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Construction software key to competitive advantage

Software systems can speed up delivery of a project and reduce costs

Aconex's Peter Hedlund compares the efficiency of construction software to online banking and e-commerce.
Aconex's Peter Hedlund compares the efficiency of construction software to online banking and e-commerce.

Experts in the construction software industry are warning that automated systems are the key to achieving competitive advantage in 2010.

Executives from Tekla, CAD+T, CCS Gulf, Causeway and Aconex say that construction software is critical in a market where the cost-effective and timely delivery of projects is a priority for developers, contractors, architects and consultants.

By improving cost control, project collaboration and management, as well as reducing wastage and allowing proper documenting of project activity, construction software systems can help companies keep costs low and speed up construction.

CAD+T’s managing director Martina Schwarz said: “One of the things we are seeing in the market at the moment is that it is becoming tougher for project managers to handle their projects. There is now much more pressure to ensure low costs whilst improving quality, and in less time.

She added: “The competition in this market is only going to get worse. To be competitive, companies need to reduce their costs, they need to know what they’re doing, they need to be faster and they need to be more accurate. The main way to save time and costs in this region is to automise.”

One of the key systems referred to by experts was building information modeling software, which has information about materials pre-programmed behind drawing lines and allows contractors to put together a 3D model of a structure.

According to the experts, these features effectively speed up the construction of a project, partly by facilitating communication between project parties and reducing the number of Requests For Information (RFI).

Tekla’s development manager for Middle East building and construction software, Muneer Abdel, said: “RFIs can play a massive part in delaying a project because the contractors are unable to move forward while they wait for the consultant to tell them what to do.

“If there are a high number of RFIs, this can mean even more delays and can cost contractors a lot of money. The 3D environment, by allowing teams to visualize a project, means there is less of a need for RFIs, and can reduce the total number from as many as 1000 down to 20.”

Other companies such as CCS, Aconex and Causeway, who focus on project collaboration and transactional software, stress the importance of construction software in improving cost control specifically.

They argue against those who say software is impractical and unnecessary, by comparing construction software to online banking.

Aconex’s general manager for the Middle East Peter Hedlund said: “Really, saying construction software is impractical for the construction industry is like saying online banking is not practical compared to going into a branch, or that purchasing something online is not as practical as going into a store.

“The truth is that construction software can enable time-consuming, manual tasks to be completed in a fraction of the time.”

A full analysis on construction software will appear in the next edition of Construction Week, out Sunday July 31st 2010.

 

 

 

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