Embrace digitization for cost cutting and transformation, contractors urged

Permanent Secretary State Department for Public Works Joel Arumonyang and President Institute of Quantity Surveyors of Kenya (IQSK) Jennifer Musyimi. [David Gichuru, Standard]

The uptake and use of technology is inevitable in the construction industry across the globe for growth.

This will not only cut the cost of construction, and save time but also enhance the efficiency of the final product.

This can be achieved through embracing digital transformation which adopts the use of technology to improve the way buildings and infrastructure are designed, constructed, and managed through a range of digital tools and technologies.

This includes Building Information Modelling (BIM), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, drones, and data analytics.

Speaking during an Institute of Quantity Surveyors of Kenya (IQSK) symposium in Nairobi last week, Public Works Principal Secretary Joel Arumonyang said with the growth in technology there has been transformation leading to greater efficiency, sustainability and cost savings.

''One key aspect of digital transformation in the built environment is the use of BIM, which involves creating a digital representation of a building or infrastructure project that can be used to manage its design, construction, and operations,'' Arumonyang said.

The meeting brought together Council members, Quantity Surveyors, Architects, and professionals in the built environment, themed 'Digital Transformation in the Built Environment' is meant to impart knowledge to participants especially the young upcoming professionals in the industry.

The two-day conference also set pace for industry experts and stakeholders to share their knowledge and insights on the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities in the built environment.

The PS further said BIM enhances collaboration amongst stakeholders and supports the identification of potential issues before construction begins, leading to greater efficiency and fewer errors.

''Digitization has the potential to revolutionize the way we design, construct, and manage buildings as well as infrastructure. This leads to greater efficiency, sustainability and cost savings,'' he stated.

He reiterated that the government is working closely with stakeholders to ensure the use of BIM by the technical officers in the state department on the projects and services offered.

''In the State Department for Public Works, we have embraced digital technology in most of our projects,''

The PS noted that reduction in overall cost cut down on human error, time efficiency on jobs, elimination of repeat jobs, easy calculation verification, and improved collaboration between stakeholders have been some of the benefits achieved.

He urged those undertaking construction to embrace technology saying that this will improve the project's clarity saying this enhances tracking of information sharing among various stakeholders.

''In order for us to stay relevant, we are required to embrace and adapt to changes that arise as a result of Digital Transformation in the industry to increase our efficiency, uphold a competitive advantage and increase profitability,'' Arumonyang stated.

He challenged stakeholders to come up with an innovation which can champion and address the barriers to digital transformation in quantity surveying on personnel competency, cost and affordability, data and cyber security issues as well as stakeholders' concerns.

The event marked the launch of the Construction Cost Handbook which is a guide that provides valuable insights into the cost of construction projects in the country.

The book was produced in conjunction with IQSK, the Ministry of Public Works, the Kenya Bureau of Statistics and the National Housing Corporation.

The President of IQSK, Jennifer Musyimi said this will improve quality and efficiency in the sector.

"The accuracy in design will improve significantly with technology and the margin of errors tend to reduce. It is easier to optimize buildings for climate change," Musyimi said.

She hailed the government for establishing a pathway to adopting digitization saying this will reduce ambiguity in the construction.

"The IQSK is sprinting with vendors to find a local solution for the players," she stated.