Poor understanding often results in ineffective outcomes. In the construction business, this can have disastrous consequences. The solution? Clear and unambiguous communication.
There is no way to start your construction project successfully without understanding what needs to be built. But understanding is about more than just getting to know drawing and design intentions. It also involves the ability to assess a project in its totality, which often means transforming data into insights that facilitate the construction process.
It can be challenging to completely understand all the detailed requirements of a construction project, as often there are many different moving parts. It gets even more complicated if information and data come from different sources – sometimes arriving late in the game and not being completely accurate. It’s also challenging when the project is managed in various phases through multiple companies and contractors, as it means you need to understand many different data streams, systems, and ways of working.
Understanding is also very personal. For example, if you give the same drawing to a rebar detailer and a site manager, they may each read, understand and interpret the drawing in a very different way.
For all these reasons, achieving a common understanding of your project is the first step towards guaranteeing that you execute efficiently, on time and on budget.
In construction, everyone benefits from a common understanding
Whatever your role is in a construction project, you need to understand the bigger picture as to what will be built and what your responsibilities are. A better understanding of the project has positive effects at every stage of the process. You can boost productivity by collecting and visualizing accurate and detailed information, interpreting and analyzing the data, making more educated decisions, and evaluating possible alternatives for executing your tasks and adapting to changes.
If you are a project owner, you need to have a clear vision and understanding of the whole construction process – from concept to execution. To ensure that everything goes according to plan you need to oversee many moving parts, including the people working on the project and the procedures for managing it.
If you are an architect, you need to ensure shared understanding so that your vision comes to life in the right way. The people executing your plan need to understand you correctly so that all details – both big and small – are taken care of correctly.
If you are an engineer, you need to clearly understand what the architects have in mind, while ensuring that the construction work is safe and efficient. You also need to ensure compliance with local codes and safety requirements.
As a contractor, you manage all the labor, equipment, material, schedules, and other requirements. This means you need to understand how the work will be executed on-site, and how any changes will impact your budget, deadlines, and more.
Image: Randselva Bridge by Sweco, PNC, Armando Rito, Isachsen
How a constructible model helps you increase understanding
We believe a constructible model is key in generating unambiguous design communication for a common understanding. This is because a truly constructible model contains all the information required for the construction project. It transforms information into insight, delivering business value in the construction workflow – from design to delivery. A constructible model also serves as a base for all project documentation and design communication assets. These are delivered automatically from the constructible data in the model.
The main difference between constructible models and regular 3D models lies in the quality of the data. It’s proven that ambiguous and faulty data causes issues for team members and other project stakeholders. For example, incomplete or uncoordinated drawings generate confusion and limit the understanding of the design intent and the constructibility of the project. If there is doubt among the people who need to execute the work, it may drive additional requests for information. This slows down progress and generates higher costs. A lack of understanding can also lead to conflict and coordination issues, again increasing costs and raising the risk of project delays.
A constructible model provides you with all the information you need to do your job, whether you are a project owner, a detailer, a site manager, or have another role in the team. The model includes measurements, placement information, quantities, and much more. It’s a level of detail that increases understanding and eliminates ambiguity.
When you can increase understanding and decrease ambiguity, there will be fewer requests for additional information from the engineers and detailers. This means less waiting time, fewer costly surprises, and a reduction in bottlenecks. When there is less doubt about the plan, then detailers, fabricators and contractors can also move ahead without questioning their data, as they have a constructible model that serves as a single source of truth.
An obvious benefit of using a constructible model is that you have a clear visual representation of your building – a digital twin of the project. When every stakeholder can see what will be built, communication and coordination improve. Any language barriers can be overcome and misunderstandings decrease. Seeing is believing, which means that when you are able to visualize your plans and share the information with your customers, then trust increases among team members, partners, and any stakeholders.
A truly constructible model invites discussion and collaboration at any stage of the construction process. It enables wider and earlier reviews of the plans, which translates into better coordination of subcontractors. This helps a lot with detecting and avoiding clashes before construction begins. It also reduces the need for rework and means that last-minute changes and unforeseen issues can be avoided.
Image: Randselva Bridge by Sweco, PNC, Armando Rito, Isachsen
Constructible models can easily be amended to adapt to new information on site conditions, for example, with the changes simultaneously and automatically updating across all documentation and deliverables. Schedules can also be planned more accurately and communicated more precisely. The improved coordination increases the likelihood of a project being completed on time or even ahead of schedule.
Finally, truly constructible models can help to improve construction safety by pinpointing hazards before they become problems. By visualizing and planning site logistics ahead of time, physical risks can be avoided.