By Tom Sawyer
Insight-sharing about advancing the effectiveness of IT in project delivery is non-stop, focused and intense during breaks at Fiatech2012 in Miami, Fla. During formal sessions things really heat up.

By any measure, 2011 was a great year for the construction technology consortium Fiatech, with over 20 active projects that year and 17 deliverables buttressed by industry advancements, says Ray Topping, PE, the director of Fiatech.

Speaking at Fiatech's annual technology conference and showcase, held at the famed Doral Hotel Resort in Miami, Topping says 2012 is shaping up to be no less aggressive with its agenda to drive more innovation and technology improvements, especially in some key areas ripe for change.

But foremost on that agenda, he notes, is a focus on procurement and materials management as a strategic priority. With good reason. A study by Marsh as far back as 1985 showed that the construction industry only invests 0.15% of its costs in materials. It hasn't changed all that much over the years. According to studies by the Construction Industry Institute, materials and installed equipment can comprise 50-60% of a project’s total cost and control 80% of its schedule (Ibn-Homaid 2002. In addition, CII has identified key areas that can be improved with more innovative approaches such as reducing bulk supplies (40 percent reduction when efficiencies are applied), and improved supplier performance (24 percent improvement).

Interoperability is also a major push this year, Topping says, as are projects to create intelligent and automated construction sites.

Other major themes as game-changers that Fiatech has flagged:

  • From Document Centric to Data Centric
  • Automated Code Reviews
  • Rules Based Design and Enhanced Design Analysis
  • From Construction to Assembly
  • Intelligent and Automated Construction Sites
  • Integrated Procurement, Materials Management
  • Integrated Operations including Integrated Handover/ Turnover
  • Sustainability

Topping's full presentation can be viewed in PDF format here.