Data warehousing: A blueprint for quantity surveying’s digital frontier

  • Insights
  • Data warehousing: A blueprint for quantity surveying’s digital frontier
About this article
John Corry


John Corry


Perspective 2023 vol 2
Market Insights

Sign Up for Market Trends & Insights


Data warehousing in quantity surveying presents the opportunity to revolutionise the construction industry, unlocking unimaginable benefits and services.

Just as the human genome project centralised genetic data to enable new treatments for diseases, data warehousing is teeming with potential to fundamentally redefine how we approach construction.

A data warehouse is an innovative approach to storing, analysing and utilising years of construction project data. It serves as a unifying platform, bringing together many diverse data sources into a single, consolidated view that provides a comprehensive overview of all aspects of construction from numerous real-world projects. From design and cost estimates to project tracking and Building Information Modelling (BIM), a data warehouse aggregates all these disparate sources into one accessible and manageable repository.

BIM and Common Data Environments (CDEs) have emerged as the bedrock of this digital revolution in construction and provide sources for data collection. BIM, a digital representation of a building’s physical and functional characteristics, has been a game-changer, improving construction project outcomes by making them cheaper, more sustainable, faster and safer.

CDEs, on the other hand, are a potent tool for managing the deluge of data generated during a given construction project. Serving as a central data storage and management system, CDEs connect seamlessly to the BIM tools used and enhance BIM’s features and outcomes. They too manage the information from different sources, including BIM software, company spreadsheets, and other project management tools, providing powerful features for data management, versioning and sharing. However, a CDE does not aggregate data across projects to give a broader view of industry at large hence the need for a data warehouse.

Just as data warehousing serves as the foundation for this transformation, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the engine that powers it. AI requires vast amounts of data to function effectively, and a well-constructed data warehouse provides the perfect platform to train an AI algorithm. AI can delve into the depths of the data from 1000s of historic projects, extracting insights, identifying patterns, and making predictions that would be virtually impossible for human analysts.

The synergy between data warehousing and AI can lead to significant improvements in various aspects of quantity surveying, including cost estimation, risk management, project scheduling and embodied carbon estimation. These advancements can dramatically enhance efficiency, reduce costs and improve decision-making processes, thereby adding tremendous value to the services provided by quantity surveyors.

A quantum leap for quantity surveying

As we look towards the future, the potential for data warehousing in quantity surveying is vast and exciting. With RLB’s global presence and on-the-ground access to the construction industry, we are uniquely positioned to harness the power of data warehousing, BIM, CDEs and AI to drive innovation and improve our services.

Much like the Human Genome Project – where we are yet to fully understand the possibilities that this data may reveal – we are far from, harnessing the full potential of data warehousing in quantity surveying. We may not fully understand the possibilities, but the prospects are thrilling.

This transformation is not merely about adopting new technologies. It’s about changing the way we think about and approach our work. It’s about fostering a culture of collaboration, openness and innovation that embraces the power of data and technology. As we undertake this journey, it’s essential to create an environment that empowers everyone involved – from quantity surveyors and architects to engineers and contractors – to leverage these tools and make data-driven decisions.

This transformation is not without its challenges. With the rising volume and variety of data, managing and securing it becomes an increasingly complex task. Additionally, navigating the legal and regulatory landscape of data usage, ensuring privacy and maintaining data integrity are significant concerns. However, these challenges also present opportunities for innovation and new service offerings.

For instance, as RLB adopts data warehousing to manage the ever-increasing volumes of global construction project data, we are investing in tools and infrastructure that will better manage and secure data. This is happening through distributed cloud patterns, which enable data and infrastructure to be segregated by design for access management, sovereignty and performance.

Building the future, byte by byte

In conclusion, the revolution of data warehousing in quantity surveying is a transformative shift that holds immense potential for the future of the construction industry. The integration of data warehousing, BIM, CDEs, and AI can drive efficiency, improve decision-making processes, and add tremendous value to the services provided by quantity surveyors.

However, this transformation is a journey that requires patience, commitment and a culture of collaboration and innovation. As we navigate this journey, we must be prepared to face challenges, seize opportunities, and above all, embrace the power of data and technology.

In the end, the future of quantity surveying is a data-driven one. As we continue to explore and harness the power of data warehousing, we are not just building structures; we are building the future. The blueprint for this future is clear: it’s open, it’s collaborative, and it’s data driven. This is the future we are committed to building, and we invite you to join us on this exciting journey.