Reducing Construction Complexity – Technology Only Gets You So Far

There’s a huge opportunity in construction to improve efficiency and project outcomes by reducing complexity, or at least managing it more effectively.

Shortcomings with productivity, quality, building performance, sustainability and delivery are often traced back to complexity. And complexity has tended to be a byproduct of how contracts and project delivery have historically worked.

Technology offers part of the answer. With MMC it’s possible to use standardised building elements and replicate design features across multiple projects.

Automated Design From Standard Components

Designing from scratch for every project could be a thing of the past. In fact, large parts of the design process could be automated when buildings are created from a digital catalogue of components.

The Transforming Infrastructure Roadmap envisages a ‘platform approach’ to construction. This would support the creation of a disaggregated manufacturing base that can produce kits of parts based on standardised designs. The technology to make this possible more or less exists. So what’s missing?

Technological advances just create the opportunity. It’s the working practices that we nurture around the technology that really make the difference. This is where the most fundamental changes need to happen.

Complexity Has Several Dimensions

Complexity in construction isn’t just related to tasks and operations, there are also cultural and communication complexities between different stakeholders that need to be managed collaboratively.

The numerous projects Osborne has delivered using offsite methods illustrate how the benefits are multiplied when the entire process from design through to delivery is collaborative and engages the entire supply chain.

Using this approach, combined with a panelised offsite solution, helped us deliver an extension to Greenford High School £90k under budget and 10 weeks ahead of schedule, while also reducing carbon emissions and waste.

There’s no doubt that adopting a platform approach and greater standardisation will make an enormous impact on project efficiency and outcomes. Companies that are ready to let go of old working practices and embrace greater collaboration have the most to offer and the most to gain.

For more information about Osborne’s approach to delivering better project outcomes contact Richard King ([email protected]).