The Power of SharePoint
and its Potential for Construction

Atvero Product Owner, Liam Southwood reflects on a stimulating discussion during #DCS2020

London, UK - Published October 21st 2020

The Digital Construction Summit provided an opportunity to discuss implications and promise of The power of data and its potential for construction a webinar sponsored by Atvero with a panel of expert speakers. If you have an hour I can highly recommend it as a listen. The premise of the session was for all panel members to reflect on a calling-card in the form of a diagram supplied to them in advance of the webinar. Each was asked to bring their thoughts to the session in the form of a 10 minute presentation to be followed by round-table discussion and Q&A. There was little or no time for collusion in the run-up to the webinar which made for a lively and fresh dialogue among the panel!


Stephen Higgon, information management lead at Chapman Taylor Architects, reported on project information management from the coal face, when the shortcomings of multiple, centralised extranets - more commonly known as common data environments - became abundantly clear. In his world the first problem is that project records regularly circumnavigate the promised single source of truth.

Even worse, the basic data element associated with these documents that repeatedly gets lost or confused in the process is the humble revision code associated with a given release. This also seemed to chime with a number of attendees in the comments. Having deployed the Atvero solution as a definitive record keeper of project documents, Stephen imagined his Information Utopia where multiple cloud tenancies connect together to provide coordinated sharing of information rather than the incessant duplication, and up and downloading of documents.

The most important thing you need to know about BS EN ISO 19650-1 and 2 is that the processes are practically identical and contain all the same principles and high-level requirement to those defined in BS1192. So, if you are already using BIM Level 2/BS 11192 standards for your projects then little or no changes should be required. To manage any changes that are required, the BSI have published a transition guidance document, PD 19650-0:2019. In addition to this, the UKBIM alliance and the centre for digital built Britain are publishing regular guidance documents to accelerate and enable adoption in industry.

“What I would like is a single point of access to all Project Information, using Microsoft Teams for informal communication and collaboration, and Atvero for Shared and Published documents across the entire Project.”

Stephen Higgon

Jennifer MacDonald presented her vision of a connected data environment with PCSG's GeoConnect+ solution connecting BIM and GIS data and more, built on the popular Business Collaborator platform, most recently acquired by Bentley Systems.

“There is an abundance of useful data out there... but a lack of useful insights from it.”

Jennifer MacDonald

Jennifer started off by referencing the common problem of multiple CDE’s on construction projects leading to a “Top Hat” solution of mandating a single repository for Published information across project stakeholders. This, she conceded was very much a halfway house solution which is a long way from meeting many client’s needs. A suggested first step to bridge the data gap between CDE’s and Asset Management Systems was to tag objects in models in the CDE with Suitability Codes. Working on some of the UK's largest infrastructure projects, it was illuminating to see how various data sets cleverly layered and combined can inform better decision making. Jennifer’s vision for the future was a data-centric one – which she speculated was still 4-5 years from being delivered.

Mike Hudson associate director at Turner and Townsend, project manager for some of the UK's smartest clients, articulated client drivers for digital adoption moving from CapEx to OpEx phases of their projects. This, in turn offers opportunities for the democratisation of data, leading to greater social responsibility and better information management for the public good.

“Are we really asking the right questions and are we asking the right people? Are we using data in the way it could potentially be used? How can we democratise it across the entire ecosystem of a built asset? The end user is very rarely engaged during the procurement of a design”

Mike Hudson

Liam Southwood, innovation director at Nittygritty and product owner of Atvero started by outlining how Atvero meets the needs of distributed Project teams today by leveraging the search, indexing and ubiquity of Microsoft 365 SharePoint.

“Atvero [is] taking a platform which is mature and powerful, and layering on a bunch of stuff that doesn’t exist on that platform... the Atvero SharePoint Library brings the data layer in to play”

Liam Southwood

The challenge, which had been addressed by all participants previously is how to deliver a connected - rather than common - data environment, which recognises that most if not all construction stakeholders are already operating their own cloud systems and no longer have to rely on the uploading to and downloading from private extranets.

The shortcomings in interoperability of current systems have prompted organisations like the UK BIM Alliance and Building Smart International to launch efforts to develop standards to improve the portability of transactional data for project information management systems. At Atvero, we welcome this and are actively participating in these initiatives.Because construction is not going to escape the need for documents any time soon, Atvero's vision is to facilitate easy, transferable linkage of data to documents, with the mission: 'Stop uploading, start sharing!'.

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