Key insights: how technology can help with the avoidance of error

22 Jun 23

Technology can deliver many benefits to the construction sector, but there are also challenges, agreed speakers at the GIRI summer members’ meeting. They shared their experiences and insights into the application of digital technologies and how these can help avoid error. Here’s a round up of what we learned.

Mitigating risk through digital project delivery

The use of digital project delivery platforms and digital ‘containerisation’ can improve visibility and predictability on large projects and reduce the chance of error, said Abhishek Srivastava, MD of Teknobuilt. Teknobuilt developed a unified platform that runs through the various stages of the project, using digital container blocks to represent different activities. These blocks collect information relevant to that activity from each of the platforms, and carry it through the project from design to completion. 

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Technology brings both risk and opportunity

Technology is both part of the solution and part of the problem when it comes to error, said David Cormie, Arup’s director of resilience, security and risk. He argued that while technology can reduce error at interfaces, it may also increase risk in some circumstances, particularly where reliance on it replaces human oversight. 

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Visual collaboration tools can reduce error

Visual collaboration using Mural helped Infraco Consulting identify a £1 million cost saving on a recent project, assistant project manager Dumitru Borcan told delegates. Dumitru shared insights from use of Mural on the A12 road-widening project, for which Infraco handled the utility infrastructure, and explained how it improved communication between parties and streamlined workflows.

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Graham implements AR training

Combining GIRI’s Build it in Your Brain approach with AR has helped contractor Graham enhance its graduate engineering training programme and reduce common errors, said Michael McCusker, head of quality (civil engineering). He explained how analysis of the most common errors highlighted shortcomings in the understanding and experience of graduate engineers, leading the company to review its training programme with a ‘back-to-basics’ approach.

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Tech to reduce surveying and setting out errors

Referring to GIRI’s research on the top ten causes of error, Skanska’s chief engineering surveyor Mark Lawton noted that ‘setting out’ scored highly as a cause both in the building and civil engineering sectors. He said this did not reflect his own experience, and wondered whether such errors resulted from the use of more conventional tools such as tape measures and pencils, or ‘new’ technologies. 

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Digital transformation on Heathrow's Cargo Tunnel 2.0 project

The use of digital technologies is a key pillar of Heathrow’s Cargo Tunnel 2.0 project, senior project manager Ajoy Dua told GIRI members as he provided an update on the project. In combination with collaboration, a DfMA approach, and application of industry best-practice principles, technology has helped contribute to reductions in cost, schedule and risk and improvements in quality and health and safety outcomes. 

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