productivity and efficiency, the construction industry has been known for continuing to lag behind. Data compiled from U.S. federal agencies shows the construction industry productivity has a long history of decline that started more than four decades ago and continues globally today.
In response to this decline, a committee was formed to investigate and help improve efficiency across the construction industry. The National Research Council (NRC) brought together industry experts to establish five key activities to help improve efficiency in the industry. These include:
1) Widespread deployments and use of interoperable technology applications, also called Building Information Modeling (BIM)
Interoperability refers to the ability for everyone in every stage of the construction process to exchange or make use of information effectively using technology. This really means everyone, from owner, designer, engineer, maintenance and everyone else who touches the project from start to finish should have access to technology that improves the communication process.
Communication and effective decision making are vital to construction efficiency and utilising technology, such as Building Information Modeling, is certainly an optimal solution for the construction industry.
2) Improved job-site efficiency through more effective interfacing of people, processes, materials, equipment, and information
A commercial construction site is a very busy environment where several pieces have to come together at specific times. Effective interfacing is the key to making sure the construction process is moving as efficiently as possible. Interfacing is harder than it sounds, although through the use of technology it can be greatly improved. RF ID tracking, automated equipment, and PDA’s with real time data are all examples of technology that can help improve efficiency in this area.
3) Greater use of prefabrication, preassembly, modularisation, and off-site fabrication techniques and processes
We have already established how busy and complex a construction work site can be. By utilising prefrabrication, preassembly, and modularisation techniques, construction can be streamlined and project delivery times can be significantly reduced. Under these systems, components can be built to a higher quality in controlled environments, and installed in a fraction of the time as they are already assembled.
4) Innovative, widespread use of demonstration installations
Demonstration installations are research and development tools that can take a variety of forms, including field testing on a job site through to sophisticated equipment and standardised testing and reporting protocols in a variety of building environments.
Demonstration installations can be used to test and verify the effectiveness of new processes, technologies, and materials and their readiness to be deployed throughout the construction industry. They can also help to mitigate innovation– related risks to owners, contractors, and subcontractors.
5) Effective performance measurements to drive efficiency and support innovation
Performance measurements can facilitate both innovation and necessary corrective actions throughout the life cycle of a project.They can help us to understand how processes or practices lead to success or failure, and how to make necessary improvements.
Given the ongoing productivity and efficiency challenges the construction industry has faced, using more performance indicators creates an opportunity for widespread industry improvements.
As the National Research Council has shown us, the construction industry has the opportunity to move forward and advance its productivity and efficiency in a variety of ways.
BC Comfort is committed to helping owners to save time and money, and improve construction efficiency. To learn more about how to optimise your next construction project, contact our Design team today.