SRE: putting off construction digitization means halting industry’s development

«Digitization of construction will allow us to ensure transparency, term and budget control, as well as efficiency. Any delays could cost Latvia’s construction industry’s development and international competitiveness,» said State Real Estate board member Kitija Gruškevica at Construction 2018 conference Wednesday, 21 November.

Gruškevica said as the largest state construction client, SRE is well-aware of its importance for the industry’s digitization. The company already actively works to gradually implement the requirement to use Construction Information Modeling solutions from mid-2019 onward.

«It should be added that this industry’s digitization is topical not only in Latvia but also internationally. CIM has become something of a standard – its most active users are found in Netherlands, UK and Scandinavia,» SRE notes.

«For the industry to develop, it is necessary for building experts, architects and clients to change. If investments in innovations paid off for construction companies, it is necessary to explain these innovations to clients and clearly define expected results. Because of that, we have to start with ourselves – exchange of international experience, employee training and the first pilot project – the ongoing construction of a centralized prosecutor’s office on Aspazijas Boulevard 7. It is a complex and multi-layered project that will allow us to use CIM and assess the important requirements for future projects,» explained Gruškevica.

She also stressed that SRE wants to start using CIM solutions to their full extent in the future. Not just for development of construction projects and construction processes, but also time and budget planning, as well as energy efficiency and governance.

To assess successful CIM implementation models, SRE officials together with Riga Construction Office representatives visited Danish and Norwegian state real estate management companies.

For example, in Denmark progress towards implementation of CIM commenced ten years ago. Not it is a platform for everyday use in this country. One major aspect for this platform’s adoption is proper education and passing of information between generations.

«Our Danish colleagues explained successful implementation of CIM depended on exchange of knowledge between young and old professionals. Younger specialists familiar with technologies were teamed up with older experts. It is important for both sides to learn from one another,» said Gruškevica.

Additionally, Denmark’s success with quick implementation of technologies benefited from a specific legislative requirement that all new construction projects with budgets EUR 700,000 or more are to be developed using CIM regardless if the client is the state or municipality.

In spite of the fact the road towards CIM in Scandinavia was long, SRE representative is confident Latvia will have an easier time of it. This is primarily because currently available technologies are more efficient than the ones from 2008, when the first versions of CIM were introduced.

According to her, Latvia has one big advantage when it comes to digitization of processes – a relatively compact market, as well as the fact that the largest players on the market already use CIM when working on international markets. «Education sector has a lot of homework ahead: this sector has to prepare specialists ready to work in the new reality: designers, engineers, project managers and construction supervisors,» said SRE board member.

She also said Latvia’s construction environment will become more ordered, because local construction experts will become more productive and competitive on an international level.

At the same time, Gruškevica stresses that CIM is no panacea, and even the best planned projects are at risk of human errors.

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