Global warming, go green, green buildings, sustainable construction. Hardly a day passes by without us coming across headlines that scream these words. Yes, global warming is real. Yes, a spike in carbon emissions is real. However, what role does the construction industry have in this initiative? The following facts will come as an eye-opener. According to a European Commission report, construction and demolition waste (C&D) accounts for more than a third of all waste generated in Europe. The Environmental Protection Agency found that 600 million tons of construction and demolition debris were generated in the USA in 2018. As a matter of fact, the construction industry is responsible for 36% of the world’s energy consumption and 40% of its CO2 emissions. These factors put together pose a huge concern and have fueled the construction industry to think and consider sustainability as a primary agenda.
Why is sustainable construction important?
Sand is a finite resource. Wood is a finite resource. Now, think about construction without these resources and you understand why sustainability becomes crucial for the industry. Environmental sustainability and the energy-intensive construction industry don’t often go hand-in-hand. It is estimated that by 2030, our planet will be home to 8.5 billion people due to the continuous growth of the global population. It is crucial to protect our non-renewable resources, and sustainable construction does just that. To address environmental challenges, the public, as well as private developers, must implement green construction practices. Even though it may seem like an uphill battle, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s classic “reduce, reuse, recycle” slogan, ringing clear, has finally taken root.
How far along is the industry in its journey towards sustainability today?
A recent survey by Autodesk found that one in ten firms in Ireland, the UK, the Nordics, and Benelux are committed to sustainability. It is projected that businesses will invest an average of €900,000 in the next five years to become more sustainable. It is estimated that seven in ten businesses invest in technology, for example, to improve collaboration with the supply chain on sustainability and simplify the capture of sustainable approaches. Companies who have switched report substantial benefits in terms of improved resource utilisation, reduced energy consumption, and higher project quality, proving it improves their overall performance.
Construction sustainability: What drives it?
Data – to put it simply. Data is the gold mine for the construction industry to learn from past mistakes, work on inefficiencies, and take accurate steps towards better project delivery methods and practices. As an example, the AEC industry is leaning heavily on Building Information Modelling (BIM) to enable owners and project teams to make more data-driven decisions. Even with the right intentions, the industry will be incapable to make a difference without the right information. It is important to develop a common understanding within organisations to build an attitude and systematic approach towards conscious, better project delivery methods.
What are the roadblocks?
You guessed it; Data! To track, measure, and reduce emissions, wastes, and inefficiencies throughout the project lifecycle, firms need to implement a sustainable approach to design, engineering, and construction practices based on relevant data. Additionally, the lack of financial resources, access to skilled labour, and a trained workforce are some of the other prime issues that the construction industry faces. Further, the perennial issue of a lack of visibility and a clear plan of how to implement it limits any pilot attempts to become organisation-wide strategies. The industry is still grappling with the right strategy and logistics issues. And this is where technology and Lean construction practices are changing the game, today.
Lean and Digitalisation to the rescue
At its core, Lean construction is all about reducing errors, minimising waste, and increasing the quality of the work that is being done. In addition to supporting sustainability, it improves the overall performance of the project. With this approach, the industry can leverage tools like common data environments to provide the key project data for teams to work in an integrated manner. The focus now is on scalable and data-driven practices that help in reducing time spent and errors, thus cutting costs and maximising sustainability.
But data is tricky – while the construction industry today leans heavily on data, ironically most of this data is scattered and rather useless. With accurate digitalisation, this data can be gathered and used optimally with the right tools, technology and experts with deep industry know-how to deliver a data-driven management system. Contrary to traditional building methods, these data-driven digital services can help reduce energy usage, anomalies that can generate failures and miscalculations, emissions, and affect sustainability.
Where does VisiLean fit in?
VisiLean, as you know, is a Lean-BIM integrated futuristic project management solution that helps firms to collaborate, visualise, and enhance performances through the power of real-time data. With teams providing information from the ground, you are always on top of your project to establish better control methods. The magic, however, happens when you have allowed VisiLean to capture data across multiple projects- this is where VisiLean can now offer you analytics on past performance, inefficiencies in processes as well as teams, and help you take better decisions when planning your next move.
At VisiLean, we strive towards simplifying the construction management process and workflows – removing complications and hurdles that disrupt the flow of information and improving the communication between all stakeholders of the projects. With this, it is essential to have all the stakeholders on a common platform, rather than being updated through multiple channels. With VisiLean, you can create multiple organisations, or simply, Teams, as per your choice and project workflow. The key benefits can be summed up as:
- VisiLean helps the stakeholders to collect, collate and collaborate their workflows based on this data.
- VisiLean is a Lean-BIM integrated solution that allows teams to work more collaboratively.
- VisiLean uses a simple, easy-to-understand and user-friendly interface to decode the data sets you have.
- It is visually powerful and allows you to work more efficiently.
- VisiLean allows clients to avoid delays and reworks.