The art of Digital Disruption

Jul 20

The art of Digital Disruption

You may have recently come across the buzz word; ‘digital disruption’ and in many ways, the term isn’t helpful as many people often misinterpret its meaning to be negative.  They see it as a threat to their business. An attack on the construction industry.

So, what is digital disruption and what does it mean to the future of construction?

Simply put, digital disruption is a transformation caused by emerging digital technologies and business models. Take a second to look around you – from ordering a taxi on your smart phone, (from Uber the world’s largest taxi company that doesn’t own any cars) to streaming the latest block buster from Netflicks (conveniently from your sofa), we see examples everywhere.

New innovative technologies are having a huge impact on the value of existing products and services and they are ‘disruptive’ in the sense that new products and services are disrupting the current market.

The result? We need to re think how we do things. How we approach design, how we construct, how we deliver and maintain.

A new approach

We have the evidence from other sectors that technology can deliver business transformations.  While the uptake and adoption of technology in construction is slow, the BIM Level 2 programme has shown that the UK can harness new processes and technology to build faster, more cost effective and environmentally friendly assets.

I believe that the Digital Built Britain Strategy will provide the construction industry with the golden opportunity to disrupt our current approach to how we design and procure buildings.

Over the years, landmark industry reports such as Latham and Egan have all pointed to the problems in our industry. Yet it wasn’t until the UK Government Construction Strategy of 2011 that we had a Government report that actually pointed to a solution, with BIM playing a big part in that formula. The biggest difference this time around, is that we have the technologies to actually make a difference to our industry.

The best use of data

Through Digital Built Britain, we must challenge and evaluate everything. We must harness the use of data to create better value.

With the increase in smart watches and fitness trackers we now have the ability to monitor our heart rate, steps taken, calorie in-take, amount of quality sleep, all to get a better understanding of our bodies. We get an idea of how our bodies perform, and if need be perhaps a wake-up call to get fitter or reduce our alcohol consumption!

Imagine an industry where we have the ability to measure and monitor data in real time? An industry where we can measure ‘in service’ performance. An industry where we can then compare that data to the clients brief and what was actually constructed.

This provides the biggest opportunity to improve not only cost but also carbon performance.

In the future suppliers will be paid based on what they have delivered and how an asset performs, and its performance outcomes will play a fundamental part of the procurement process.

Digital disruption is nothing to fear. In practice, the only negative or threat that can come of it is to those that either ignore it or resist it. At BIM Technologies, we have long since embraced emerging technologies and have seen our business and our customers benefit greatly as a result.


Ben Malone, Director, BIM Technologies