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Last edited 15 Apr 2021
OpenBuilt supply chain technology platform
Companies across the built environment and construction industry - including architects, building material suppliers, manufacturers, construction and engineering firms - are moving away from largely manual processes and adopting digital alternatives in an effort to develop more effective ways of working.
As part of this trend, IBM, Red Hat and Cobuilder are collaborating on a technology platform that connects construction industry supply chains. Named OpenBuilt, the platform will permit companies to connect their current technology platforms and digital solutions securely to partners, suppliers or subcontractors in their supply chain through a single integration hub. The platform will incorporate Red Hat OpenShift running on IBM Cloud.
- Establishing OpenBuilt using Red Hat OpenShift running on IBM Cloud to enable construction companies to adopt a hybrid cloud approach and connect their supply chain. To maintain consistent technical language, OpenBuilt will use Cobuilder's data templates to structure all data in a way that allows for machine-readability and interoperability with existing and future systems.
- Integration of independent software vendors to make an array of software and services accessible. IBM solutions and Salesforce open APIs will be integrated into the platform during the development to enable users to build functionality into their intelligent workflows.
- Development of new applications including a solution that will enable organisations to search, filter and sort building product technical data. Cobuilder's data dictionary solution Define will be among the fundamental technologies enabling the use of a common language within the initial OpenBuilt flagship applications.
 Collaboration partners
The cross industry partnership seeks to provide a platform that is suitable for all forms of buildings (residential, industrial, commercial, hospitals, schools), all economic infrastructure (civil engineering infrastructure, above and below ground) and the urban space and landscape between and around buildings and infrastructure.
Other representatives in the development process include:
- CEMEX, a global building materials company.
- EDIN Network, a global network of merchants, manufacturers and service providers.
- Sol Services, a regional mechanical, electrical and fit out organisation.
- Backe, a family owned construction and property development company with operations throughout Norway.
- Element Materials Technology, a global provider of testing, inspection and certification services for materials, products and technologies in advanced industrial supply chains.
Mark Farmer, CEO of Cast Consultancy and Independent Champion for Modern Methods of Construction in Homebuilding for UK Government, commented, “In pursuing the broad goal of construction industry transformation, there is a critical need to break down the deep silos and fragmentation that exists in how we organise and operate design, manufacture, construction and operation processes.
“This is equally true in the emerging digitalisation challenge. To create more strategic and scalable intelligent workflows, we need data and software to be part of a fully connected ecosystem. The concept of digital platforms is nothing new, but if construction is ever going to realise the full potential of some of the technology solutions that are now proliferating, and if those solutions are ever going to be given the chance to scale to maturity, then there is a need for market leadership in creating a unifying platform that can host these solutions and enables interoperability.
“What IBM and partners are offering through OpenBuilt is the opportunity to act as a digital integrator at an international and industry wide level, gluing together what is becoming an increasingly fragmented digital marketplace for construction technology solutions. This is an important step forward which has great potential to make our industry more efficient”.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Beyond BIM: Knowledge management for a smarter built environment.
- Cloud computing.
- Collaborative practices for building design and construction.
- Enterprise resource planning ERP.
- Fragmentation of the UK construction industry.
- Supply chains in construction.
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