Digitising construction: A critical mission

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Adrian Wild of Integro Construction Software explains why every housebuilding business should be using the software now available to maximise profits.

If housebuilders could have been offered today’s construction software all those years ago, they’d likely have have jumped at the bit. Yet, in 2020 there are plenty of property developers and construction firms who still haven’t properly embraced digital construction –  no wonder the CITB has launched an initiative to train up to 2,000 construction industry leaders in digital skills.

Not too long ago, there wasn’t a single software product on the market that came close to meeting most builder’s construction needs. But for many, software can provide the cost-control firms often lack.

Software can manage user’s workload, secure profit, and make sure nothing is missed, and this transformational power of software can have a huge impact on a company’s bottom line. 

Software has come a long way

Here we are in the third decade of the 21st Century, and forward-thinking businesses large and small are beginning to recognise the value of integrated design and estimating software.

Before, people had to do it the hard way. Today, software has truly evolved into something sophisticated yet accessible. Combining CAD with live pricing in an integrated solution was unimaginable twenty years ago but today it’s a reality, and one that’s being snapped up by building firms, architects and property developers.

Builders now have all the construction software tools they need to succeed if they choose the right kit – there’s no excuse. But there’s still more to do, and awareness of digital construction’s potential should certainly be higher.

The Partners’ launch of ‘Digital Transformation through leaders’ was recently held in Glasgow. The CITB is funding a ‘Digital Construction Skills’ programme to offer, in some cases free, training and consultancy to companies in support of their digital journey. This could take the form of in-house training, eLearning, online tools, research, workshops, and so on. It is vital that software firms play their part to make sure no company is left behind.

It all starts with accurate costs

Who doesn’t want to know the accurate cost of a housebuilding project? You want to evaluate feasibility and profitability. You want to know whether the sausage machine is going to churn out your profit once all the keys are handed over.

Back in the day, this was no easy task. As you design a project now, you can be served the regularly updated prices for intelligent BIM products to produce an instant cost, you can easily scrutinise labour productivity, usage factors, wastage; the list could go on.

Planning application setbacks

Then of course, once you arrive at your figures it all goes out the window when the local authority requests a different roof pitch, or maybe a hip, a different render, and so on. It’s money down the drain when your data has to be reworked multiple times.

Thankfully now, depending on your software programme, as every alteration is made, the effect of the change will cascade across the entire project. So you can quickly review the design, swap products and rates in and out of the project, and see how energy performance will differ. In no time you can ascertain whether the job is still viable.

So much of housebuilding is about customising house styles and repurposing for the local market. Not all software offers high quality BIM objects.

But, find the right software product with clever CAD functionality, and you can revise designs with an instant project cost update rather than start all over again every time. It’s a real game changer.

Managing the entire project

It’s never been more important to have an efficient process that ensures you sustain your business and maintain a decent profit. Software that provides a single source of truth, employing joined up thinking, gives your business a fighting chance.

So if you’re currently producing your project designs and costings separately, then think again. Software has come a long way – it’s time to properly digitise your business.

Adrian Wild is the founder of Integro Construction Software.