Avvir Academy, Products & Solutions, Industry News
May 5, 2023

De-Risking Construction? Automating Construction Risk Analysis

Written by: Varshaa Khemmka - Senior VDC Engineer

People like certainty. Uncertainty or risk leads to stress and anxiety. People rarely perform at their best while under stress or anxiety. Construction projects are risky by nature. There are risks related to cost, schedule, and quality. Those working on construction sites face risks to their safety. Finally, poor practices have led to construction posing risks to the environment. Despite construction risk analysis, construction projects regularly go over budget and/or run behind schedule. However, automating construction risk analysis can help projects proceed as planned. 


Challenges with Construction Risk Analysis

Construction risk analysis is an ongoing effort that starts early in the process to identify potential risks that may arise and how to handle them. Financial, scheduling, safety, and environmental risks, etc., are all considered. The analysis is useful for decision-making.

One could argue that the careful selection and awarding of project team members is the first step in automated risk analysis. Along with the creation of an agreed-upon project charter or shared set of understandings and objectives for how the project will proceed which clearly defines roles and responsibilities along with shared vision and values. This can ensure everyone on the project is proceeding with the same set of principles to guide them along the project phases.


Risk analysis methods have changed over the years. In the past, they ranked “…risks in terms of their relative importance or significance toward examining the interrelationships among risks, and that the objects of CRM research have shifted from generic construction projects toward specified types of construction projects (e.g. small projects, underground construction projects, green buildings and prefabricated projects),” according to a study.


Traditional risk analysis practices are lengthy and require heavy human resources. Many in the AEC world are facing challenges with staffing, so utilizing personnel most efficiently and effectively is crucial. Companies need to be cognizant of the expectations and demands they put on their staff if they want to retain them and have them work at their best.


Studies show that people can have up to four things in their working memory. According to Live Science, “Working memory relates to the information we can pay attention to and manipulate.”


And when we try to do too much at one time? Studies show we are less efficient and more likely to make mistakes.


Adding to the pressure, and ultimately the risk, is the shrinking of the time allowed to develop and implement a plan, while schedules are accelerating. 


At the same time, budgets are being stretched. Between inflation, supply chain issues, and interest rate increases, construction costs are rising exponentially. The costs of misidentifying or not identifying risk can be devastating.


Finally, today’s construction projects are growing increasingly complex. Scopes and trade-specific processes for coordination require high levels of knowledge and attention for successful planning, implementation, and hand-off of projects.


How can risk management analysis, which is essential, be improved to meet current demands? The answer, as it is for so many questions these days, is technology. Using technology, BIM and reality capture data, in particular, to automate some of the tasks involved with risk management can alleviate the workload of employees and allow them to focus more time on solving problems and less time on finding them.


How BIM and Reality Capture Help with Risk Analysis

First, let’s put the obvious out there – risk will never be completely removed from the construction process. There are too many potential issues to remove all the risks and ensure a smooth construction process on every project. However, risks can be lessened, and the issues that arise when problems occur can be minimized.


A critical step in Identifying, addressing, and monitoring risk in the de-risking of a modern project is

in the de-risk of a project is reviewing the current processes and workflows your company uses to assess risk to determine what processes can be automated. Again, when staff have the time to focus on higher-level issues, they will be more effective.


The next concern is the proper use of data. Ninety-six percent of data generated on construction sites goes unused according to McKinsey. Not all data is vital, but why collect it if it won’t be used? How much of the unexamined data is valuable? Could it reduce risk and prevent errors?


Consider this from Construction Executive: “Executives will not even need to query their data platform for insight – they will receive unsolicited recommendations advising courses of action to avert otherwise unexpected disasters. This is why data is important. To get there, however, contractors must rethink the way their companies operate. This starts in the workflows, which is where lots of valuable data gets stuck.”


Data can help companies identify the gaps between intentions and actuals in risk aversion. However, poor project data (or ineffectively communicated data) and miscommunication are responsible for an inordinate number of errors. All the construction risk analyses in the world can’t overcome these issues.


How can you best use your data? A low-hanging opportunity is to utilize your existing assets like your BIM and reality capture to identify risks while getting the full advantage in this risk identification in an actionable timeframe through approaching your project's data as real-time feedback loops for monitoring and addressing risk.

Adopting practices that can automate workflows and processes that give people more reach and coverage to sift through large amounts of data can help minimize or pinpoint risks and lessen their impact or come up with solutions should they occur.


Current Barriers to Adoption

Despite the benefits of using BIM for identifying risk, some are hesitant to do so. The attitude of “This is the way we do things” may prevail. While it’s comfortable to rely on past practices, they’re not always the most effective. 


The hesitancy to change practices may also be related to a lack of trust in software and a disconnect. There's also a disconnect between the understanding of the necessity of BIM and modeling and the ability to use and maintain models that the industry is grappling with. The growing track record of improved performance with software should be presented to staff as evidence of technology’s benefits and promise of improved future confidence. The software supports staff as modeling competencies and industry BIM execution proliferate and advanced technologies which leverage these growing BIM workflows enable them to improve their performance and ability to minimize risk. Because construction risk analysis technology can automate some tasks that were previously done manually, employees could possibly take on more projects. Time burdens and pressure are alleviated.


Finally, let staff know how the software increases awareness and visibility into a project. That means BIM and reality capture. Even with projects robustly utilizing BIM, the ultimate deliverable is still a 2D set of permit drawings. These are frozen in time and disconnected,  Unlike the potential of a living model or digital twin of the project which can provide value along the entire building lifecycle. As the project progresses, the 2D permit drawings’ usefulness declines. Models must contain the required information and most importantly be kept up to date.



Tools and advanced technologies can help fill the gaps in de-risking projects. However, until recently, there wasn’t a systematic and accurate way to connect the BIM to the reality of a job site to assist in de-risking projects. That’s where AVVIR comes in.


AVVIR helps de-risk projects in multiple ways. It assists with 

· QAQC – Assisting in the analysis of work in place to catch errors immediately.

· Schedule – Managing ongoing work with a focus on maintaining the schedule.

· Cost – Focusing on keeping the flow of construction moving, and eliminating hidden costs associated with re-work.

· Safety – More eyes on the digital twin of a project can prevent unsafe conditions and keep job sites cleaner and more suited to overall construction worker satisfaction.


Contact AVVIR for a demo and learn how to de-risk your next construction project. Certainty decreases stress levels and increases the bottom line.

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