Ask the Expert is a CCi article series where our consultants provide insight into their industry expertise.
Roger De Boehmler, CCi Technical Associate Director, is a Chartered Building Surveyor and Strategic Facilities Manager with over 40 years of experience in investigation, analysis, and resolution of technical building and construction disputes.
Roger is a published technical author who has lectured on building survey technology and authored technical papers with the Royal Insitution of Chartered Surveyors on cost performance reporting.
What will the influence of Better Information Management be on the construction industry in the next 5 years?
Digital representation of a building project will automatically merge all design team inputs, creating a 3D digital display of the building that you can walk through in a realistic, virtual world.
It is best to create and test this digital version of a building before physical construction starts. The building users can then approve the full design without having to interpret drawings – and the design team can check for design errors.
How does Better Information Management assist in dispute mitigation?
When a project enters dispute, parties waste a lot of time trying to find the required evidence. Project information is still delivered to an expert and legal advisors in a “digital bin bag” containing thousands of files. The files and how they are presented, follows no standard digital structure. This means the files cannot be automatically searched, merged, linked, shared or analysed. It becomes a time-consuming process.
The use of industry standard construction project file folders, such as that defined in UK standard Uniclass 2015, would make the review of those digital file piles far more efficient.
If evidence can be found more easily using Better Information Management (BIM) then it supports the claimant’s case better, particularly in the eyes of the legal decision maker.
How can Better Information Management further evolve to support construction claims consultants?
It would be costly and impractical to retrospectively apply BIM standards after building completion. However, as appointed experts, CCi consultants can retrospectively convert 2D drawings into visual 3D and 4D models (by including time and a construction sequence).
For example, a dispute over design could be explained to a non-technical person, by converting 2D design drawing layers into a 3D simplified illustrative model.
A delay issue can be demonstrated using 4D programme analysis that links task-time and sequencing to the 3D model.
The full scale of disputed defects can be understood by using 3D drone photometry and 360-degree interior scanning for virtual walkthroughs.
New information management options afford CCi the ability to make a disputed claim more easily understood to achieve the correct outcome for our clients.
What is one piece of advice you consistently find yourself telling clients?
Construction conflict is not always caused by human error or poor contracts – it is often caused by Dysfunctional Information Management (DIM). Most of the projects where I have acted as a technical expert resolving conflict, a DIM approach was adopted to managing project information.
My advice to clients is to utilise Better Information Management (BIM). BIM results in everyone adopting the same industry standards for managing project information – these standards all exist, we just need to use them.