Industry News, Avvir Academy
May 31, 2022

5 Ways Digital Twins are Transforming Construction

A digital twin represents a real-world, physical asset, such as a building or rail network, with aspirations of collecting real-time data on-site and automatically syncing to the digital version.

A digital twin enables you to create a digital representation of real-world things, places, business processes, and even people. These insights can help construction firms drive better projects, optimize operations, reduce costs, and create breakthrough owner experiences. 

The data included in a digital twin could include elevator product info, air conditioning servicing schedules, and even security access protocols for a high-rise office building. The data points could consist of train locations, availability, and switches for something more significant, like a rail network. This data is made available by integrating disparate systems within an asset to present the digital twin in one place.

Digital twins are represented in 2D or 3D models that reflect reality. A high-quality digital twin includes product and spatial information for all trades including architectural, plumbing, electrical, mechanical, and fire protection. These systems can be viewed individually or simultaneously depending on what context is needed. 

Digital twins are an excellent way to store, organize, and access massive amounts of static data and information generated by complex real estate and infrastructure projects. The digital twin makes data that isn't usually available or viewed in relation to separate data sources accessible, digestible, and actionable for all stakeholders.

When a digital twin is paired with reality capture representing the physical construction site, many operational inefficiencies plaguing the construction industry can be mitigated. If we adopt BIM as the single source of truth during construction builds, we can make our teams and partners more efficient, increase visibility, and make the handover seamless. Sounds like a good deal? 

5 ways Digital Twins are transforming Construction

1. Single Source of Truth (SSOT)

For years, the industry has spoken about the need for construction teams (general contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, etc.) to work from a single source of truth; a data-driven system that supports all software applications and end-users with a common construction goal. Finally, the concept of a single source of truth is rapidly becoming a reality in construction by leveraging BIM.  

The statistics emphasize that change must happen. For example, a recent report shows that 35% of construction professionals' time is spent (over 14 hours per week) on non-productive activities, including looking for project information, conflict resolution, and dealing with mistakes and rework. 

Design and construction teams spend a significant amount of effort developing models. However, only recently have teams started to see value in continuing to reference the model during construction projects. The best solution for building with a single source of truth is to utilize your BIM as a rich database of information. A BIM can effectively show how building components come together, identify object information, and represent the as-installed condition.  In addition, many stakeholders are remote and often need to make decisions from afar. As an SSOT, the digital twin empowers individuals to make accurate decisions with all the necessary information. 

Lastly, a single source of truth BIM, when it has been enriched with OEM data, can become your living digital twin for managing Operations & Equipment Maintenance.

2. Increased Visibility

Construction progress tracking has been analog and project-specific. Tailoring progress tracking to a specific project instead of deploying industry standards increases the barrier of entry to understanding what is happening in any project.

Using the BIM model as the digital twin allows teams to reference a single source of truth and provides a systematic means of understanding the current state of a project in the context of the larger vision.

How can you visualize or answer questions about % complete if you do not have a way to see the whole picture?

Tracking Status against a Model allows multiple stakeholders to see exactly what is happening on every area of every floor of a project without costly site visits," said Kyle Johnson,  Director of Solutions Engineering at Avvir.

3. Increased Efficiency

Leveraging data and utilizing innovative technology is playing an increasingly important role in the construction industry. As reported by Autodesk, 52% of rework is caused by poor project data. Leading construction firms are changing the tune of data overload into actionable information to increase project productivity and reduce costs. Using the model as the digital twin and its single source of truth during construction can prevent teams from looking for information. It's in one place. Deploying a systematic means of tracking work increases quality assurance and quality control during projects and allows teams to spend more time on meaningful tasks. Teams can spend less time quantifying and finding issues and more time absorbing information to solve problems.

If a project team systematically uses digital twins across projects and regions, the visibility gained across a portfolio can provide insights into where productivity is highest and why. In addition, you can be more efficient if you know what makes your team efficient.

4. Rework Prevention

Autodesk reports $31 billion of rework per year due to poor project data. If a digital twin is tied to the model, updating as-built geometry can keep your team updated on how everything is built. 

Checking as-built geometry against as designed content can help avoid very costly mistakes. Avvir deploys future-looking clash detection to identify if deviations will cause rework. 

Avoiding future clashes between trade contractors can save a project significant time and money. 

5. Faster Handover

Building Owners spend a significant amount of money ensuring accurate as-built information and coordinating survey work.. This process sometimes takes months, delaying a renovation project or even a successful handoff of assets to facility management teams. 

Updating As-Built conditions of the model throughout construction will make as-building faster, more accurate, and cost-effective. As a result, owners and operators will be set up for more success earlier. 

The World Economic Forum reports that full-scale digitalization in Non-residential Construction within ten years can produce annual global cost savings of $0.7-1.2 trillion.

Digital twins and Avvir enhance BIM capabilities 

Digital twins are anticipated to continue transforming the construction industry. A 2020 study forecast the digital twins market will increase to $48.2 billion by 2026. In addition, emerging technologies are making it possible to create more accurate digital models.

Digital twin technology is growing ever more popular in urban modeling. Cities, towns, and municipalities are leveraging digital twins to create "smart cities." An entire town is digitized for planning purposes, including population growth and climate change modeling. For example, imagine using digital twins to navigate city infrastructure or a large health center with multiple structures within the “metaverse.” 

No matter how the tech is used, one unalienable fact remains: Digital twins and Avvir enhance BIM capabilities by enabling superior construction workflows. Models that can store, track, and present complex data in real-time help deliver precious, actionable intel to all construction phases — and for decades to boot. From project bidding to building, digital twins are the future of getting the job completed on time and within budget.

If you'd like to learn more about Avvir, make sure to check out the Solutions page.

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