Allister Lewis explains why – along with his industry colleagues – he’s setting up a new industry body for digital specialists
Digital technology is changing our industry and our everyday lives in serious and surprising ways – and we believe it is time for a new professional organisation to recognise these people who have adopted BIM, data-driven digital approaches and possess new digital skills in construction.
I conducted research into data-driven design and the outcomes of this made me realise that traditional associations and groups weren’t able to represent this new field and the skillsets involved. I discussed this with Ayre Chamberlain Gaunt and they agreed to support the creation of a new association. Following this we have approached other industry leaders in this area to develop this association.
Anyone with an open mind and ambition to change things is welcome
While there are many great people who are driving the industry forward, I think they are lacking the support and recognition they need and deserve. To that end, we have set up the Association of Data-Driven Design (ADDD) to lead this conversation in the construction industry.
We feel a new association is required, not only to investigate what data-driven design looks like for the industry but also to understand and represent these new professionals. Existing professional organisations have struggled to keep up with changes in practice, are leading inadequately and are not supporting professionals as they make their own digital transitions.
Any professional with specialised skills should be provided legitimacy and recognition within the industry. The ADDD is looking to engage with these professionals and support them by sharing and developing the work that they are undertaking. We would like to see the broadest range of people possible involved. Anyone with an open mind and ambition to change things is welcome.
There is a lot of work required to implement, plan and establish a new association. However, there has been support from across consultants, which is reassuring. We are looking for collaborators to work with us to develop this further and start to understand how data-driven practices can increase the quality from design to construction. Initially, we want to clarify what data-driven design is in construction, form a steering group, and draw on research and industry expertise to understand and communicate this to a wider audience.
What is data-driven design?
We wanted to find out more about how the industry is changing. Our initial research has identified five core areas:
- A scientific approach that uses data/information to make informed decisions and move away from a “rule of thumb” or subjective approach.
- Automation and coding that takes advantage of new software and tech to automate workflows and increase productivity.
- New sources of data are providing greater diversity to inform project and client decisions.
- Optimisation to increase the workflow, collaboration and co-operation between project team members. The use of BIM is being used to increase the quality of delivery and the final results.
- Leadership demonstrating and communicating the work of those committed to adopting digital and data–driven approaches.
With all this in mind, the ADDD will be a cross-industry and cross-consultant organisation, looking to engage those who are interested in using data to support better outcomes for clients and end users.
We don’t want to limit who is involved as this is about engaging across the life-cycle of a building or asset delivery and across consultants, contractors, subcontractors and facilities managers. Only an integrated digital approach to construction will lead to better solutions and higher-quality outputs.
Our formal launch
The ADDD will be launched formally at Digital Construction Week 2019, which takes place next month, and we would urge anyone who is interested in digital transformation to come along and have a conversation with us.
The initial aim is to create a steering group of diverse professionals who can examine how the organisation can develop and identify the areas of the data-driven field that could bring benefits to the industry. This is an incredibly exciting time – data-driven design will be at the forefront of the conversation to overcome the challenges of the future.
We welcome like-minded professionals to be part of this new initiative that could define the next step in the digital construction industry.
Allister Lewis is head of technology at Ayre Chamberlain Gaunt and founder of the ADDD