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How has digitalisation changed building lifecycle management?

Digitalisation is not just about digital data management carried out in the numerous information systems used by companies. It is also about creating new value with the help of data. (Report n:o 42 by the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy (Etla))

Next week, building industry professionals will be gathering at FinnBuild, the largest construction industry event in Finland.

I myself will be holding a speech at the event on how building lifecycle management has been changed by digitalisation. In preparation, I’ve spent this last week finalising my presentation and having numerous interesting discussions with industry professionals.

Digitalisation, building data management and building lifecycle – these are some of the most topical themes that industry professionals face in their day-to-day operations.

Many professionals also have their own, personal opinions about these topics.

Amidst the changes caused by digitalisation, some are even wondering: “Were things better the way they used to be?”

Many professionals view building lifecycle thinking through the lens of their own work, not realising what an expansive and topical concept it really is.

There is also a lot of discussion revolving around the following questions:

  • Is the change caused by digitalisation final?

  • What good has digitalisation done for the construction industry?

  • With the world changing, how should we react to all these things?

  • The value provided to customers

Many industries have undergone major changes as a result of digitalisation, and construction industry is no exception. In my opinion, the view presented in ETLA’s report on the production of new value with the help of information begs the following question in regard to everyday development work – is the value produced to the customer at the centre of your operations?

Based on my own experience and view as a software developer, the key is to keep in mind who you are doing this for throughout the entire project. A software developer should maintain their focus on the value produced to the customer and remember to listen to the customer. From the customer’s perspective, the key is to ask, question and challenge.

From rock mining to recycling

The work of many construction industry professionals is related to a single step of a building’s lifecycle, such as project planning or the actual construction. However, building lifecycle is a broad concept, which can be understood to encompass everything from the procurement of raw materials all the way to demolition and recycling. But how is data management related to lifecycle management, cost savings or carbon footprints, for example?

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