30 Apr 2020

Smaller Firms Missing Out on Benefits of Digital Construction

Specification Online
Smaller Firms Missing Out on Benefits of Digital Construction

The construction industry can be transformed by adoption of the practices termed Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Lean Construction.

But research at the University of Huddersfield has led to a warning that the smaller firms that form the bedrock of the sector are in danger of missing out on cutting-edge techniques that lead to radical improvements in efficiency and productivity.

The research is described in an article published by the long-established and globally-respected Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering. Titled Lean Construction and BIM in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Construction, it has been named as one of the journal’s “editor’s choice” papers of 2020. This means it is one of a small number that can be freely accessed worldwide, so that its findings have greater impact.

The research was carried out at the University of Huddersfield’s School of Art, Design and Architecture, in collaboration with colleagues at the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology in Ireland. Lead author of the resultant article is Dr Algan Tezel, who is Senior Lecturer in Construction Project Management at Huddersfield’s Department of Architecture and 3D Design.

He explained that 80 per cent of the construction industry is made of SMEs, often working as sub-contractors for larger firms. But when Dr Tezel and his colleagues made an in-depth study of published research that had been carried out into the adoption of BIM and Lean Construction in the building sector, they found that there was a dearth of material dealing with SMEs.

“This is a problem,” said Dr Tezel, “because these two concepts – BIM and Lean Construction – have the potential to change the dynamics of the construction industry. But if you can’t get them into those smaller and medium-sized players, which make up the majority of the industry, then that promise will not materialise.”

There needs to be a much greater focus on the smaller operators, continued Dr Tezel.

Read the full article at specificationonline.co.uk


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