Information collection is difficult on large construction projects. Not only is there a massive amount of data that has to be gathered and organised, but there are also numerous teams that are using a wide variety of incompatible technological solutions. Consequently, data is often shared manually, which wastes time and effort that could be put toward more useful endeavours and often results in mistakes and omissions that necessitate revisions to the original design and further labour.

Construction stakeholders require more efficient means of collecting and consolidating data from diverse systems as the pandemic hastened the disruption of the construction sector. A common data environment (CDE) can help you meet the problems of increasing demands for sustainability, tighter financial limits, and personnel shortages by offering a uniform picture and single source of truth about each project.

What is a CDE?

The common data environment (CDE) is the one information source used to collect, manage, and distribute documentation, the graphical model, and non-graphical data for the entire project team. For a project team to work together effectively and efficiently, it is helpful to have a centralised repository for all relevant project data.

In the context of a building information modelling (BIM) workflow, a common data environment can be thought of as a digital hub where various pieces of data are brought together. Its original form and widespread adoption stem from the United Kingdom’s Building Information Modeling (BIM) Level 2 requirements. Project contracts, schedules, modification orders, and more can now be included in addition to BIM data and information.

Information generated during a project is open to anybody with authorization to access it, from the moment the project is conceived until long after it has concluded. However, there are a few major challenges that make it hard for enterprises to develop a CDE for specific projects and operations. By integrating interoperability to share data and prevent roadblocks, CDEs can smartly reduce snags and have one common system to work.

Using interoperability to reduce rework:

Making data interoperable improves efficiency, consistency, and productivity by allowing for easier access and sharing across projects. Productivity increases as typical construction concerns such as redoing work, making judgments with bad information, and waiting around for materials are no longer an issue.

Integration is the process of combining multiple construction project management software programmes into a single system.

UK-based change agent Constructing Excellence defines integration as “the blending of elements into a whole.” A construction project’s success depends on the success of the many people involved in its delivery. Rather than going their separate ways when difficulties arise, people work together to discover solutions.

Breaking down silos:

The construction industry is composed of a wide variety of stakeholders, including property owners, project managers, architects, engineers, general contractors, specialty contractors, and material suppliers, thus it stands to reason that each of these groups has its own methods of doing business. As a result, workers must resort to a wide variety of applications and procedures to produce their outputs.

Information silos form when solutions and teams are not able to communicate with one another and share data. And these data silos are costing your projects big time.Integration and interoperability are particularly useful in situations where data silos exist because they facilitate communication across different systems.

As a general rule, things run more smoothly when all of your systems and employees are on the same page. Your data can help you make educated decisions, take steps toward a safer supply chain, and foster cross-functional cooperation.

The solution – Good CDEs:

Good CDEs can go a long way in improving construction processes. Here are their salient advantages:

Collaboration is improved: Digital technologies have demonstrated time and again that, when used correctly, they may lead to enhanced collaboration. This means that everything related to the project must be entered into a single location and kept up-to-date there. This leads to better communication and cooperation inside and between groups.

Produces a lone, reliable source of information: Don’t discount the value of a unified body of data when working on a project. Better project- and company-wide decisions and insights result from a centralised hub where team members can access up-to-date plans, revisions, and data at any time.

Increases productivity and accuracy: CDEs decrease the likelihood of human error and data loss associated with recreating data from scratch in common data environments. The end consequence is that groups may now more easily share and access data across the organisation, allowing for faster decision making.

Lowers risk: Having a CDE will help you reduce risk between process transitions, be more transparent, and fully grasp your project’s context. This paves the way for eventual augmentation and predictability, both of which are critical to propelling a firm forward.

Security: Data and information are more secure thanks to a CDE because administrators and IT specialists have more control over them.

To conclude:

It is imperative that no piece of information is missed. Your company and its projects will have the highest chance of success right now thanks to a shared data environment, which will allow your team to optimise and utilise the data when it matters most.

Even better, high-quality data might hasten project completion by paving the way for cutting-edge tools like artificial intelligence and machine learning. Good CDEs are the need of the hour in the construction industry, and adopting one can go a long way in ironing out crucial processes.