Published: 22 Mar 2018

The CQI’s Construction Special Interest Group (ConSIG) held an event on “Using Digital Technology to Generate Value in Construction,” on 7 March at the CQI office in London, UK. 

Mike Buss, Head of Quality at Taylor Woodrow, gave those attending the event an insight into his experiences and lessons learnt while implementing field technology in his company. Buss said that field technology is increasing productivity, improving quality and reducing risks for his organisation. He said field technology, such as tablets, also provides real-time and automated data directly from the workforce, offering much clearer visibility of performance.  However, cost and security are issues that management must consider.

Buss added that field technology should be introduced through a PDCA (plan-do-check-act) approach based on a specific problem or when an improvement opportunity is identified. Planning should involve creating an implementation strategy that includes system design, resource allocation and adequate training. Corresponding risks can then be identified and mitigated, and a more accurate value assessment completed. The technology can then be implemented, success evaluated, and any identified improvements made.

Ian Mills, Head of Quality at Balfour Beatty, talked about the challenges he encountered while implementing field technology and said that tablet technology will be a “step change in the construction sector”. His implementation initiative was a success, and resulted in increased productivity, better delivery, less variable projects and improved data management.

Rob Youster, Head of ICT BAM Nuttall Limited, closed the event with a thought-provoking overview of how “data intelligence is the future”.   

Youster discussed the big 3 (big data, data science, and data analytics).  He explained that big data refers to the large data sets available, whereas data analytics refers to the techniques which can be used to “identify and analyse behavioural data and patterns”. Smart data will move us from using data to understand what happened (descriptive) to why it happened (diagnostic), then onwards to what will happen (predictive), and ultimately informing what should be done (prescriptive).