Q&A: Digital Twins And Safety With Ciaran Hennessy
- 19 July 2021
- Lendlease Podium
At Lendlease, we are committed to the health and safety of our people. This means we focus on maintaining the health and wellbeing of our people and those who engage with our assets. We aim to improve our people’s lives by creating a workplace where they thrive and are more productive.
We also aim to eliminate incidents and injuries across all our operations and sites.
In collaboration with members in the Infrastructure Working Group of the Digital Twin Consortium, Lendlease has produced a special report on the role of digital twins and the impact they have on safety in construction.
We sit down with Ciaran Hennessy, Principal Architect at Lendlease Digital and Chair of the Infrastructure Working Group of the Digital Twin Consortium, to get the 101 on digital twins and the recent report – available to download now: How Digital Twins Breathe New Life - and Safety - into the Built World.
Firstly, how do you define digital twins?
The term ‘digital twin’ is being used with increasing frequency, but with little consistency, across multiple industries today. To date, while many have built upon the term with their own opinions of its definition; I prefer to refer to the definition that was recently published through the Digital Twin Consortium:
A digital twin is a virtual representation of real-world entities and processes, synchronized at a specified frequency and fidelity.
- Digital twin systems transform business by accelerating overall understanding, drive much better decision-making, and support actionable insights.
- Digital twins use real-time and historical data to represent the past and present and simulate predicted futures.
- Digital twins are motivated by outcomes, tailored to use cases, powered by integration, built on data, guided by domain knowledge, and should represent the way the world is.
Lendlease is a Founding Member of the Digital Twin Consortium
Why is digital twin technology such a game changer for the property and construction industries?
As a Developer, you have a piece of land. There are many constraints on that land. With digital twins, we can digitise these constraints and building regulations by city or region. We can optimise that geometry and match it with what the market is willing to bear for rents or sales of the asset.
As a Constructor, my first observation is that other industries develop a design and then optimise it using a digital twin. So while that is definitely on the agenda, we're also talking about using the technology to automatically generate the design. We think we could increase efficiency by up to 20%.
As an Owner, digital twins are not just about cost and performance. They must drive improvements in safety - both during construction and operation. Humans have to remain centre point of safety. Although the trajectory is obvious, more and more connected devices are augmenting the construction process. Robotics can, and will, replace unsafe practices – an example being the lifting of heavy objects into a place safely on an automated path of travel where real-time data feedback loops provide accurate positioning.
Digital twins will also help in the drive towards a sustainable, greener future - less waste and greater resource efficiency, as well as helping to drive data-based proof points, which is a key enabler of net zero and the circular economy in the built environment.
As Lendlease continues to develop Podium, the industry’s first end-to-end property lifecycle platform, how does the concept of digital twins fit into the picture?
Digital twins, and the information they carry are pivotal in ensuring seamless transition throughout the project lifecycle stages – enhancing and enriching the digital thread, providing predictive (closed loop performance) and performance metrics. The important aspect of a digital twin is thinking of them as a long-term asset, not just a tool for design or operations.
Our objective with Podium is creating a platform that enhances the value of digital twins, by enabling all the other business functions that make up the property value chain by enriching the digital thread (Scope, Cost, Schedule, Assets, Sustainability, Risk and supporting functions like Safely).
Design automation: Harnessing our proprietary CUBS™ standards, we can generate automated designs for our residential assets