Digital twins will make urban planning and regeneration projects significantly easier, cheaper and faster. By running tests on a created simulation, we can ensure that a built asset is working at optimal capacity at each stage of its lifecycle. Digital twins also allow for the global standardisation of best practices; they can be applied, adapted and implemented in various environments or ecosystems.
Technology also enables us to reverse some of the flaws seemingly inherent in industrialisation. For example, 80% of today’s buildings will still be in use in 2050, but 75% are energy inefficient. The supply chain currently does not have the capacity or capability to complete the widescale retrofitting required to meet global targets. Therefore, we need to look to digital engineering technologies, in order to provide an alternative way of working. One means by which this can be achieved is to use a blockchain to improve supply chain traceability and create an information trail or “golden thread”. When used with IoT, this will bring about a level of automation that can reduce data inaccuracies. Mistakes throughout the supply chain are notoriously difficult to pinpoint – this difficulty scales up as supply chains become more complex and multinational. Blockchain can fill in gaps and complete the story, enhancing visibility across the lifecycle of a built asset.
As digitalisation finds its way into all walks of life, it will be pivotal for the construction industry to adopt modern solutions or find itself left behind. Old operating models are outdated and unproductive, with information still confined to silos, and costly delays an ever-present feature of project management. The lack of any real data integration, fragmentation in supply chains, uncollaborative attitudes and continued faith in single-solution platforms keep the sector chained to 20th century working practices. Common data environments, BIM, artificial intelligence and machine learning can help to break those chains. AI and machine learning not only improve productivity levels by undertaking simple and mundane tasks, but also increase safety levels onsite.