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  • Writer's pictureChristine Connolly

Three reasons why your company needs Information Management

Updated: Oct 16, 2021

A structured approach to Information Management enables prompt decision making and improved communication.



INTRODUCTION

The amount of information and data generated throughout the full life cycle of a built asset is extensive. From client requirements and contracts to multiple revisions of technical drawings and 3D models, planning permission, architectural plans, and progress reports. Data is continually changing throughout a construction project and maintaining the integrity and security of the information can quickly become unmanageable. Lack of access to the right information at the right time and in the right format can lead to delays in decision making and ultimately lead to delays in the project delivery.

The UK Government understands the value of good information management and it is no longer seen as a ‘nice to have’. Their commitment to this was demonstrated through their mandate that all public sector construction projects complied with BIM Level 2, (Viewpoint). The Department of Energy & Industry Strategy has implemented the BIM Programme to provide a framework and guidance for managing information in alignment with the principles of the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) 19650, (BSI Group).

In this article we will look at what information management is, what best practice looks like and three reasons why your construction company needs to implement improved information management.


WHAT IS INFORMATION MANAGEMENT?

Information Management is the collecting, storing, distributing, archiving, and deleting/destroying of information, (Designing Buildings Wiki).


WHAT IS BEST PRACTICE FOR EFFICIENT INFORMATION MANAGEMENT?

Data and information are collected throughout each of the construction life cycle phases. Critical project information needs to be efficiently managed to ensure that all stakeholders have access to the right information at the right time to enable them to make prompt decisions.


Construction Life Cycle


Project Lifecycle Phases


Efficient information management utilises digital and internet-based technologies such as software and cloud-based services to store all project information, ensuring that all stakeholders have access to the same project information whether on site, in the office or at an off-site location.

To ensure the integrity of the data, your information management system should include documented workflows to include review and approval flow diagrams of all information, version control and a documented change control process.

The security of the data and information must also be included in any information management plan. It is crucial to ensure that the stakeholders can access the information when they need it. It is a legal obligation to ensure that each organisation has preventative measures in place to minimise the risk of a data breach. Failure to meet this obligation can have significant financial repercussions as well as brand reputational damage, as highlighted in one of our earlier blogs on GDPR, (Five Ways To Make Your SME GDPR Compliant).


BEST PRACTICE EXAMPLE – BUILDING INFORMATION MODELLING (BIM) FRAMEWORK

The UK BIM Framework is based upon the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) 19650 which provides guidance on implementing best practice for construction information management.

ISO 19650 UK BIM Framework


The BIM Process


THREE BENEFITS OF EFFICIENT INFORMATION MANAGEMENT

Having looked at what information management is, why it is important and what best practice looks like, we will now look at the top three benefits of having an efficient information management system.


1) IMPROVED EFFICIENCY AND PRODUCTIVITY

Implementing cloud or internet-based software solutions for storing construction project data and information provides the opportunity to automate processes that had previously been manually completed and were prone to human error or being missed completely. Where once project contracts, plans or drawings would have been mailed or couriered to clients and sub-contractors and could potentially take days or even weeks to be returned, new digital technologies are automatically emailing documents to all relevant stakeholders, which can be signed digitally and returned within hours or even minutes.

Automated workflows speed up the review and approval process. Documents stored centrally on an internet-based software solution can be amended in a collaborative way, with dispersed team members working on the document in real time and amended documents being sent directly to the right stakeholders for prompt review and approval. Reducing the risk of delays in decision making or project progress.

Having digitised systems in place to automate processes helps to significantly improve review, approval and change management time, helping to an improvement in productivity and ensuring each project is delivered on time and on budget.


2) REGULATION COMPLIANCE

Adobe Stock


Implementing and maintaining an efficient information management system helps your organisation to remain compliant with industry regulations. In the event of your construction company being audited, having an information management system will enable you to quickly access all project information and demonstrate to the auditor that you have information management policies, processes, and systems in place.

Maintaining and protecting important information such as health and safety records as well as employee, contractor and client details is a legal obligation and is made much easier when included in an information management system.

Despite the UK leaving the European Union, the existing GDPR rules and regulations are highly likely to remain in place. This means that you need to continue to ensure that you understand what data you collect, what it is used for, how it is stored and how it is destroyed.

Having information stored on a central internet-based software solution ensures the information is easily accessible. Restricting a user’s access rights to access only the information they need to complete their duties. This means that employees can access project related information that they need but can not access any personnel details such as an employee’s home address or salary information.

Implementing good information management helps to ensure everyone can access the information they need, when they need it but cannot access information they are not authorised to access. Maintaining project information and ensuring the security of the data all ensure your organisation is meeting its legal and regulatory obligations.


3) COMPETITIVE EDGE

Competitive Edge


Consumers have been accustomed to digital technologies providing them with a fast, reliable, and convenient service for almost a decade. Online services like Amazon for shopping, Netflix for media streaming and Uber for taxi rides have disrupted their respective industries because they are providing their customers with an enjoyable and efficient experience.

Whilst the UK Construction industry has been slow to adopt digital technologies, companies that have are gaining a significant competitive advantage. Clients will continue to select the organisations that can provide them the service they need at the right time and with the most amount of convenience.

Adopting a digital based information management system enables all stakeholders to collaborate more effectively. Previously, issues on site with architectural drawings or plans would have led to significant delays whilst the Site Manager returned to the office or to the architect’s office to review and resolve any issues. With internet-based solutions, the key stakeholders can discuss the issue from their locations virtually via Skype or Microsoft Teams, all viewing the same document, implement changes to the drawing in real time and decisions can be made quickly. This collaborative approach helps to increase efficiency, reduce delays, and enables an improved customer experience.


CONCLUSION

Creating and implementing an information management plan demonstrates your organisations understanding of the importance of maintaining data. In addition, it helps your organisation to remain compliant with industry regulations and requirements whilst showing your employees and your clients your organisations commitment to maintaining the integrity and security of their data.

Adopting best practice helps you to really understand the data that your organisation has, how it is used, what it is used for, and how it is stored and finally how it is deleted or destroyed. Construction information extends beyond building or infrastructure plans and drawings. Implementing an information management plan enables you to take a more holistic approach to viewing existing processes and how they may be improved or recreated.

Information and data are powerful tools for enabling insights and decision making but truly utilise these for competitive advantage you need to know what information you are collecting and where and when it can be accessed.

There is a wealth of resources available to help guide you on your information management journey or you can contact www.galileoconsultancygroup.com to discuss our information management consultation and implementation services.


RESOURCES

https://www.designingbuildings.co.uk/wiki/Information_management

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