the newsletter of tbd consultants - 4th qtr 2016
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Property Conditions Assessments
Property Conditions Assessments
In this article we look at the reasons for carrying out a Property Conditions Assessment, and the general methodology for conducting one.
Back at the turn of the millennium we thought we were connected. Most people were only a phone call or fax away, and a lot of people even had cellphones. Or you could dial into your Internet account and see if anyone had sent you an email. Now almost everyone seems to have their smartphone with them at all times, getting emails and text message constantly, and for those that still remember what a fax is, you can receive and send those from your phone too. We have moved from being a connected society to being a hyperconnected one, and the arrival of the Internet of Things (IoT) simply increases the connections.
This connectivity is already increasing productivity. If you want to, you can already open your garage door and control other household articles via your cellphone, and whatever information you are looking for, along with other resources are all nearly instantly accessible. The downside might be that you are almost instantly accessible as well.
This connectivity is changing the way people interact with one another, and we can expect these shifts in our culture and social values to continue occurring. Businesses need to adapt likewise, to ensure they don’t go the way of the late-lamented high-street bookstore or video rental shop. The connectivity can also be of use to people with less than honest intentions, so security is a major concern, but one that is frequently neglected.
In business it is often suggested that who you know can be as important, and sometimes more so, than what you know. With online services such as Facebook and LinkedIn we are able to maintain connections to many more people than we would otherwise, and you can get to know just about anything with Internet search engines and training videos on YouTube.
The effects of this connectivity are already being felt in the construction industry. Design and construction teams are collaborating and sharing information via the Internet and online meetings. Web cams, and now drones, can provide images of the site to those back in the design team’s and/or contractor’s offices, and online project management systems are speeding up the RFP and other contractual processes. Contracts and other documents can be emailed and signed electronically. As plant and equipment becomes part of the IoT it will improve the monitoring and more effective scheduling of them, avoiding excessive downtime and thereby saving costs. Being able to know where construction staff are, and being able to contact them almost instantly to pass on information or instructions, and to get progress reports, will likewise increase on-site production efficiency.
In theory at least, the more efficient the connectivity is, the more effective the management should become. That theory appears to be borne out in practice, evidenced by a report from the Economist Intelligence Unit that the Internet accounted for over 20% of the GDP growth in some developing nations between 2004 and 2009.
So far, more than half of the world’s population has no Internet access, and the changes that will occur for them, and for all of us, as they become connected is expected to be substantial. The opportunities for connecting with people anywhere in the world, and the ease with which online stores, etc., can be set up should create more jobs, reducing poverty levels. That should lead on to improving healthcare, along with other benefits.
Neurologists studying the brain are coming to the idea that it is the extent of interconnections, or the connectivity, within our brains that gives us consciousness and intelligence. Perhaps the growth of hyperconnectivity will lead to smarter and smarter buildings. We’ll worry about the computers behind them becoming conscious, if and when that happens.
The economy has been steadily improving here in the US, but other nations have generally not been doing as well. In this article we take a quick look at what is happening with markets worldwide, and looking at how events are likely to affect construction costs.
Design consultant: Katie Levine of Vallance, Inc.