Successfully Transforming the Built Environment: An interview with Glodon’s Pierpaolo Franco
By Tim Clark at Build in Digital
The construction industry is changing, reflecting the world’s growing focus on innovation and sustainability. Here, Tim Clark talks with Glodon’s vice-president for the European market, Pierpaolo Franco, about how a shift in mindset and a willingness to embrace new technologies can help the industry successfully transition.
The full potential of comprehensive digital solutions requires a shift in mindset.
Construction may be one of the largest employers worldwide, but it can also be one of the slowest to adopt innovations. This reluctance hinders its progress in an ever-changing industry.
Globally, governments are pushing for net-zero initiatives, and more clients and consumers are prioritising sustainability, resulting in an increased demand for sustainable construction solutions.
As a key player in the digital transformation of the construction industry, Glodon has recognised the need for change within the industry. With 25 years of experience in the sector, Glodon aims to meet the industry’s challenges throughout the lifecycle of construction projects with over 100 products and services.
“We do not develop point solutions or software applications you sign into from a website. At Glodon, we designed digital solutions for the industry to improve efficiency and innovation,” says Pierpaolo Franco, Glodon’s vice-president for the European market, who learned about technology and sustainability at the vast Taranto steel plants in Southern Italy during his early career.
“A successful technology needs to affect more than just one team; it needs to impact the whole organisation. Therefore, we need to bring people on board and educate [an organisation] on how to use the digital solution. Instead of just changing one aspect of technology or software, it changes many aspects of how people think or work.”
Changing the mentality of the construction sector can be a slow process at the best of times and look reminiscent of the problems faced by Taranto’s steel works, which can build a case for starting afresh.
Current construction processes are, arguably, too complex and digital construction has many terms, processes, and learning aspects. Each presents a barrier to new entrants, and Glodon strives to remove as many barriers as possible by offering user-friendly and practical solutions.
“Cloud-based platforms, BIM engines, IoT centres, data centres, 5G, artificial intelligence, and edge computing are all technical nightmares,” he says.
“At the end of the day, we need a solution that is easy to use and can be put into practice almost immediately.”
Glodon’s vision extends globally, as it seeks to leverage the experience of mature markets such as the UK while harnessing the global reach of its Chinese parent company. This approach encourages collaboration between established and emerging markets, facilitating innovation, and driving change within the construction industry.
Major initiatives undertaken by the firm include acquiring MagiCAD Group, which specialises in MEP design software, opening a big data research centre in Silicon Valley, accelerating digital building projects in the EU and SEA, and collaborating with international industry associations and universities to stay at the forefront of innovation.
Entering the UK market is important for Glodon.
“We believe that entering the UK market allows us to adapt what we have into another language used in many parts of the world,” Franco says. “But not only that, the UK is also where the built environment construction traditionally developed and inspired many other places.”
This plan took a step forward in May this year with the UK launch of Gsite 2.0, a centralised, integrated digital platform that takes digital construction management to the next level. The system offers BIM-enabled collaboration, streamlined workflows, and actionable data insights and can boost efficiency, reduce costs and risks, and foster organisational growth.
If implemented correctly, it could benefit clients in multiple jurisdictions as part of Glodon’s aim to lift innovation within construction. Glodon is facing the new challenges of streamlining digital construction head on.
This article is first published on the Build in Digital website