CONSTRUCTION companies may not be as quick as others to go digital, but they’re sure making an effort. The lack of talent, unfavorable market conditions, cost of technology solutions, limited resources, and the general preference towards traditional work processes have hindered the industry so far, but things are changing quickly.
According to a recent report by McKinsey, transformation within the industry is generally difficult. It advised companies keen on going digital to focus on fostering a collaborative work environment and piloting projects that support collaboration for transformation to be effective – and that’s exactly what construction companies in Singapore are doing.
A progressive growth trend can be seen among Singapore’s construction companies as a result of steady transformation efforts and rapid adoption of digital solutions like artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), 3D technology, and digital platforms.
These companies have since revealed that they have managed to cut costs, increase safety, improve productivity, create better jobs, and increase operational efficiency.
For example, Pan-United Corporation Ltd CEO May Ng elaborated that the firm has expanded efforts to develop its very own AI-based digital platform in 2014 and is now 45 percent more cost-efficient and productive.
The solution is responsible for taking customers’ orders, overseeing trucking fleet management, automating back-end processes, and managing other processes in the supply chain of the logistics and concrete company.
According to Ng, “[The solution] allows us to eliminate the manual work and to upskill our employees, enhancing their career development.” Additionally, the technology allows Pan-United to promote transparency and timeliness of information, resulting in more cohesive teamwork among employees and its service providers.
One particular strategy that has been fundamental in the transformation process is the integration of all construction processes using multiple technology solutions – more commonly known as the Integrated Digital Delivery (IDD).
IDD typically promotes the use of smart solutions, advanced information communication systems, and Building Information Modelling (BIM) — a three-dimensional (3D) technology. BHCC Construction, for one, is a committed user of BIM and as a result, the company has managed to reduce the time spent in construction stages by 25 percent.
BIM’s ability to provide real-time updates including the tracking status of precast components to project partners have allowed the company to save resources as well.
Now, with a VR-based collaboration system, the company is planning to further reduce the time spent in the design stage by 30 percent. Additionally, the company targets a 25-percent reduction in time by digitizing and streamlining the management of its site safety records.
Digitization efforts within the industry are pretty much aligned with the Construction Industry Transformation Map.
Launched by the country’s Building and Construction Authority (BCA) in 2017, the map is now proven to be an effective driving force in encouraging industry players to adopt digital solutions and transform operations.
Moving forward, the BCA aims to have 40 to 60 IDD capabilities in 150 to 180 firms by the end of the year. Hopefully, the target can be achieved and the rapid progress made by these industry key players would motivate other companies within the regional proximities to digitize effectively.