BY Deriq T. Bernard
DIGITALIZING the various aspects of the construction industry, particularly those that involve the design, construction, and operations of infrastructure has received a major boost with the announcement of a joint venture between the leading global provider of comprehensive software and digital twin Cloud services, Bentley Systems and Topcon Positioning Systems, a world leader in positioning technology for the survey and construction industries.
The new company called Digital Construction Works offers a full global staff of digital construction experts who were mostly formerly executives and specialists from both companies. It provides digital automation, integration, and “twinning” services around a portfolio of fit-for-purpose software and Cloud services, from Topcon, Bentley, and other software vendors.
“What we offer is the experience and knowledge of 50 or so experts to be able to realize the full potential of constructioneering, which is the automation of construction. Moreover, because we work with both Bentley-developed software and Topcon technologies, we are able to offer an end-to-end solution that realizes the full potential of constructioneering,” Ted Lamboo, Digital Construction Works CEO said in an exclusive interview with Malaya Business Insight. Lamboo was previously senior vice president of strategic partnerships for Bentley Systems.
Joining him is COO Jason Hallett, formerly vice president of digital construction and business development for Topcon. Hallet brings with him extensive knowledge in the field of both construction and positioning, being a patented inventor of surveying systems.
“When we and Topcon recognized the opportunity for constructioneering to finally industrialize capital project delivery, we committed respectively to completing its software requirements. Indeed, our new software capabilities make possible construction digital twins—converging digital context, digital components, and digital chronology,” Greg Bentley, CEO of Bentley Systems said describing what the new joint venture can deliver.
The experiences gained by the group will ultimately guide both companies in prioritizing their constructioneering software development investments as they go along.
In 2016, Bentley Systems and Topcon jointly enhanced their respective Magnet and ProjectWise Cloud services so that engineering and construction workflows could be integrated for improved project quality and performance.
The two companies established Constructioneering Academies in 2018. This included Topcon’s “sandbox” facilities globally, designed so that construction professionals can experience new digital best practices, first-hand.
During 2018, the companies assimilated Bentley’s Synchro and Topcon’s ClearEdge3D acquisitions into constructioneering offerings. Since then, Bentley and Topcon have continuously introduced new “4D” innovations in surveying, reality modeling, scheduling and logistics, work packaging, machine control, and progressive assurance for construction.
“All these things that make up the Digital Construction Works basically answers a problem.
It is called the infrastructure gap…when we brought contractors and constructioneers together, it was awesome. It is also shocking to realize the gap between design and construction. It is a huge gap between the site plan and the actual construction, and this is needs to addressed,” Ray O’Connor, president and CEO of Topcon said explaining how for example, design documents, whether electronic or paper, are simply handed over from architect to contractor.
“What Topcon and Bentley Systems initiated in recent years was done in the spirit of changing mindsets and processes on how we approach construction, and that collaboration has led to the development of this joint venture. The creation of Digital Construction Works perfectly aligns with our focus of helping the industry succeed in meeting infrastructure demands through technological innovations,” O’ Connor added.
“What remains, in going digital for infrastructure construction, is for constructors’ people and processes to take advantage of the technology. We and Topcon have now in turn committed many of our best resources, professionals experienced in both construction and software, to serve shoulder-to-shoulder, in virtual hardhats, to innovatively advance the required digital integration. The Digital Construction Works joint venture has the full management and capital commitments of both our companies, multiplying its unique strengths for helping to realize constructioneering’s potential to close the world’s infrastructure gap,” Bentley comments.
O’Connor added that through the new organization, both companies will have the opportunity to integrate their own hardware and software expertise and capabilities. This also means they can quickly and efficiently adopt new technology for more rapid productivity improvements. Addressing the individual needs of a customer will also require customized services using already existing technologies that both companies already possess.
The company’s CEO formally announced to the world the start of his Exton, Pennsylvania based company by declaring, “we are now open for business” to the gathering of over 130 construction and information technology journalists at Year in Infrastructure 2019, the annual technology conference of Bentley Systems.