UAE Construction Industry on Way to Create Central Data Repository
Construction companies and developers in the UAE have been called upon to centralise their resources requirements and create a repository of shared project data to reduce cost and time overrun and increase profitability.
Engineers from more than 60 different construction and realty companies and developers suggested that the industry should collaborate to formalise such a repository by integrating data from all projects utilising Artificial Intelligence and blockchain technology.
A forum of construction engineers under the auspices of Association of Global NICMARians (AGNI) deliberated challenges and opportunities, technological advancements and innovations in the construction industry, under the theme ‘Dream Under Construction’ in Dubai.
According to experts who spoke at the event, AI can be used to share communication and intelligence among different players as well as introduce automation wherever required.
“The construction industry generates about 50 GB of data with every project the industry delivers. The data from designing, planning, scheduling, augmented reality, virtual reality and connected workforce are not shared across the platforms. It’s a wastage of resources. We can utilise the shared data to make our future projects safer, cost-efficient and faster, which will increase profitability,” said BK Singh, Executive Director, VX Studio, an Ayana Holdings subsidiary.
Delivering the keynote address, Andrew Freese, Vice President, Dubai International Financial Centre, said the construction industry is passing through a crucial phase marked by cost and time overrun, high cost and technology disruption.
“Joining forces and a collaborated business strategy should be the ideal solution for the industry to realise the synergy and grow together in a competitive market,” he said.
Among the key requirement, it was argued, is the sharing of data from different sources. The biggest problem in the industry is low productivity and lack of collaboration. The companies are not connected and do not pass enough information.
The forum resolved that developers, contractors, sub-contractors and the PMCs be connected into the platform with a repository that will help speed up delivery, reduce cost and time overrun, leading to increased efficiency and profitability.
“Almost 60 percent of the tasks of the construction industry is technology-driven using AI, generating huge amounts of information and data. Once the project is completed, this data remains idle. By sharing and integrating this data with other projects, even that of competing companies, the industry will be able to save on additional investment in new technology, thus reducing cost and increasing profitability,” said BK Singh.
Ashish Jain, Director, Turner & Townsend, India, said AI needs an enormous amount of data and we generate huge amount of data with every project. However, the data is scattered, whether it is on the desktops or other systems, but not on the cloud. We have to bring that data into a central environment so that we can start putting machine learning, creating certain algorithms and see the output.
Yayati Kene, Co-Founder and CEO, Amala Realty, India, said: “Different technology is adopted, whether for construction material, green building, new machinery, etc. and all these should be brought into a single platform.”
Participating in a panel discussion on ‘How construction planning and execution will evolve with BIM-based solutions’, Amar Tahilani, Regional Director, Atkins, said: “BIM (Building Information Modelling) technology is going to take over the construction industry within the next decade. There will be centralised solution and industry will be contributing to big data. We are already talking about mandatory BIM.”
Addressing a panel on new technologies, Suhas Jadal, Senior Product Manager, Hexagon UAE, a Nasdaq-listed Swedish company, spoke about how construction planning and execution will evolve with BIM-based solutions to reduce cost and time to build projects.
“Now all solutions are getting secured and there are technologies on hand-held devices for increasing productivity. Cloud solutions help reduce the footprint because it is accessible on a monthly or yearly basis. Then there are the right tools, such as 3D for designing, 4D for simulation, 5D for cost management, 6D for facilities management, and 7D for innovation. In short, BIM can be used throughout the lifecycle of a project and not just for design or execution.”
Hamid Kerayechian, CEO and Founding Partner of Ayana Holding, speaking at the event said, the industry needs to keep pace with the growing technology trends and come up with innovative solutions. “Technology is used within the construction industry at various levels. With the level of advanced penetration of tech solutions in all spheres of our lives here in the UAE, it will be much easier for the contracting firms and the industry to adopt new processes and workflows,” he said.
Speaking about the ‘Success Story of an Entrepreneur’ Kerayechian, who has delivered more than 15,000 units across the local and international portfolio said, “Entrepreneurs, especially within the construction industry should aim to get the first project before they can branch out on their own. Have an idea, work on it, talk to your family and friends. Take care of your first client and your first contract. Select the right partner who will help you keep going, and the right people to manage your business. Nothing works better than word of mouth.”
About 100 engineers, all alumni from the National Institute of Construction Management and Research attended the forum themed ‘Dreams Under Construction’ in Dubai.