Research Institute: A Shared Information Platform Reduces Construction Costs Considerably

A new Danish study shows how the use of a shared digital management and communication platform on large-scale construction projects leads to considerable cost reductions.

The Danish Building Research Institute conducted a six-month research project that studied the effects of using a specific IT concept during construction. The three case studies were:

  1. The Maersk Tower, a 15-story, 42,700-square-meter extension to the Panum complex.
  2. The Niels Bohr Building, a 52,000-square-meter new laboratory and academic building.
  3. The Danish Defence’s Property Agency’s construction project portfolio (FES).

Each of them used GenieBelt as the shared IT platform. It was used for the progress management of a construction project portfolio, management of construction activities, and communication between the construction management team and contractors.

The IT Concept

The IT concept of the research has three components: the IT solution, methods, and standards.

The main users of the IT solution, GenieBelt, during the study were the client, the construction management team, and the contractors working at the construction sites.

The methods are the activities that the IT solution supported and digitized:

  • Digital construction production planning for all executing contractors.
  • Project management and coordination of on-site construction activities.
  • Exchange of construction activity plans.
  • Optimization of resources and construction activities.
  • Collection and exchange of phase reports at activity level.
  • Establishment and collection of quality assurance data and documentation at contractor/construction activity level.
  • Digital delivery of operation and maintenance documentation.

The standard used in the study was the Danish U106 Digital deficiency information.

The GenieBelt team overseeing the construction of ‘The Maersk Building’ in Copenhagen where GenieBelt is being used.

Conclusions

The qualitative and quantitative information from the case studies point out considerable cost savings, both direct and indirect. The researchers calculated that during the 6-month study period, the cost savings in the Niels Bohr Building were about DKK 22 million. That’s around 1.5% of the total budget of the project. The biggest savings came from the improved coordination of construction activities and reduction of process and installation interruptions.

Jan Fuglsig, researcher at The Danish Building Research Institute, reminds that the final figure could be considerably higher. If the same level of efficiency boost would take place over the 23-month construction period, the cost savings would be around 6%, or more, of the budget. “If we assume that the efficiency through the project is consistent, with a small decrease in the last months, the potential savings could be as much as seven percent,” says Fuglsig.

The contractor of The Maersk Tower confirms the positive effect. “We noticed cost reductions of 2-3% on the construction project, and we experienced great dynamics and fast communication across all units,” says Martin van der Watt, Project Director at Juul & Nielsen.

The Danish Building and Property Agency, contractor of the Niels Bohr Building, also acknowledges the findings. Signe Primdal, Deputy Director, sees great potential in using a shared platform, especially together with LEAN planning.

“No one else in the world have documented financial savings on construction projects this large – and only by investing less than EUR 135,000.  And that’s just the immediate savings,” says Ulrik Branner, CEO at GenieBelt.

For more information on the study, contact Jan Fuglsig Lambrecht, Researcher at The Danish Building Research Institute (e-mail: jfl(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)sbi.aau.dk) and Ulrik Branner, CEO & Partner at GenieBelt (email: ulrik(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)geniebelt.com).