When you hear the words virtual visualization and digital design you might think of Apple’s newest VR headset or maybe even your kid’s video game console. However, virtual technology is increasingly working its way into a space that, until relatively recently, operated exclusively in the material world.
The construction industry is in the midst of a significant transformation spurred on by the adoption of digital technologies. At a time when labor shortages are commonplace, material costs can change by the hour, and memories of a not-too-distant global pandemic still linger, owners have been more willing to give new technology a shot. The mindset shift from “Don’t fix what isn’t broken,” to “We’ll try it if it gives us a leg up in the market,” is challenging everyone in the industry to evolve.
As a SaaS (software-as-a-service) developer, Projectmates hears firsthand about how BIM (building information modeling) tools, PMIS (project management information systems), and digital twins have enabled owners to improve planning and coordination. That feedback is what’s driving the company to further integrate with more virtual environment solutions as they’re more widely adopted.
These virtual tools have brought unprecedented efficiency, accuracy, and collaboration to the process of building things. With BIM, designers can create comprehensive models that incorporate architectural, structural, and mechanical elements. This integration facilitates seamless coordination among various disciplines, preventing clashes and conflicts before construction even begins.
BIM also enables project managers to simulate construction sequencing through a digital twin in order to identify potential bottlenecks and optimize resource allocation. Having a digital twin not only improves decision-making but also helps owners better understand how their teams coordinate on certain aspects of a build. Being able to make changes to a digital asset and see how it affects budget, schedule, and labor is transforming the way construction is managed.
While BIM is incredibly powerful, it is even more valuable when integrated with a project management information system like Projectmates. These digital buildings and all of their corresponding documents can be reported on and used to determine new ways to enhance efficiency. Using Projectmates, owners have instant access to every action that was taken during a specific phase of a project instead of having to wait for records requests to investigate. Tracking project milestones, identifying deviations from the planned schedule, and making necessary adjustments promptly minimizes delays and ensures projects stay on track. This dynamic digital solution to what used to be an analog issue has enabled project managers to quickly learn from particularly problematic projects as well as seriously successful buildings.
Another less talked about, but increasingly important aspect of virtual construction technology is the impact it has on sustainability. Virtual construction technology like Projectmates can help organizations meet their sustainability goals by reducing carbon emissions associated with travel to jobsites and minimizing material waste through optimized planning. The ability to use one platform to go beyond geographical barriers to collaborate and communicate in realtime also eliminates confusion and leads to an accelerated decision-making process.
Virtual construction technology represents a paradigm shift in the construction industry, transforming the way projects are designed, planned, and executed. By enabling meaningful visualization, streamlining coordination, and boosting efficiency, this technology is shaping the future of construction. At Projectmates, we believe embracing this virtual construction technology and integrating it into a PMIS is a key factor in improving the construction process. This integration allows owners to leverage the power of multiple technologies at once, creating a cohesive ecosystem that keeps managers engaged and empowered and projects on schedule throughout the construction lifecycle.
About the Author
Jake Grinnell is a copywriter and product specialist at Systemates.