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27 Jun 2023 | Industry Insights

From Pre-construction to Handover: The Impact of Digital Twins on Main Contractors

From Pre-construction to Handover: The Impact of Digital Twins on Main Contractors

Digital twins are revolutionising the construction industry, offering main contractors a wide range of benefits from improved planning and risk management to better coordination throughout all stages of a project. In this article, we will explore what digital twins are, how they work in the construction context, and how they can help main contractors optimise their workflows from pre-construction to handover. We will also provide actionable advice for main contractors looking to incorporate this technology into their operations.

What is a Digital Twin?

A digital twin is a virtual replica of a physical asset that can be used to analyse, monitor, and optimise its performance in real time. By creating an accurate digital representation of a construction project, main contractors can gain valuable insights into various aspects of their operations, enabling them to make informed decisions and improve overall efficiency.

Benefits of Digital Twins for Main Contractors

Digital twin technology offers numerous advantages to main contractors, including:

  • Better Planning: By creating a digital replica of a construction project before breaking ground, main contractors can identify potential issues and make necessary adjustments to their plans, reducing the likelihood of costly rework and delays.
  • Improved Risk Management: Digital twins enable main contractors to predict potential risks and develop mitigation strategies, helping them avoid unforeseen setbacks and ensure project success.
  • Enhanced Coordination: With a digital twin, main contractors can easily share project information with subcontractors, suppliers, and other stakeholders, streamlining communication and collaboration throughout the construction process.

Digital Twins in Action: From Pre-Construction to Handover

  • Pre-Construction Phase: During the pre-construction phase, digital twins can help main contractors with design review, clash detection, and constructability analysis. By visualising the project in a digital environment, main contractors can identify and resolve design conflicts and ensure the project is feasible before breaking ground.
  • Construction Phase: Digital Twins can be used during construction for real-time progress tracking and resource management. Main contractors can monitor the status of their projects and make data-driven decisions to optimise resource allocation, minimise waste, and improve overall efficiency. Digital twins can also facilitate better communication between the construction site and the office, ensuring that everyone stays informed and up-to-date on project developments.
  • Handover Phase: When it's time to hand over the completed project to the owner, a digital twin serves as a comprehensive "Golden Thread" of the entire construction process, including all changes and updates. This digital documentation can be invaluable for facility managers, who can use the digital twin to optimise ongoing maintenance and operations.

Actionable Advice for Implementing Digital Twins

To incorporate digital twins into their workflows, main contractors should consider the following steps:

  • Invest in the Right Software and Hardware: To create and manage digital twins effectively, main contractors need to invest in robust software platforms and powerful hardware systems that support 3D modelling, data analysis, and real-time monitoring.
  • Develop In-House Expertise: Main contractors should train their team members in the use of digital twin technology or hire experts with experience in implementing digital twins in construction projects.
  • Collaborate with Stakeholders: Successful digital twin implementation requires close collaboration between main contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and other stakeholders. Encourage open communication and information sharing to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards a common goal.
  • Monitor and Optimise: Continuously monitor the performance of your digital twin and use the insights gained to optimise your construction processes, improving efficiency and reducing costs.

Digital twin technology offers main contractors a powerful tool for better planning, risk management, and coordination throughout all stages of a construction project. By implementing digital twins in their workflows, main contractors can improve overall efficiency, reduce costs, and deliver successful projects on time and within budget. To take full advantage of this innovative technology, main contractors should invest in the right tools, develop in-house expertise, collaborate with stakeholders, and continuously monitor and optimise their digital twin-enabled processes.

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