Callan Mantell, Area Vice President at Oracle Construction and Engineering, stated the value of having data interconnected and available to decision makers and project team members should not be undervalued.

He approves NSW Government moves to require design and construction documents related to Class 2 buildings (apartments) to be lodged on the NSW Planning Portal.

Says Mantell, the flow of data on building projects can become siloed as info is contained by many organisations who unite for a brief period.

Where this happens decision makers/project team members may not possess the relevant info available to them when making decisions or executing tasks.

Project control and accountability are tough to guarantee that traits of the as-built form are in line with approved designs.

This may result in possible safety concerns and a loss of faith in the built form. As an example, Mantell references the problem in pinpointing buildings with flammable cladding.

Mantell says info must be connected.

If we work in Office products, 2D and the like, you must possess multiple silos of data – none of which are interconnected or with the decisions and accountability surrounding, Mantell said.

Standards and specifications must be considered.

If no connection exists, an inevitable result of manual, non-digitised, unconnected data – no-one will be able to decipher where issues may come up.

That results in lowered public confidence and unsafe workplaces and homes.

Given the character of projects with organisations uniting to deliver a connected body of info, the info can get disconnected. We need to change this.

Australian governments want to apply digital tools to supply better assurance around building quality and safety.

In New South Wales, builders who serve as principal contractors for buildings classified as Class 2 structures under the National Construction Code (multi-storey apartments) now must record important design and building documents on the NSW Planning Portal.

These include:

  • Designs for valuable building elements (such as structure, fire safety, waterproofing, building services, etc.) – these must be lodged before building can commence
  • Declarations from registered designers that designs meet adhere to important building standards
  • Approved variations; and
  • A declaration from the principal contractor that the building has been constructed in adherence with preapproved designs.

Data from this portal will interlink to a newly devised Strata Hub and will consolidate data about a structure from its design through to building and following maintenance. This will include not only technical data but also info regarding which parties performed different tasks.

Then the Office of the NSW Building Commissioner is collaborating with KPMG to create a Building Assurance Solution which will deliver a risk rating score for each building gauging the level of faith that the building will meet NCC standards. This will be used by consumers, insurers and regulators to pinpoint individual buildings in which issues are most likely to occur.

(Note: the measures are being applied to Class 2 buildings as buildings in this class have been unequally impacted by quality and compliance worries.)

To carry out these plans, the industry must enhance its digital maturity and preparedness.

A recent report released by Western Sydney University in partnership with the NSW Building Commissioner found that many builders and about half of all designers stay at the basic stage of digitalisation.

The ability to submit documents through BIM or digital twins was at least a decade away, the report found.

It revealed that most builders continue to depend on standard MS Office software to manage tasks like as procurement, site activity records, safety, design document management, quality and compliance, staff and subcontractors.

Office of the Building Commissioner Digital Director Yin Man said rules to lodge documents on the planning portal are the initial step to develop a single source of truth for all Class 2 buildings by way of design, construction and occupation.

This, he states, will devise continual transparency and visibility about the design and building of individual buildings and the various players who were involved in the journey.

Man says that more quality and reliability are needed.

Mantell approves the mandate for documents to be lodged on the portal, saying it will help accelerate the digital maturity of industry by making contractors review their processes to ensure they have the systems and capabilities required to submit the right info at the right time—ensuring the correct information control needed to secure a better built environment.


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