<< Back to Home

A Shared Environment 

BY: Frank Weiss

A collaborative platform can ease many of the challenges facing construction stakeholders in everyday processes. 

When examining the planning processes in construction and engineering sectors today, there are huge differences in the quality of information handling. Plans are often not coordinated well enough because important information is not exchanged between the planners.  

As a result, cost, quality, and adherence to deadlines are often unsatisfactory for the client. And that happens a lot even though the individuals are doing a good job within their silos.  

Creating good 3D or BIM models alone is not enough. The many interdependencies between the trades and specialist areas require a well-thought, thorough coordination process.  

In many cases, the client is helpless. They can only hope that the planners will sufficiently coordinate between themselves so that serious problems will not arise on the construction site.  

Simplifying workflow management is essential and processes including delivery and checking of information, can be greatly streamlined and accelerated through automation.  

This requires model coordination, document management, workflows, mail, reporting, forecasts with dashboards, but also integration with BIM authoring or quality systems.   

The great majority of project participants need simple solutions for the exchange of information and collaboration without having expert knowledge, and that’s where a common data environment or CDE can be a big help.  

In daily practice, a CDE platform is the environment in which this collaboration happens. The name itself really says it all: It’s about working together, and it’s about data and information.  

CDE benefits all users 

Typical users of a CDE can include almost anyone in all segments of the private and public sectors. At its heart, BIM working within a true CDE—one with neutrality and security at its core— should enhance collaboration.  

They could be general planners on a large project in the Middle East. Or they may be a US-based construction company involved in a multimillion-dollar hospital campus in Southern California.  

Projects could also include infrastructure such as roads, airports, waterways, oil, gas, and renewable energies such as wind farms.  

In the construction industry, for example, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a very important role as subcontractors in larger projects. They must also be integrated into BIM projects. A CDE platform makes the integration much easier. Additional software does not have to be procured for this, because a true CDE is browser-based.  

General contractors and building owners can invite their subcontractors to the platform, who then can be integrated into the collaboration easily from the onset of a project.  

Guidance and security  

It is a well-known problem that anyone can claim to be following best practices and standards. There is hardly a stronger validation than a confirmation from an authorised certifier, who takes the certification seriously.  

Oracle Aconex is the first project management solution to achieve British Standards Institution (BSI) Kitemark certification of the ISO standard and DIN specification for BIM software.  

This is important because the BIM market is growing very rapidly, but there still is uncertainty about the technology solutions to be used.  

The certification can provide guidance, specifically if experts in key positions have different opinions, for example during a rollout. The certification increases trust and commitment responsible for the rollout and can help eliminate any potential differences of opinion.  

On a certified CDE, project managers can be assured projects are being carried out in a controlled way and with higher quality. By using a certified CDE, clients can rely on standard-compliant working methods and work results.  

The entire supply chain can create, deliver, quality-check, release and make information available for use in defined process steps.  

Building a CDE  

When it comes to establishing a CDE, three things are important: simplicity, security, and data ownership.  

A CDE is intended to promote the automation of processes. This is where the value-adding lever is located. Strong capabilities such as process support, model integration, business intelligence and artificial intelligence can create transparency and enable better decisions.  

Improving the productivity of an industry is in the interest of customers and the industry itself. We are now observing a new dimension – society’s demands on the effects of the products that an industry produces. You must look at what effects planning, building, operating, including dismantling, have, where we can do things better, and what means we should use for this.  

But there is no chance without suitable digitisation. In the construction industry, that means the BIM method, the CDE and the digital twin play key roles, whether it is a large Middle East highway project or a new school in Canada.  

And reuse only works systematically if, after decades of service life, we still know what exactly has been installed in a building. This information should not disappear as a folder in the drawer of the former client.  

This requires new considerations as to how this valuable data can be made reliably available in the long term.  

The key to success, however, is remembering that the best functionality is only helpful if it is easy to use and user-friendly.  

Frank Weiss is the senior director for new products, BIM and innovation at Oracle Construction and Engineering 

Download our free report

Data Driven Visions: Why Middle East Construction and Engineering Must Digitalise

Delivering digital transformation is not easy however. Aside from the need to invest in new technology and remodel traditional practices, enhanced regulations and governance are required to ensure data quality and security.

But the biggest challenge of all is changing mindsets. From the most senior executives at the biggest clients, to junior employees at the smallest subcontractor, everybody must be ready to do things differently.

It will not be easy. But, inspired by the ambitions of the national visions, there is nowhere in the world that is better placed to deliver transformation.

Download the report to access insights from leading experts representing innovative companies such as Mott MacDonald, WSP, Acciona, PwC, Rowad Modern Engineering, Atkins Acuity (SNC-Lavalin), Metito, Tatweer Building Company, Gensler, Khatib & Alami and The Red Sea Company.

Privacy Policy.

Additional details regarding Oracle’s collection and use of your personal information,including information about access, retention, rectification, deletion, security, cross-border transfers and other topics, is available in the Oracle Privacy Policy.

Oracle values your privacy and will treat the information we collect from you as a result of your registration in accordance with the Oracle Privacy Policy, which is located here Oracle utilizes a third party registration company manage registration and logistical activities for this program.’