Smart Construction: Digital technology helping expedite project turnaround times

Digital technology helping expedite project turnaround times

The construction industry is refocusing its efforts on moving away from traditional methods and towards intelligent construction management systems, which employ geo­spatial and other emerging technologies to ex­pe­dite project turnaround.

Construction is a highly competitive industry that places a high premium on enhancing productivity and efficiency by eliminating time and cost overruns. The construction industry is inc­reasingly implementing digital techno­logies such as building information modelling (BIM), au­gmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), laser sca­nning, robotics, 3D printing, prefabrication and DfMa (Design for Manufacture and Assem­bly platforms), analytics software, block­chain, di­gi­tal twins, internet of things and ma­chi­ne learn­ing solutions throughout the asset life cycle.

Constructible, connected and content enabled

As the dynamics of construction operations in India continue to evolve and innovation at all levels of business processes becomes critical, digital transformation initiatives may go a long way in improving quality, reducing costs, increasing safety, minimising risks and increasing profitability. The real kicker for construction firms is that the country’s growing internet penetration and rapid technological advancement make this a perfect time for them to accelerate their digital transformation.

Essentially, what the digital revolution is accomplishing in construction is uniting numerous stakeholders on a single platform, beginn­ing with concept design and continuing through infrastructure ownership, operations, and ma­in­tenance. The most crucial job of digital technology is to centralise data across numerous stakeholders so that they may all engage in a unified beta environment. This is, in a nutshell, how digital technology works. Transpa­re­n­cy, speed and predictability are all possible benefits of digital technology, which links digital data with the physical infrastructure.

Digital technology eliminates a key hurdle, which is the vast amount of data stored in a di­gital format and the data’s inability to reach its intended destination, particularly on the grou­nd. However, as technology progresses, it is now possible to tackle the challenge by blending digital design with construction workers.

Cloud-based software and mobile apps can make it easier for stakeholders to collaborate, which can improve the quality control pro­cess. Construction costs can be reduced by us­ing off-site, prefabricated components and digital tools can assist in proactively monitoring on-site safety and risk management via off-site ma­nufacturing and predictive maintenance.

Real-time data can now be acquired with ea­sily available technology and used largely for future operations and maintenance (O&M), whi­ch is the objective of this endeavour that is de­si­gned to promote data-driven construction strategy. More technically, it enables construction or­ga­nisations to collect data from the jobsite fas­ter, more accurately and with a greater level of quality. Integrating this type of technology into operations is simple and entails a mo­dest initial investment, while it offers considerable benefits such as significant time savings and reduced data input mistakes, streamlined workflows, greater safety compliance and rapid reporting.

Digital transformation has the potential to fundamentally alter how businesses function in this enormous market. While the market has a st­rong design team, there is no competent te­am for building or operation. Given the fact that these areas are deserted, osculating them will be advantageous. Another critical area within facility management and operations in a technology ecosystem is the collection of digital ass­ets for operations and future development. This includes ac­quiring as-built models with scans and data in a common format for archiving, making them accessible to facility management and O&M teams, providing a quick start for future projects.

When it comes to return on investment (RoI), true RoI occurs during the construction capital expenditure and operations expenditure phases. The benefits accrue during the model’s use in the construction field and activities, as well as during operations when integr­ated with your smart facility management system. How­ever, this capability has not been de­ve­loped in India yet, although design capabilities are ex­ten­sive, as the majority of foreign players sou­ght services from the Indian market.

Autonomous, semi-autonomous and remo­te-controlled automation are three forms of au­tomation, while prescriptive, predictive and de­scriptive data analytics are the three catego­ries of data analytics.

A data-driven approach generates estimates that increase confidence and reduce waste. It is precise enough to control fieldwork, which reduces rework; it can leverage historical data to improve future performance; it is predictable and helps reduce risks associated with on-time completion; and it also enables real-time collaboration via open data.

At the moment, skilled labour in India can easily function inside the digital model of work, whether in design, asset management, or even throughout the construction process. However, the skill is servicing another market because they are underpaid in this field.

At the moment, India’s design infrastructure enables it to deliver projects at a higher up­­­front cost. As a result, the design team is ca­pable of submitting a collection of design suggestions in response to a solicitation of tenders. However, once the tender is awarded, the connection between the assumed model to be developed and its actual implementation on the side is severed, as contractors realise the model’s benefits only when their design team designs it. They have not yet experimented with how they can use the technology to perform off-site construction or assembly, owing to the belief that labour is inexpensive in traditional co­nstruction procedures. In today’s globalised society, a technical lag has significant costs. Nu­merous variables contribute to the stated cost overruns. These inclu­de a lack of comprehensive upfront planning and risk management, a lack of collaboration am­ong stakeholders, un­certainty in the land acquisition process and regulatory appro­vals, a sc­arcity of skilled labour and most im­portantly, a lack of maturity in the project management pro­cesses necessary to adequately plan for such factors.

Emerging trends

In India, apart from asset management, by us­ing digital twin technology, businesses can ke­ep tra­ck of assets, plan maintenance and ma­ke adju­st­ments based on how well they are perfor­ming. The use of digital twins to test virtual construction sequencing and logistics scenarios to dec­rease construction and operating costs on-site; gathering and monitoring real-time data to optimise a building’s operational performan­ce and sustainability are the major functions and benefits in construction. It functions as a digital representation of a physical asset and can assist in building projects by speeding up and au­tomating traditional design, production and operating processes. As such, it can act as a foundation for prefabrication and as a more substantial means of industrialising efficiency.

The application of modern digital technology (including BIM) in the design and construction of the development process has resulted in numerous benefits. The ability to generate a digital representation of a physical asset enables all development stakeholders to share knowledge and coordinate the complicated procedu­res associated with development, all through the use of a single digital resource.

A comprehensive approach to asset management is thus required, one that considers the interdependent factors that contribute to bu­siness growth, prosperity and best value, such as financial efficiency, allowances for future ch­anges in space provision and providing the best possible environment for the organisation’s core business and workforce. The use of digital modelling in asset management has the potential to significantly improve the quality of data exchan­ges between development stakeholders.


By leveraging the capabilities of digital technology and a data-driven strategy, it is possible to achieve standardisation and integration of construction-related business processes. This approach to digital construction has a tremendous opportunity for engineering, construction and operations of organisations to gain a competitive edge and truly reinvent construction through industrialisation.

The need for intelligent and sustainable technology has been growing in recent years, owing to growing awareness about the environmental impact of construction activities. By le­veraging digital technologies, construction com­panies can stay ahead of the curve in ter­ms of adopting sustainable innovations that correspond with the global trend towards smart buildings and cities. Decision-making processes can be expedited and communication gaps can be readily avoided by introducing automation techniques. This can lead to better workflow, lower cos­ts, better resource management and redu­ced turnaround time.

Based on a panel discussion among 

Dr Amarnath C.B., Head, BIM Strategy, Larsen & Toubro; Manish Shangari, Vice-President, Business Leader, Data Centre, Digital Infrastructure, AECOM; and Harsh Pareek, Regional Sales Director, India and SAARC, Trimble Solutions, at “InfraBuild India”