However, Dan thinks a fundamental shift to a process-driven approach could pave the way for digitalization within the built environment. “Building anything is a complex process involving many processes and people. We have tended to concentrate on the technology instead of the processes and therefore standard processes have not been recorded in a systematic way.”
Dan’s first recommendation is for businesses to understand and systematically record (and follow) their own businesses processes. “As a first step in digitalizing your processes it helps to start with BS EN ISO 9001, quality management systems. This specification details the requirements of an organizational quality management system.”
With the foundations in place, Dan’s next suggestion is to turn to BS ISO 19510, Business process model notation (BPMN). It provides a system of notation that is readily understandable by all business users, including the business analysts that create the initial drafts of the processes, the technical developers responsible for implementing the technology and the business people who will manage and monitor those processes.
“It creates a standardized bridge for the gap between a business’s process design and process implementation” said Dan. “You can articulate any process using this method through a series of standardized symbols and notations. Different symbols denote different activities and it can be applied to any process, from ordering a pizza to building a bridge.”
“Once you’ve mapped the process using this notation you can start to assess how the elements of a process can be digitalized in an integrated way.”
A standard that further develops this process in a construction-specific environment is BS EN ISO 24981-1, information delivery manual (IDM). By illustrating where information needs to be inputted and outputted during the process, it facilitates interoperability between software applications used during all stages of the lifecycle of construction works, from briefing to design, documentation, construction, operation and maintenance, and demolition.
This provides a basis for accurate, reliable, repeatable and high-quality information exchange, a fundamental of digitalization.
When it comes to putting in place a digital strategy, Dan’s advice is to carry out thorough process mapping first, using the standards mentioned above, before investing in any new technology: “Begin by documenting the processes and working out where the time is spent. Only then should you decide on what software you need to realize value.