Classification is the Bedrock to a Digital Built Environment

digital twin classification of data

It seems we all agree the digitisation of construction and real estate is an imperative for buildings to be designed, constructed and operated more cost-effectively and deliver the changing needs of the building’s occupants.

There is much discussion about the benefits of AI, MI, Digital Twins and not forgetting BIM to support the digital transformation of the built environment.   Yet I’m unconvinced these technologies will deliver their promised benefit without the whole supply chain addressing the underlying fundamental need to deliver structured data, and I repeat the need for structured data. 

The delivery of structured data is the bedrock it’s what AI, MI and digital twins consume to enable them to deliver the promised benefits claimed.   Without structured data, data can’t be guaranteed it exists, it’s accurate and/or reliable and therefore most importantly actionable.  Actionable is the only real reason to capture data during design, construction and handover for use during construction and operations.

Where do we start to ensure the data is actionable?  The bedrock of structured data is to ensure the correct classification of an asset/element – “if it looks like a duck, it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck it’s a duck not an eagle, swan etc”. 

Why is classification critical in the digital world?  Because increasingly the data generated will be consumed by different by downstream solutions for estimating, scheduling and management etc.  These solutions can’t work effectively if there is the slightest ambiguity in the data they are consuming and they can’t make decisions for themselves let’s not forget they are only machines!

It still a surprise to me after all these years since the introduction of BIM mandates across the world,  the development of PAS 1192 in the UK and more recently ISO11960 we are still having arguments in project meetings about why it’s so important to structure data.

Once we overcome the sectors inertia to embracing structured data then the construction and real estate world will finally be able to embark on the successful digitisation journey delivering a more predictable and actionable operational environment.

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