Egil Berg

Lead Technical Specialist i Group VDC at NCC

We believe that adoption of openBIM standards in all processes is the right way forward when it comes to working with Integrated Virtual Design and Construction (VDC).

By standardising our data, we are able to meet our clients’ requirements, establish efficient processes for digital collaboration with our stakeholders, and we can already report improvements in cost estimation, planning and sourcing.

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NCC takes a step towards fully digital construction projects

NCC takes an important step in its digitalisation by establishing a standardised digital language that will be implemented in all the Group’s projects. By using standardised data, NCC will further advance its position in making the construction industry digital.

NCC is one of the leading constructions and property development companies in the Nordic region, with sales of nearly SEK 57 billion and 17,000 employees.

Need

NCC identified the need to improve accuracy and efficiency in all business processes. To achieve this, NCC set out to streamline the exchange and management of information across the entire organisation, but also with external stakeholders. As part of their strategy, NCC set an objective to establish a common digital repository for storing information about building elements used in their projects for the purpose of reusing knowledge and performing historical analyses. This data repository will be used across four of the Nordic countries (Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland) in order to facilitate planning, procurement, calculation, cost control, production steering and facility management.

Challenges

The use of different definitions within the industry, different data structure and language in systems is a major challenge for establishing common processes for data management within international organisations, such as NCC, and impedes the efficient data exchange both within the organisation and with external stakeholders.

Solution

To resolve these challenges, NCC decided to standardise their data by developing and implementing a common standards-based data model, i.e., data templates. The data templates provide a common data structure and technical language and ensure seamless exchange of information for different purposes, at different stages and by different actors.

  • 1. NCC implemented the Define tool and gained access to all content that is sourced from harmonised European standards.
  • 2. NCCs key data experts received Define training and are continuously training more and more employees in using the tool. The first of NCCs subsidiaries to start implementing Define is Sweden.
  • 3. The first task of NCC’s data experts is to analyse what are the common data needs across all 4 countries and subsequently identify the differences to accommodate each market.
  • 4. So far NCC has started developing generic construction objects. These will also incorporate properties from Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) to enable the management of environmental requirements on company level.
  • 5. Through a new functionality in Define, which will be released soon, NCCs data experts will be able to assign milestones (phases), purposes and actors to each property to create information requirements on company level.
  • 6. As a next step, NCC will also invite external stakeholders, preferred partners – manufacturers and suppliers, who will collaborate in developing the data models to reflect their expertise and information needs during an information exchange through data templates. NCC has already completed several a pilot project together with the selected manufacturers to create common data templates that can be used during specification and procurement. On the one hand NCC was able to establish their information requirements to ensure that the design team receives all the necessary information to use the building element in their design. On the other hand, the manufacturers identified the information that is required for them to be able to provide a price quotation, and later on – to manufacture and deliver the products.
  • 7. NCC will implement the Define API service to integrate the data templates developed in Define into their Construction information management tool, NCC Construction Connector.

Expected results

By introducing common data structures for information exchange and management, NCC has come a long way towards a more efficient design, calculation, planning and procurement workflow. A common, standards-based data model will allow NCC to streamline internal processes throughout the entire lifecycle of their projects.

Through centralised data management, NCC will be able to reuse data on specific project types, i.e., hospitals, schools, roads etc., adopting a more industrialised approach that will allow them to reduce delivery time and costs.

The collaboration with the manufacturers has created new opportunities for establishing strategic partnerships and integrations to achieve further automation.