Are There Weak Spots In Construction Industry Knowledge?

Designing Buildings Wiki has issued a report claiming that the construction industry lacks strategic leadership and BIM remains the exclusive domain of specialists.

The report, titled Fit for Purpose? also stated that there are major differences between industry publications and what is needed by practitioners and that more practical, easily followed guidance is required.

Designing Buildings Wiki is a multidisciplinary forum for sourcing and sharing construction industry knowledge. Its study cross-referenced 5,000 articles and explored multiple factors, such as the popularity of different sectors and reader location, sex, and age.

The report stated that in the wake of the Grenfell Tower and Edinburgh school defects incidents, the construction industry needs to organise itself, or similar scandals will occur.

David Trench, chair of the Designing Buildings wiki, said that much of the construction industry knowledge being disseminated at the moment is intended to benefit the top 1% of the industry. The others are being left to fend for themselves.

The report made six recommendations, one of which was to make practical guidance more widely available, as well as more information on how non-specialists can use BIM.

Andrew Morris, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners senior partner, said that leaving the EU would require the construction industry to communicate more effectively.

He said that Brexit’s expected effect on the construction industry means that information and ideas must continue to be shared. One way to do this is co-ordinated research and education programmes.

Mr. Morris said that the report contains several workable recommendations that can control knowledge generation and advocate for the spreading of key knowledge so that industry performance can remain strong during a period of rapid change.

In the interim, Julia Evans, chief executive of the Building Services Research and Information Association (BSRIA), said that the report confirmed that the way people access information is transforming, and the means used to spread that information will have to change too.

Owned by Designing Buildings, Designing Buildings Wiki was founded in 2012. It is a no-cost platform with information and publications relevant to the construction industry.

The six recommendations made by the report are as follows:

  • More practical direction is required to assist construction professionals in understanding how to carry out routine project activities.
  • Creating this type of guidance will include supporting, encouraging, and rewarding contributions from professionals with recent on-site experience.
  • Research is important to ongoing industry progress, but it must be presented in a manner that highlights useful insights and shows how they can be used in hands-on situations.
  • A concentrated effort is needed to create targeted support aimed at retaining young women in the construction field and enabling greater regional participation.
  • There is a need for more BIM guidance aimed at non-expert users, especially in reference to its use in wider project activities.
  • Addressing construction industry knowledge in its entirety, as opposed to in fragments, demands thoughtful leadership to avoid duplication and plug gaps.

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