Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Electrons vs. atoms: Guess which is winning.

Trophy cupAlthough global paper consumption has increased by half since 1980, the architecture, engineering and construction industry has an increasingly reduced role for paper.

Newforma Vice President of Construction Services Dan Conery can tell you the reasons why.

“Clash detection can’t be done with paper,” Dan says. “You have to share models to find clashes between them.

“Also, submittals are on the rise,” Dan says. “The industry is evolving integrated ways to manage submittals, RFIs and other contract documents that don’t involve paper.”

For more on the twin trends of paperlessness and information integration, read Dan’s guest post at constructiondive.com. It offers two thoughts about trends in construction project information management.

One direction it’s not going is that of tracking paper.

“Systems built 15 and 20 years ago were built to track paper,” Dan says. “Now the shift to 3D modeling, higher-speed networks and Adobe allows us to manage information electronically, in real time.

“Incumbent technologies have not made the shift,” Dan says.

“But the key to productivity moving forward is not just paperless operations. The key is to integrate electronic processes.

“For example, sharing files with a dropbox-style utility is electronic, but it lacks a project context and lacks integration.

“It doesn’t make sense to manage electrons if you’re going to separate them in silos, just as you did with paper,” Dan says.

For a fuller explanation, read Dan’s post, “Two Gretzky-Inspired Process Trends for Builders,” at Construction Dive.

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