Minimising risk and improving outcomes in the built environment

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Syidah Arnold


Syidah Arnold


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As part of the Built Environment Economist September edition, the AIQS recently asked Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) Associate Syidah Arnold what industry-wide or profession-related practices should be modified or introduced to minimise risk and improve outcomes.

As the lead for my organisation’s BIM and training committees, I am tasked to drive continuous digital improvements and technical training activities to support ongoing staff development. Combined with my early career in architectural design, I am fortunate that my role offers me the opportunity to explore and investigate initiatives to address this exact question and challenge the status quo. In my opinion, two notions come to mind.

Firstly, the utilisation and access to valuable data accumulated over hundreds if not thousands of projects is a significant contributor to achieving cost intelligence. Cloud based data systems that employs artificial intelligence processes containing high quality depositories for data mining purposes is imperative within a data warehouse. In order for the systematic management of large volumes and often isolated pieces of data, dedicated data analysts (without necessarily having a technical cost planning background) may become the norm within a PQS firm.

Secondly, the increased delivery of projects through a BIM environment reveals a gap between the design consultant’s true understanding of the cost planner’s requirements and vice versa, the PQS’s understanding of how a model is produced. Although numerous publications are available, closing this knowledge gap further will facilitate the application of a genuine 5D BIM workflow. We may see modelling become an essential part of our skill set and the emergence of ‘cross hybrid’ cost planners within the traditional PQS firm.

The adaptation above will no doubt contribute to our longevity and value in the future of a digital led construction industry.

Syidah Arnold is an Associate in Newcastle and an inaugural recipient of RLB’s special thanks and recognition scheme for teamwork collaboration. A lead in the firm’s BIM committee, she also champions the New South Wales Training and Development Committee making recommendations on content, suggesting presenters, managing and facilitating training sessions and embracing an attitude of continual improvement.

The Built Environment Economist is the flagship quarterly publication of the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors.