A collection of insights on reshaping the construction industry.Explore the issue
Today’s low-performing construction and capital-projects ecosystem is ripe for overhaul. Many industries are making huge advances by applying advanced analytics to help improve productivity, reduce risk, and monitor performance. This roundtable focused on how the industry can better collaborate and use advanced analytics to mitigate repetitive problems experienced in megaprojects. It also asked what steps all leading engineering and construction companies should be taking now.
Some of the key takeaways included the following:
- Follow the lead of existing use cases where advanced analytics in construction have demonstrated clear value. During the construction of Crossrail—Europe’s largest construction project—the analysis of data from multiple sensors was used by the project team to reduce the instrumentation and monitoring costs of the project, and to track the earth settlement across the tunneling project. Additionally, the M25—a major highway in the United Kingdom—used predictive analysis to identify how to reduce operational maintenance costs.
- Use analytics to better consider the full life cycle of a project. The use of advanced analytics can improve the performance assessment of a project through its life cycle. With the increased ability to embed sensors into buildings and structures, we can better understand the trade-offs made during the construction process to reduce up-front capex. Given that operational costs over the life of a project typically greatly exceed the upfront construction costs, this strategy is a real opportunity to improve how projects are conceived.
- Acknowledge that advanced analytics will drive an increase in transparency that could lead to transformational change. The experience of other industries has demonstrated how strategically gathering and analyzing data has transformed how that industry operates. For example, ride-sharing companies have transformed the private car–hire business due to their ability to analyze vast quantities of data in a customer-friendly manner. Participants agreed that the construction industry needs to lead this movement to prevent being upstaged by new entrants.
- Commit to an enterprise-wide shift to develop an advanced analytics capability. Implementing an advanced analytics capability in an organization requires buy in from the CEO and senior management. The exercise must be led by the business and focus on solving business challenges, rather than trying to leverage technology for technology’s sake. While this course of action will require a meaningful change in both capabilities and business processes, organizations can launch the change in achievable steps and see significant opportunities quickly.