Bricks And Bytes Podcast

Roman Baran – Canary Wharf Group – Q&A

roman baran canary wharf group digital construction

This Q&A is taken from the full podcast episode we recorded with Roman.

Q: Can you give us an overview of the Canary Wharf Group and the scale of development at Canary Wharf?

A: Canary Wharf is a 128-acre estate in London that has been developed by the Canary Wharf Group over the past 36 years. It includes over 2,200 residential units, with plans to double this number in the near future. The estate features five shopping malls, over 300 retail units, and more than 70 cafes, restaurants, and bars. Currently, Canary Wharf Group has over £2 billion in ongoing development, with 75% of that being residential.

Q: What is your role as Senior Manager of Digital Construction at Canary Wharf Contractors?

A: My role is to drive digital transformation and improve productivity, quality, safety, sustainability, and efficiency in our design and build processes. I work with internal and external stakeholders to identify gaps and implement software solutions that address business needs and provide value to the team.

Q: Can you describe Canary Wharf Group’s technology selection process?

A: We have a rigorous selection process that involves creating a working group with representatives from different departments, assessing the functionality of potential solutions, and testing them on live projects. We gather feedback from the team and make a decision based on the results and the value the solution provides.

Q: What advice would you give to construction technology entrepreneurs looking to sell to large contractors like Canary Wharf Group?

A: My advice would be to focus on finding a gap in the market and ensuring your solution addresses a real business need. Demonstrate the value your technology can provide and make sure it is user-friendly and scalable. Don’t just try to sell a shiny new feature; deeply understand the industry and the challenges contractors face.

Q: How do you see AI and data analytics impacting the future of construction?

A: I believe AI and data analytics will enable more informed, data-driven decision-making in construction. It will help optimise manual and repetitive tasks, improve overall productivity, and provide insights into areas such as workforce location and productivity. However, there are challenges to overcome, such as changing attitudes towards data collection and managing the vast amounts of data generated.

Q: Can you tell us about your experience pursuing a part-time PhD while working in the industry?

A: Pursuing a part-time PhD while working has allowed me to think critically about AI and productivity in construction, challenge my assumptions, and explore new perspectives. It has been a challenging but rewarding experience, requiring me to set priorities, minimize distractions, and learn how to learn efficiently. I believe the combination of academic research and practical industry experience can lead to valuable insights and innovations.

Q: What is your vision for the future of digital construction at Canary Wharf Group?

A: My vision is to continue driving digital transformation and adoption of new technologies that improve our processes and deliver value to our clients and stakeholders. I see a future where data-driven decision-making, AI-assisted planning and scheduling, and real-time monitoring of workforce productivity are the norm. By staying at the forefront of digital construction, we can build more efficiently, sustainably, and safely, while maintaining our position as a leader in the industry.

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