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Can we stem the information tide?.

Delivery of clear and concise handover information continues to plague the construction industry, with information being generated in ever increasing volumes using a multitude of communication channels, delivered in folder structures containing data ‘locked’ in closed file formats.

This information is vital in the management of an asset, however there is little consideration given to how the intended target audience will use, manage and store this information. Can information be delivered with clarity in an easy to manage open data format? Edocuments data management team provides insight on how to achieve this.

Bringing clarity and context

The value of data in the construction industry cannot be overstated. Analysis from the McKinsey Institute has shown that process improvements and innovation could have a 50%-60% boost to productivity, and that bringing construction into the digital era could improve the industry’s value by a whopping $1.6 trillion.

All data has value, but it’s difficult to always know how or who will use it. The value should be measured by the efficiency gained by the customer in terms of getting data they can trust, delivered in flexible, open formats and be easy to find, share and update.

Most handover information comprises multitudes of word-processed documents, disassociated files in PDF formats with little or no meta data that which limits the usefulness of the data.


By contrast, a digital handover – typically held on the cloud – brings together all the necessary validated data about a building. Digital versions provide better data assurity, searchability and integration, meaning that the right data can be immediately trusted and used. This clarity unlocks better decision-making and productivity.

The challenge, however, is to get the right rules in place. Every piece data however minor needs to be considered, else you lose the ability to find that obscure piece of information that you “know is in there somewhere”.

It is why it’s key to utilise digital solutions to resolve this issue. Here at Edocuments, we have a British Standards Kitemarked solution which includes templates, workflows and classifications that help us to get the right data that is needed. These processes (including validation) really enable us to put quality assurance on data.

This focus on visibility and clarity is at the core of our data strategy and is really what we are about at Edocuments. When data is available digitally it is far more accessible. If for instance you have 50,000 documents, which of them do you really need to inform your decision-making? It goes back to the Golden Thread of information; a key area in construction right now that is used to refer to quality and up-to-date information records throughout a building’s lifecycle. The Golden Thread mandates that information be easy and accessible, well-structured and formatted.

The “Golden thread” is a mark of data assurance, Edocuments definition of this is a secure, single point of truth for the data, with all changes recorded as a robust audit trail of who did what when. Importantly this audit trail is easily accessible and portable to other applications, so it can continue to be used to maintain and manage building safety.

Get great data

Now, the industry is at that atomic level in terms of data, which is defined as being low-level. To obtain the data that’s intrinsic to decision-making, you must ask the right questions to get the data and validate it.

But how does this happen? Ultimately, it’s about having process driven data assurance. To deliver quality data, it is necessary to call on classifications, standards and best practice. This trinity is an important backbone in terms of quality and compliance.

The ISO 19650 standard is a robust, popularised suite that many construction companies work to. ISO 19650 is an international standard for managing information over the whole life cycle of a built asset using building information modelling (BIM). It contains all the principles and high-level requirements as a UK BIM Framework and takes us forward from the BS1192 standards.

Adhering to this standard provides companies with a vital foundation for great information management. The standard also encourages companies to dig-deep into what data they need to maximise building operation. In this sense, ISO 19650 makes you think about the parameters and processes so that the right data is collected. Other notable standards that are worth a mention include the ISO 27001 for information security and ISO 9001 for quality management.

Classifications are equally as important as standards. Uniclass is a consistent classification structure for the construction industry and ensures that data can be labelled in such a way that it becomes easily discoverable. Alongside ISO 19650, classifications can ensure data is properly defined. The combination of the two shows a commitment to data assurance.

Edocuments works with designers, constructors and end user users to fine-tune their digital handover information. To get qualitative answers you need to ask the relevant questions. Having this data strategy and process in place pays dividends – avoiding confusion and providing clarity.

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