Smart buildings for all of Australasia – revolutionizing construction

Let’s talk about building information management, otherwise known as BIM. Throughout the world there is a need to build smarter, more inclusive, more environmentally-friendly buildings for both living and working. Smart city projects are underway all over the globe, designed to bring more efficient and convenient ways of life to citizens everywhere. And technologies like BIM and Internet of Things (IoT) are driving that transformation forward.

My home is in Australiasia, and we make up a part of the Asia Pacific region. Asia Pacific also happens to be the world’s largest construction market. In recent years the regional construction market has grown thanks to a general rising per capita income married to greater urbanization throughout the region. This has put demand for infrastructure projects and commercial properties on an upward trajectory.

However, as technology has advanced on both personal and work levels, it has had an impact on the construction sector too. Tenants in buildings now have higher expectation levels, particularly larger occupants like multinational corporations (MNC). They expect their buildings to be high performing, technology-enabled workplaces that give them everything they need to run their business without a hitch.

BIM benefits now and in the future

Back in 2012, the government of Australia put in place a new plan called the National Building Information Modelling Initiative (NBI), designed to help establish clear guidelines and standards for Australian BIM users. The NBI report found that the Australian economy could be better off by as much as AU$7.6 billion over the ten years from 2012 by adopting the NBI recommendations.

Since then BIM has become increasingly popular in the Australian construction industry, with companies using it enjoying benefits in terms of cost and time savings, better resource maximization and improved asset management.

The BIM revolution has brought many new ways of working to the construction sector. BIM lets companies share knowledge and information about a building project to enable better decision-making during its lifecycle. Each project stakeholder can input their specific data into a single, shared project model, which delivers improved savings and greater collaboration for entire projects.

IoT making an impact

Digital transformation in Australasia’s construction sector is about more than BIM however. Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are now being used throughout the industry to deliver numerous benefits to construction companies and to buildings and cities too, from saving money through to worker safety on building sites.

Construction companies know only too well that during projects, funds can be incorrectly allocated, deliveries and materials can be delayed, and construction equipment can go missing. These problems are often the result of poor communications. IoT technologies can help to address these issues by enabling faster, smoother interactions between companies, developers and workers.

Take the example of equipment being misplaced: RFID tags can be used to track equipment and monitor a machine’s activity on any given site, thereby immediately reducing the costs incurred when equipment is misplaced and removing the potential delay to a project. Supply chains can be made more efficient by using tags and sensors on important supply items.

The benefits of IoT in construction extend to on-site safety too. Being able to remotely operate equipment is taking workers away from particularly dangerous machinery and tasks. Consider the benefits of this when working on projects in areas home to environmental health hazards – it simply keeps workers and sites safer. IoT-enabled wearable technology is also gaining a foothold in the construction sector, with sensors attached to work clothing or hardhats able to monitor the body and environment in real time. There are even smart fabrics being developed that can keep workers cool during hotter weather; the possibilities are hugely exciting.

All manner of potential

Digital transformation in the construction sector has the potential to change how every element of a traditional project is managed and delivered. At Orange Australasia we are looking forward to being at the center of many progressive projects that will leverage the power of BIM and IoT technologies to take the region’s construction industry into the future.

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To read more about how construction companies can use digital technologies to innovate and stay competitive, please read a new PwC white paper, “Building smart: How digital technology can help construction companies achieve more value”:

Kevin Griffen
Kevin Griffen is Managing Director, Australasia for Orange Business. He has over 30 years' experience in the IT and communications industry and is currently responsible for strategic development across Australasia. Outside of work, Kevin is a keen supporter of women in sports and has coached a number of soccer teams to success.