The Future of Construction: Integrated Project Controls Platforms

CE&CR Interview with Kalyan Vaidyanathan, nPulse Director of Business Development, Bentley Systems

CE&CR: How do you envision the future construction and how will it be a game changer for the industry? Also, what new developments in the Construction Technology can the industry foresee in the coming years?

Kalyan Vaidyanathan: One of the fundamental characteristics of the construction industry is fragmentation. During the initial CAPEX phase of the project, from design to execution, there are several stakeholders that come together in a contractual relationship to deliver the project. Each stakeholder tends to have their own technologies to manage the project, whether it is schedule, bills of quantities (BOQs), 3Dmodels, or other documents and information. All of them create data silos that make project monitoring ad-hoc, reactive, and shortsighted.

The future is about creating a connected data environment where data is entered once and used multiple times. This future requires platform solutions that have been architected to work with and be in-tune with the industry dynamics. The nPulse solution from Bentley is designed with that intent, making the future available to users today. The game-changing benefits are in the generation of near real-time forward-looking KPls, giving decision-makers the ability to correct projects mid-stream before they incur time and cost overruns. This technology will make project control proactive and use the power of technology to gain information to streamline project delivery. But to realize these benefits, users must create and standardize their SOPs and drive the adoption of processes and systems in a diligent manner, ensuring that data gets fed into the platform both reliably and with discipline. Management should create metrics around the reliability of project planning and delivery, as well as the ability to manage larger projects with leaner teams.


CE&CR: With respect to transformational industry dynamics, what are your views about adaptive and innovative Next-Gen tools, integrated new Workforce typology and new normal EPC models?

Kalyan Vaidyanathan: The pandemic has forced users to look at their processes and technologies and truly understand what they need to do for effective remote monitoring. They are not only looking at digitalizing their project processes, but also going beyond digitalization into the generation of insights and intelligence. The next-gen software applications will leverage the data built on the integrated project controls platforms, using that data to be more predictive about project planning and delivery, quality, safety, and sustainability. Decision-makers will have an immersive experience around project monitoring on the digital twins in an artificial and/or virtual reality environment. This environment could create new project team dynamics, as it requires a more transparent and trustworthy collaboration between the various stakeholders. It could also lead to adopting relational contracting or integrated project delivery approaches. Therefore, on a digitally enabled backbone in a more collaborative culture, projects will get delivered on-time and within budget It is an exciting time to watch these technologies and processes evolve and mature, and we are excited to be part of this transformation journey.


CE&CR: The global trend is to achieve sustainable goals in all the sectors contributing to the economy; with respect to that; will green construction takeover traditional methods in the future? If so, how will it happen and how do you think the industry is taking strides in the process?

Kalyan Vaidyanathan: The construction industry has been adopting sustainable practices and green techniques for a while now. In the real estate space, most people are vying for LEED and green building certifications. They are looking at create net-zero spaces from a water and energy perspective during the operations and maintenance phase of the project lifecycle. In the initial CAPEX construction phase, they are looking at cutting digitization to eliminate using paper. The industry is exploring precast and off-site construction to both improve the quality of construction and reduce the waste that is inherent during in situ construction. It is all happening at various levels of adoption to make the infrastructure and construction industry contributes toward more sustainable practices.


CE&CR: Lastly, is there anything you would like to add to our story on 'Construction Today and in the Future'?

Kalyan Vaidyanathan: It is an exciting time to be in the industry. We are seeing it mature in its standardization of processes, adoption of enabling integrated project controls technology, and use of data for proactive project controls and increasing project governance. With these steps, the industry will reduce waste, increase productivity, and create a more sustainable environment. We want a front view seat as we ride this transformation.