The term “digital twin” was first established in the manufacturing sector to describe digital constructs of physical objects. These advanced models could be used to predict production problems while collecting feedback in real-time, which made them an essential tool for streamlining production and cutting back on work stoppage.
Now, the use of digital twins has gained popularity in the construction industry. According to the worldwide management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, the use of digital twins addresses two major problems in the construction industry — namely, projects “running up to 80 percent over budget and taking 20 percent longer to finish than scheduled.”
Clearly, there’s a lot of room for improvement, and digital twins are the latest innovation aiming to transform the industry. In this article, the construction law experts from our Orlando construction law firm will discuss how the use of digital twins can help contractors improve their construction process.
Resolution and Completeness
Traditionally, digital twins were judged on two parameters — resolution and completeness. The level of detail attributed to a model is its resolution. This parameter includes factors like the accuracy of measurements that can be pulled from a model. Completeness refers to the amount of project site that is captured digitally. For example, a digital twin that accounts for only the building envelope may not provide the level of detail needed for the model to be utilized by contractors. Digital twins must meet these two parameters to serve their purpose, but they should also meet a recently introduced third parameter — frequency.
What are the two most important facets of construction management and documentation? If your answer is cost and time control, you’re correct. Frequency considers the latter, time, as a key component of the digital model. In other words, a digital twin must be versioned time and time again to illustrate the ongoing construction process. New advancements allow users to update digital twins weekly or even daily to showcase the entire project from the time your workforce breaks ground to the time they close out the project. These models are referred to as “high-frequency digital twins,” and they also help improve a contractor’s ability to track incidents while simultaneously assisting construction managers with monitoring defects, improving quality control, and reviewing issues throughout every stage of the construction process.
Eventually, digital twins will be used to inform maintenance and inspection procedures and, Ideally, be used to identify deficiencies or changes that have occurred since the last inspection. With greater frequency comes the ability to detect changes on the fly.
At this point, digital twins require proficiency with advanced modeling to be effective. Until this technology becomes more user-friendly and gains automation capabilities, it will likely be reserved for specialized firms. Still, advancements in this technology bode well for contractors looking to increase efficiency and cut back on defects.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.