But when Stewart Dalgarno, Director of Product Development at Stewart Milne Homes, learned that CITB funding was available to support innovation pilots, he knew that his project to explore a complete digital transformation was achievable.
Getting your people on board
“This ambitious project has a strong people component, which meant it was well suited to CITB’s funding requirements,” Stewart says. “Making the business fully digital is as much about winning hearts and minds to new ways of working as the technology itself.
“People have to get out of antiquated systems, let go of the traditional silo mentality and work collaboratively.
“We want to be smarter about how we deliver and integrate the business. If we are going to double in size, we need to embrace the future and transform attitudes and behaviours at the same time.”
Understanding the business case for BIM
With CITB funding, Stewart was able to complete the first phase in what he hopes will be a five-year transformation towards fully adopting building information modelling (BIM) throughout the business.
BIM involves 3D modelling integrated with structured information, the use of virtual or augmented reality, and other new technologies that increase understanding, efficiency and collaboration across the organisation.
With £178k worth of CITB Flexible funding, this initial pilot stage explored the business case for BIM, looking in detail at 12 areas, including auditing the supply chain, process mapping, skills gap analysis, training plans, cultural change plans, and BIM modelling.
As part of the pilot, the company built its first BIM product library for offsite timber frame construction, and in the process won the Pioneer of the Year Award at the 2017 Structural Timber Awards.
Crucially, the pilot also detailed the potential returns on investment across five categories of business operations: planning, design, sales, construction and customer care. The study estimated that going digital could save the company £3,500 per unit, amounting to around £3.5 million a year.
“But it’s not all about the bottom line,” Stewart says. “There’s brand value, customer experience, safety and productivity – all of which can be enhanced through this.”