The construction sector ended last year with good results and it is predicted that this new year will also bring significant growth to the sector. Growth of over 3% is expected in 2018, based mainly on civil works but also on private projects, as 5.73% growth in property sales is forecast along with an 6% increase in house prices.

These estimates, together with the falling supply of new housing, suggest that promotors will reembark on the construction of new houses for rent or sale.

A quick look at any of the main property websites confirms that any “bargains” for sale or rent have now disappeared from the map. Nevertheless, it is still a good time for investment, precisely due to these forecasts of increased house prices and the increase in domestic demand due to rising employment levels.

The construction companies that have survived the crisis are now much stronger, due to the operational changes and diversification which was required of them to remain operational. They expanded due to necessity, opening themselves to new countries and markets, as complex as Spain, if not more so. They now balance their bids for work and exposure, as the markets improve or worsen and, ultimately, as the economies of the countries in which they operate fluctuate.

Changes in the construction sector

Industry 4.0, also known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is based on the idea of automation and digitalisation of production processes, leading to ‘smart manufacturing’. The advent of the Internet of Things and cloud computing, as well as the massive processing of Big Data information, allows companies to analyse the entire production life cycle in real time and make informed decisions, which are also based on the learning curves of the ERPs. The predictive models project the results of the manufacturing into the future, allowing users to execute best practice decision making at every stage of the production process.

Building Information Modelling technology

The construction sector is no stranger to the changes brought by the digital age, and therefore faces important challenges in 2018, such as the challenge to join the Industry 4.0 bandwagon. One of these challenges is to use BIM (Building Information Modelling) technology, 3D construction modelling, in its design and planning, from execution to delivery. The BIM methodology is much more than a ‘3D autocad’, it offers all stakeholders in the production life cycle real time work information, connecting architects, engineers and builders through the same technical platform.

BIM technology, which is largely represented by the “Revit” Autodesk program, requires companies’ corporate ERPs to evolve and adapt to this new technology, since it is necessary to combine the technological advances offered by BIM with the information that the ERPs should offer to project managers, at the planning level of project structures, resource planning, budgeting and cost management. This is automated to avoid loss of time and inconsistency in the planning data, as well as the possible errors of an unconnected manual process.

It is here that SAP ERP and its Concrete 2.1 solution differ when accompanying construction companies in their transformation to Industry 4.0.

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