Staying agile

November 1, 2017

George Mokhtar, head of BIM at Turner & Townsend, reflects on the potential of Building Information Modeling and how shared data and practices can build efficiencies in construction across the world

As a global consultancy, Turner & Townsend sees lots of change in design, construction and operations, from both a client and a supply chain point of view.

Our team at Turner & Towsend in the North East supports the transition of major global projects – from traditional to digital – in property, infrastructure and natural resources sectors.

Working across the UK, US, Latin America, Middle East, Asia and Australia, we are challenged with differences in culture, approach, language and values. These can often impact efficiency and agility.

In terms of a ‘modern approach to data’, the construction industry lags behind other sectors. But BIM (Building Information Modeling) and open standards are starting to change this.

We are also starting to see global alignment through think tanks, shared experiences and focused trade missions from the UK. This allows the construction industry to plan, adapt and contribute efficiently, as well as analyse project performance based on available intelligence.

Agility is about being dynamic, responsive and quick to recognise threats and opportunities. It’s easier if, as an industry, construction use the same digital language, work in the same way and manage our intelligence. Because we can analyse the same data, we can see early indications of risk and opportunity, and manage them effectively.

The North East is becoming a real centre for exportable skills and knowledge in BIM. We have some of the best organisations and approaches located in the region, which can adapt, innovate and respond to global needs.

BIM is becoming fundamental to construction and is laying the foundations for a better future by asking us to think digitally. In time, this will help the construction sector catch up to other more mature industries, such as finance and high-tech, which are closer to fully integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning into their business processes. This is where the construction industry needs to be.

A universal approach to data means better alignment at a global level. Information becomes understandable and subsequently valuable. At Turner & Townsend, we are helping clients understand the true value of their data.

I recently judged the Build Earth Live Hyperloop competition in Dubai. Teams were able to collaborate over two days to produce amazing concepts and designs – working together from all corners of the globe, made possible through better information.

In essence, this dynamic way of working enables better, faster decisions which are also better informed. Its successful implementation creates a bedrock of structure and process that underpins a dynamic and highly-responsive business environment.

We, in the UK, can lead on this and the North East has a major part to play.

Turner & Townsend

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Supporting role: Ellie Curry and Jeff Roberts