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Does Technology make Collaboration easier?

We hear it all the time- what is stopping us from truly collaborating in this industry?

There was a time when collaboration on projects was physically difficult. Multiple teams working in different organisations, including customers, contractors, supply chains, engineers and designers found it hard to share basic information, never mind goals.

Thanks to technology, those physical constraints no longer matter. It seems  we are left with cultural and organisational barriers.

If we are still relying on emailing drawings, specifications and project information between partners it’s little wonder that things go wrong. Outdated and inaccurate information is a major cause of delays and expensive reworks. Yet technology allows all partners to access continuously updated project information, anytime, anywhere and on just about any device.

Are common processes and standards being used as much as possible? While different partners may use different proprietary systems, there’s no reason for this to be a barrier to collaboration.

Project mobilisation is an increasingly important phase that allows all of the issues around file formats and protocols to be resolved. Ideally, this should predominantly be a once-only exercise with common standards copied from project to project and modified where needed.

Best of all, collaboration doesn’t cost anything, except up front effort. Once we’ve planned and agreed how we will collaborate we can all work more efficiently, eliminate errors and make life easier for each other. One study puts the global digitalisation dividend at over £900 billion over the next ten years.

Increased pressure on budgets and higher expectations from customers, communities and building occupants are rapidly making greater collaboration non-optional. As an industry it’s in our hands to save project costs and improve outcomes for all stakeholders. The time for talking about collaboration as something we should be doing is over.

It’s time to get on and make it happen.

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