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Leap Forward: Digitizing Construction Will Transform the Safety and Efficiency of Project Delivery

Koti Vadlamudi on May 27, 2022 - in Articles, Column

Digital technologies are transforming all aspects of daily life, helping to keep communities healthy, safe, connected and more sustainable. In the construction sector, continued efforts to increase site safety, coupled with rising expectations for speed of delivery, are driving a transformation. Add to this an intense focus on eliminating waste across projects—prompted by soaring energy prices, labor shortages, supply chain disruption and a significant global increase in infrastructure investment—and there’s a growing reliance on digital solutions as a core element of project delivery.

While the digitization of the construction industry has been relatively slow in comparison to other sectors, technology finally is changing the game. Across sectors—from life sciences to specialized manufacturing to transportation—our clients are innovating at speed. This demands a new way of working to solve project-delivery challenges, including leveraging cross-sector knowledge and experience to develop and embed innovative digital solutions that increase efficiency and speed to market. There’s no shortage of exciting new use cases for technology and data, and, as solution providers, we work with our clients to select the best options for their project goals.

Safety First

Safety remains a priority for our industry, and the need to keep teams safe during the pandemic accelerated demand for digital solutions. For example, our proprietary ion solution captures and analyzes dissimilar data from wearables such as wristbands and badges as well as remote sensors, mobile apps and edge processing. It helps promote safety and efficiency onsite by analyzing data such as location, risk and performance.

The technology is interchangeable, scalable and can be tailored based on use case to address critical safety, security, accountability, compliance and workflow-optimization needs. It’s now in use on more than 200 sites and is proven to deliver a 70 percent reduction in hazardous-incident response time through accurate, real-time information; a 25 percent increase in productivity; and 30 to 40 percent reduction in maintenance costs. Wearables and the corresponding software solutions can help our industry maintain safety and productivity to keep pace with rising project-delivery demands.

A Digital Transformation

In addition to safety, a strong digital backbone is the key to effective integration, automating and streamlining workflows and connecting clients, architects and subcontractors on all project intelligence—from safety reports to design changes. When compared to prior approaches on design-build projects, our own Project Information Management System is estimated to save more than 5,500 labor hours per year, per project.

When it comes to increasing efficiency, our industry already is reaping the rewards of digital transformation. At Jacobs, we’re combining our global integrated delivery model with digital approaches to meet our clients’ need to deliver projects more quickly and efficiently as well as more safely than ever before.

Solutions including digital twinning and our Design One, Build Many philosophy enable our teams to replicate and optimize existing projects in other geographies as well as investigate and test technology solutions prior to putting boots and equipment on the ground. This offers clients flexibility and scalability like never before.

As an example, we’re currently developing digital twins to support operational decision-making in the healthcare sector. Predictive analytics and scenario forecasting let us analyze historical health and location-based service data alongside real-time meteorological, traffic and large public-event data to optimize patient demand and capacity scenarios.

Forward Thinking

Digital transformation benefits clients and communities long after project design and delivery. By storing data throughout the entire project lifecycle and building it into infrastructure design, clients have access to a wealth of data to better manage their resources and make critical decisions moving forward. Resilience platforms we’ve developed, such as Kaleidoscope and Climate Risk Manager, use predictive analytics and geospatial science to support risk-based management across an infrastructure system or building portfolio. Ultimately, these tools are embedding efficiency, sustainability and resilience into their assets.

This forward thinking and bold investment in digital transformation can help our industry rethink solutions to our shared challenges and position us to meet the needs of the communities we serve—now and well into the future. Collaboration across contractors, subcontractors, clients and solutions providers will be fundamental to realizing this transformation and delivering the levels of safety and efficiency we all aspire. 

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About Koti Vadlamudi

Koti Vadlamudi is senior vice president of advanced facilities at Jacobs; email: [email protected].

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