Make your data work in the E&C industry – part I

Photo showing rotary bored piling rig machine at a construction site in Malacca, Malaysia

Rotary bored piling rig machine at a construction site in Malacca, Malaysia

Taking the same risks again and again? Start analysing your data and the potential to learn from past mistakes saving time, materials and money are vast. For example, if you compare and analyse the data collected during the execution of piles for retaining walls of a new metro station, foundations for a new skyscraper or a bridge, you may learn why your team was underperforming –  in terms of time or cost value reconciliation – and enable you to perform better in the future.

Enormous amounts of data in the Engineering and Construction Industry is never used, partly because they are stored in isolated silos.  Be it stored on paper, pdf, mail or in various specialist IT systems, that without the interconnection – will work ineffectively.

The E&C Industry is among the least digitized sectors in the world. In Europe, construction is in the last position according to McKinsey’s digitization index; whilst in the United States, it comes second to last.

McKinsey continues that on-site productivity can be increased by as much as 50 percent.  They advocate implementing a cloud-based control tower that rapidly assembles accurate data in near real time, that is both backward looking and predictive.

Terabytes of data

Table: The Construction Industry produces enormous amount of data. Showing how a pile is made; giving examples of data
Let us look at the example above: To establish the perimeter around one metro station, you will need about 300 concrete piles to make the retaining walls. From the execution of each pile you generate a lot of data, as exemplified in the above infographics.

In Copenhagen’s City Ring Metro project, a total of 21 underground stations are being built, enabling the contractors to compare their performance between different sites. Once you have collected all data from e.g. two stations, you can then analyse that data and make educated decisions and forecast better for the remaining part of the project.

You can identify bottlenecks and drill down to why it took more time to execute certain works, why you wasted more concrete and were delayed on one particular site (Site 1) in comparison to another (Site 2). If you include multiple construction sites, you can learn even more.

Material wastage is not “only” a matter of money. Nowadays modern buildings have become so energy-efficient in countries like Denmark that the global warming impact of construction now exceeds the operational impact, according to the Danish Building Research Institute.

Avoid delays and overconsumption of material by analysing your data. Table comparing two piling sites

Vast possibilities if you activate your data

Without that knowledge, you might continue to perform like on site 1, losing time and concrete and – eventually – money. As Operations Manager Pavel Antonov of Optimise International explains that too many companies in the industry don’t learn from their mistakes, perhaps they don’t know where this lesson should come from:

“During my experience in the construction industry I have realized that many of the general contractors do not use the full potential of the data collected during the execution of the works.

The data is collected to comply with the contract and employer demands. However, the fact that analysis of this data can improve the productivity and profit margins is overlooked. Not only on the project at hand, but also on future projects,” he says.

This is how you can start making your data work for you

Further reading


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