Cobuilder is an international software company with over 20 years of experience in delivering technological solutions that enhance information management in the construction industry. Headquartered in Oslo, Norway, Cobuilder has established wholly-owned subsidiaries in England, France and Bulgaria.

Interview with Lars Chr. Fredenlund, CEO of Cobuilder.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

Lars Chr. Fredenlund: Cobuilder strives to digitize the construction industry and create a better built environment by implementing new-age information management practices. We apply technologies in one of the least digitized and most energy-consuming and polluting industries to support its sustainable growth. We connect the construction industry to its digital future.

Our focus is on data and construction data management. We believe that achieving a common, standardized, digital language in construction is the way to digitally transform the industry and make it smarter. This would open the doors for numerous technological advantages such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, leading to automation of manual processes, cost reductions, increased efficiency and speeding up the transition to net-zero construction.

However, achieving a common digital language in such a complex industry is possible only through the application of standards – the credible industry-agreed knowledge. This is why, we developed a new-age software platform that employs all relevant international standards for data management, which helps different construction players make a crucial step toward the practical execution of their digital transformation strategy. The first step of which is data standardization.

E.E: What’s the news for 2021?

L.C.F: In April 2021, IBM, Cobuilder and Red Hat announced the launch of OpenBuilt – an industry-lead platform being developed by the technology providers and a cross-industry ecosystem of five partners.

At Cobuilder we see OpenBuilt as a true game-changer because the platform is designed to translate all the abstract promises of BIM, VDC and other digitalization initiatives into practical means.

To enable collaboration and interoperability through a common digital language, Cobuilder will provide our state-of-the-art technology for developing trusted, agreed, standard-based Data Templates as the foundation for data structuring within OpenBuilt.

E.E: What are the ranges of products?

L.C.F: Cobuilder offers an integrated software platform that provides information management solutions for different construction actors – from manufacturers, associations and authorities to contractors and design teams. Our solutions enable the users to create, capture and exchange standardized information (as digital data).

The Data Templates methodology is the backbone of our IT platform. It provides a common, industry-agreed way to support all actors in their digital transformation. A Data Template is a common data structure describing the characteristics (called ‘properties’) of a construction object, and its physical qualities, according to a credible source of information – be it a standard or a regulation. Structuring construction information in Data Templates is the key to building robust data strategies and data-centric collaboration.

Cobuilder Define is a solution for authoring, managing, and sharing Data Templates within a common data dictionary framework. Data Templates are used to communicate information about building elements, materials, products, systems etc. through digital means, guaranteeing seamless information exchange with any third-party software.

Cobuilder Define Video

Cobuilder goBIM helps manufacturers and merchants, to structure and maintain their product data accurate and up to date, improve automation within their organization and access the digital market. Thus, ensuring designers, engineers, and contractors are working with truly valuable and meaningful information.

On the other hand, Cobuilder Collaborate helps clients and contractors achieve a new level of collaboration across the supply chain. It is a product suite within the platform that is unique in its collaborative approach to data collection and automated data checking. It allows developers and construction teams to close the gap between as-designed and as-built. By using Cobuilder Collaborate, clients and contractors can easily set information requirements, collect data directly from the supply chain, automatically check it against the initial requirements and deliver eligible data.

In addition, we offer API automation services and a variety of plugins to enable organizations to use their data in any software or system of their choice.

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

L.C.F: The construction industry is still among the least digitalized sectors in the world and one of the biggest consumers of energy and raw materials. There are many challenges in the industry, such as the rising costs of materials, bad communication among industry stakeholders, and material wastage. However, most of these issues are connected and the continuous adoption of digital technologies will ease some of the pain points.

At this stage, construction is mature to embrace the opportunities that innovation and technology provide. But to take advantage of the newest technologies, construction stakeholders have to realize the importance of information management and data. Construction data is at the core of any digital progress, and we are happy to notice that more and more stakeholders are starting to pay attention to their information management practices.

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

L.C.F: Digital capabilities and environmental awareness are the market trends to reshape the construction sector, and we believe that digitalization initiatives and green construction will keep gaining momentum.

In 2021 and beyond, we will undoubtedly see a shift towards a more digitally-enabled construction sector. People and organizations are realizing that this transformation is essential for the future development of the industry.

This is why, information management – the way we structure and maintain the data that enables all digital processes, is becoming ever so important.

Another key trend is the rising awareness and commitment to improving sustainability in the sector. With the growing number of concerns about climate change, there is a huge pressure on the industry to reduce its negative impact on the environment. The path to a sustainable future is related to the responsible use of materials and energy, improving manufacturing processes and lowering emissions.

E.E: What estimations do you have for 2021?

L.C.F: As we move beyond the pandemic, the construction industry is facing a number of challenges that are likely to have a lasting impact over the coming years. Despite its devastating effect, the crisis has also taught us some important lessons and it might represent a great opportunity to solve some of the industry’s historical challenges and prepare us for a more digital future. To respond to these pressures, the industry needs good quality, trusted data that will enable the digital transformation of the sector.

To discover how your organization can benefit from applying Cobuilder software solutions and Data templates methodology, please contact us at cobuilder.com.