Mae'r cynnwys hwn ar gael yn Saesneg yn unig.
Based in Bodelwyddan, North Wales, Wynne Construction specialises in public sector contracts. Key clients include health authorities, local authorities, police authorities and higher education providers, as well as a number of private clients.
- Investment in a digital infrastructure can be expensive but the costs are recovered through increased turnover, quality and efficiency.
- Training is important for both employees and the supply chain who will be utilising the broadband-enabled digital technologies.
- Digital technologies can contribute towards the construction industry’s regulation requirements by improving transparency.
Overview of the business
The fourth-generation construction business structures its offering around added value, community benefits and sustainability. For example, the sustainability commitment is built into the business’ Zero Waste Policy, matched with targets pushing for 90 percent recycling by the end of 2020.
As an important provider of local employment for North Wales, the business directly employs 47 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff and on average works on ten projects at any time across the region. During peak times, the number of subcontracted staff can rise to approximately 500, safeguarding these local construction jobs. The business has undergone a significant expansion in recent years with plans to open a second base in South Wales in the near future.
Superfast broadband adoption
Wynne Construction has adopted superfast broadband, with download speeds of almost 70 Mbps. Access to superfast connectivity in the central office is considered essential for the everyday running of the business. However, the business suffers from similar onsite connectivity problems faced by businesses across the construction industry. The nature of construction requires a large amount of the work to be undertaken on sites that are often remote and lack reliable Internet access.
In response to these hurdles, different approaches have been trialled, including the use of Internet dongles and satellite broadband. To date these approaches have remained unreliable, restricting the use of broadband enabled digital technologies that can be successfully used on site:
IT skills capacity
Wynne Construction has actively developed its digital and IT capabilities in recent years. These efforts are an important part of the ongoing digitalisation with the aim of moving toward digital construction accreditations and implementation. In 2017, the construction business was among the first SMEs in Wales to gain BRE accreditation, and Wynne construction also benefits from BIM (building information modelling) Level 2 and PAS (Publicly Available Specification) 1192-2.
To retain these capabilities and to implement further digital advancements, a large proportion of the IT budget is spent on software licenses, totalling around £50,000 per annum. The business primarily relies on external IT specialists, using IT trainers to improve staff’s IT capabilities and to showcase the benefits of using digital technologies, such as social media. Training is considered pivotal to support employees and the supply chain to use and benefit from the digital technologies utilised in the business.
Use of digital technologies
Wynne Construction was among the first SMEs in Wales to gain BIM accreditation two years ago from the world-leading building science research centre, BRE. Now the business is accredited up to PAS 1192-2, which provides the framework for collaborative working and information management for BIM Level 2. As such, the business is able to implement digital construction along its value chain and the entire project:
BIM combines a number of integrated software packages, including the computer aided design (CAD) package Autodesk, a model-based building design application Revit, accounting and project management software 4Projects, and Field View that supports the project delivery and handover.
Recently the business has worked with Cardiff University to develop CoBuilder and Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie) outputs, supporting the creation, distribution and standardisation of construction data.
Using a Virtual Private Network employees and those granted permission on the supply chain can access and add to the data remotely. Moreover, the software packages identified above are supported by investments in tablets to enable site managers to input documentation remotely. In addition, the business also uses virtual reality headsets, allowing clients to visualise the site through a series of 3D and 4D images.
The owner made the decision to use standardised software as opposed to bespoke, as well as combining the more advanced technologies with the more longstanding applications such as Microsoft packages (Excel, Publisher, Word), Adobe suite, and Sage for some online accounting tasks. The business is also able to monitor subcontractor training, credentials, inductions and monitoring through a further software package, MSite. This allows for the recording and retrieval of information such as the distance subcontractors travel and time onsite.
Using this information, the business is able to calculate local community benefits, assessing the benefits of the construction for local people within 30 to 40 miles of the site.
In addition to software that supports the product development, Wynne Construction also uses social media platforms and communication tools to promote and communicate with current and prospective clients. This includes social media platforms such as Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, as well as Skype for videoconferencing.
Wynne Construction information flow diagram
Highlighting the internal and external communication flows of the business.
Transparency and traceability benefits
Digital technology is central for the business- playing an important role supporting its everyday operations and allowing for future expansion. One of the fundamental benefits relates to improvements in transparency and traceability, which are fundamental for the construction sector. The business openly shares and communicates its workflow process allowing clients to keep track and ensure industry standards are met.
The high levels of digital maturity also support collaboration within the business, with clients and along the supply chain. One of the central benefits of utilising the BIM integrated software is greater coordination and communication as the product develops, storing all the information digitally which can be accessed by workers and suppliers as the product develops. The digital system is then backed up using Cloud storage.
Efficiency benefits are also noted. The business is more efficient and lean after streamlining its systems and processes, which can in turn be easily shared and edited by relevant parties allowing for faster project delivery. A key change has been the move away from paperwork towards digitally storing and retrieving data through onsite tablets. In addition to creating time and cost savings, these developments also provide environmental benefits through reduced printing and the reduction in the number of journeys required by employees and subcontractors.
Capacity and employment benefits
While it is estimated delivery via digital technologies has increased project costs by around 4 to 5 percent, there are a number of capacity and employment related benefits. The owner estimates that these changes have allowed the business to increase its capacity while retaining the existing staff by around 30 percent, increasing the turnover by 30 percent.
Instead of replacing jobs, the developments have led to the appointment of three additional staff members. This includes information managers and design coordinators who specialise in the digital components of the business.