Garry Fannon is Head of Digital at Willmott Dixon and leads their approach to BIM. Willmott Dixon are a construction and interior fit-out specialist who are striving to use BIM to improve how their project teams deliver better efficiency for clients and Garry is ensuring they remain one of the sector’s biggest users of this exciting technology. Majenta Solutions have an exciting partnership with Willmott Dixon, working on several large university BIM projects and we are also supporting them with their digitalisation journey by sharing best practice from other industries such as automotive.
We took the opportunity to interview Garry to find out his views on digital transformation within the construction industry.
What changes need to be made within construction to fully adopt digital transformation?
Construction compared to Automotive is back in 1980! There are lessons we can learn from the Automotive industry, even though they still see challenges themselves. It takes time to move from analogue to digital – it is the perfect storm when it comes to change.
Within construction companies, the main challenges that I see are the mindsets and lack of knowledge and training when it comes to new technologies. The world has moved to digital; we need to catch up, embrace technologies and see the benefits that they can bring. But this will all take time.
Why is the construction industry so far behind in its digital adoption?
Construction is behind because we work on large risk projects, with small margins, so if something goes wrong, it can put a company out of business. So, we are slow to change.
The impact of Brexit has produced huge challenges including the price and ease of logistics with materials, along with the significant reduction in workforce, which we rely on so greatly.
We are so reliant on the next generation, these millennials that are joining the workforce see the technology of value, whereas the older generation sees it as a cost. It is the battle of ‘old’ versus ‘new’, but the ‘new’ is going to help construction companies stay alive. We need to adopt their technologies and then teach them how to build.
What would your advice be to construction companies for adopting digital transformation?
You need to understand the digital world and what benefits it can bring, embrace the technology. Those who embraced digital transformation a few years ago are now in a ‘digital bubble’, and those that don’t become part of that culture will get left behind. You need to plan on how to develop your skills strategically, you will have to make a financial investment, ROI will take several years to be evident, but it is a necessary investment. Once we become more efficient and embrace the technologies, we will then see an ROI.
Willmott Dixon Construction and Majenta Solutions’ BIM Team at Jaguar Land Rover Experience Centre – embracing supply chain best practice.