Most project managers already understand the complexities behind coordinating a multiphase, construction project. They work with engineers, architects, contractors and hundreds of other employees to ensure they stay on schedule and within costs. But does that change when everyone is primarily working from home?
Recently, Microsoft’s Real Estate and Facilities team kicked off a large-scale campus project in Redmond, Washington where “five architectural firms and scores of engineers and contractors working together to design and build 17 new structures on a 72-acre site,” according to The Commercial Real Estate Development Association. The project implements building information modeling (BIM) and cloud technology to keep teams connected during stay-at-home mandates.
How do these new methods work?
BIM is an excellent way to reflect the process of a project in almost real-time because it establishes a model with engineering data, geocoordinates data, design data, contractor data, drone imagery data and more. The Microsoft team could use the data in the model to produce dashboards, spreadsheets and other resources to understand the current status of the construction.
The most critical aspect of BIM is when someone updates the data, it modifies the model and all related information to reflect the new data collected. It gives everyone on the team those updated figures.
BIM usually works best in collaboration with cloud technologies where data is uploaded to shared space where teams can see the same models in different places across the world. With development projects, these cloud technologies allow different leaders to interact under a particular system to see if a specific system, product choice or installation could affect a project’s progress.
The largest criticism of remote work is the efficiency of communication. However, these new technologies are expediting more communication and creativity on behalf of several areas of construction, including design, engineering and the physical labor.
While Microsoft may be one of the largest companies tackling these new tactics in the remote teams, it is highly likely more development projects will incorporate these remote tactics – even in a smaller role.