by AJ Waters, Vice President Industry Solutions, InEight

With all the talk around digital transformations in construction, it’s time to take a look at the kind of data owners should be asking for – and receiving – from contractors on capital projects to promote partnerships that preserve their role as true project owners.

As the owner of a capital project, have you ever felt like you’re being held at arm’s length from your own project? As comic book billionaire Tony Stark once quipped, “You pay for everything, design everything, make everyone look cooler, but at the end of the day, it feels like you’re not the boss.” 

With all the talk around construction digital transformations, newly connected data and cutting-edge predictive analytics, one is left wondering when the benefits will start to materialise on the owner level.

Now is the perfect time to take a good look at the kind of data owners should be asking for – and receiving – from their contractors, and how this new level of transparency is leading to a win-win scenario in the partnership we call a capital project.

Are we on time and on budget?

These have long been the two biggest questions for any owner. While your most critical moment is when you begin to realise a return on investment in the new asset you’ve created, there are other milestones along the way that are of equal importance. Now more than ever, owners should expect a greater level of detail into the completeness of all critical activities, not just milestones.

The same can be said for cost, which is arguably the most difficult area to expect transparency. Integrated contract solutions featuring configurable electronic workflows allow all stakeholders on the project to stay alerted to contract changes as they arise. Today’s owners are right to expect all pertinent information in one place, without the need to go digging through additional systems.

What’s the status of our project in real time?

There’s no feeling worse than that of being a week into a critical operation before the productivity reports come back showing severe performance issues. Far too often, owners are being notified of project delays just days before an important milestone because the data they have is lagging behind.

But with the integration of real-time analytics and cloud computing into our everyday lives, immediate transparency is now the expectation. Whether you are after a man-hour curve on a data dashboard, or a daily printout of buyout and procurement status, owners should have confidence their data is accurate and up to date. Additionally, they should expect the ability to custom edit any visualisations in their dashboards to show the key metrics or KPIs that are important to them.

How can we use our project data going forward?

If you are going to go to all this trouble of collecting, integrating and storing accurate data in the construction phase, why not take it with you for operation and maintenance of the facility? While the concept of a digital project twin is not new, the ability to leverage a single system in order to create a useful common data environment is. This type of digital twin should now be the expectation.

There’s enormous value in the ability to select an item in a model, know who installed it and when, and what the specifications are to maintain it. This is all information that is developed and captured throughout the construction of a project, and owners should expect an interactive, three-dimensional ‘twin’ representation of that information at project closeout to continue to get the most they can out of the big data surrounding their asset.

At the end of the day, it’s the owner’s project first and foremost. Instead of standing at arm’s length, it’s time to join arm-in-arm with your contractor in a partnership that is not only win-win, but one that preserves your role as true project owner.

This partner content was brought to you by InEight. To learn more about InEight’s construction project management software, click here.

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