Mobile Services, BIM & the Rise of Radical Transparency

bim-mobility-benefitsThere is one thing that leaders of the construction industry and good government activists can agree on: Greater transparency on construction projects benefits everyone.

During the last few years, increased transparency has had a remarkable effect on projects. Traditional adversarial relationships have become more trusting and there have been measurable gains in efficiency. But the most striking transformation is just beginning, as cloud, mobile, and now BIM technologies become embedded in every phase of project delivery.

A Transparency Renaissance through Cloud + Mobility

Public-private partnerships, as an example, are inherently complex and challenging when it comes to transparency, especially in an industry still dominated by paper-based manual processes. But as adoption of cloud services continues to grow, these challenges become easier to manage. Everything that happens on a cloud-based platform can be automatically tracked, allowing for effective oversight. Capturing all documentation, correspondence and cost data in one place enables reporting at a project and portfolio level in just a few clicks.

Cloud collaboration is clearly having a huge impact.  The move from paper to digital has not only rescued forests but the bottom line of many projects. Even with these recent advances, the industry must continue to adapt as newer mobile technologies emerge that may make this last decade seem more comparable to the Stone Age.

Early adopters of mobile services have reported significant gains in productivity through collaboration. Tools like Aconex Mobile give people the ability to respond to a cost-sensitive RFI or review a document or drawing from their mobile device, keeping them connected to their project team while they’re working off-site, waiting for a flight at the airport or picking their children up from basketball practice. And, looked at from a broader perspective, mobile services have the potential to make a difference in the lives of people who are not even a part of the project team.

Leading by Example: Collahuasi Mine

In Chile, the simple act of moving safety inspections at a copper mine to mobile devices has made the mine safer for everyone who works there. This is partly because the mobile checklist allows safety issues to be raised and responded to in real time, and partly because the issues are shared with the entire project team. “The inspectors know their reports will be public,” explained Alfonso Munoz, who oversaw the rollout of Aconex’s mobile inspection solution – Aconex Field – at the Collahuasi mining operation. “They are very conscious of doing a good job.”

BIM Takes Transparency to New Heights

The benefits of cloud + mobile will multiply when project teams become accustomed to accessing not only text and drawings but entire multidimensional models. With Aconex Connected BIM Mobile, members of the project team can pull up the building information model and view it anytime, anywhere. This means that a contractor working on-site at a new power plant can call up the model to answer a question about the equipment that is going to be installed rather than send an RFI to the engineer, potentially saving days of back and forth.

Or, in another example, the contractor decides to send the RFI after looking at the model, and the construction manager is notified of a potential change. The construction manager can then check the model to determine what the impact of the proposed change will be on other members of the project team. At that point, he or she can begin to make decisions to limit the disruption. Meanwhile, as soon as the engineer revises the model, the new version is available to the on-site team. Everyone can continue to work without missing a beat.

According to a recent McGraw Hill Construction SmartMarket report, 50% of contractors with high BIM engagement levels reported an ROI greater than 25%. Design firms who have embraced BIM for systems coordination have captured ROI as high as 300%.

By encouraging the use of BIM, cloud + mobile technologies not only boost a project’s levels of transparency, they lower its total cost. Social activists have long argued that transparency is good for society. It turns out real-time access to information may be even better for the bottom line.

Go Mobile and See for Yourself

If you’re already using Aconex, then check out our suite of apps on the App Store and Google Play. You can login using your existing Aconex credentials.

Even if you are not an existing Aconex user, you can try Aconex Connected BIM Mobile for yourself. Download it on your iPad or Android tablet now.

If you’d like to know more about Aconex then please contact us for a demo.

Like what you’ve read? Check out our other recent blog posts in this series:

  1. How New Mobile Processes Help Construction Companies Form Better Habits, Finish Projects Faster And Out-Compete Their Rivals
  2. How Combining Cloud + Mobility With BIM Facilitates Cost Savings And Better Project Delivery
John Barkwell

John Barkwell

Director of BIM Professional Services (Americas) at Aconex
John Barkwell is the Director of BIM Professional Services (Americas) at Aconex, the world's leading collaborative construction and engineering management software.
John Barkwell