Digital Twins in the Construction Industry: A Comprehensive Review of Current Implementations, Enabling Technologies, and Future Directions
This paper presents a comprehensive understanding of current digital twin (DT) implementations in the construction industry, along with providing an overview of technologies enabling the operation of DTs in the industry. To this end, 145 publications were identified using a systematic literature review. The results revealed eight key areas of DT implementation including (i) virtual design, (ii) project planning and management, (iii) asset management and maintenance, (iv) safety management, (v) energy efficiency and sustainability, (vi) quality control and management, (vii) supply chain management and logistics, and (viii) structural health monitoring. The findings demonstrate that DT technology has the capacity to revolutionise the construction industry across these areas, enabling optimised designs, improved collaboration, real-time monitoring, predictive maintenance, enhanced safety practices, energy performance optimisation, quality inspections, efficient supply chain management, and proactive maintenance. This study also identified several challenges that hinder the widespread implementation of DT in construction, including (i) data integration and interoperability, (ii) data accuracy and completeness, (iii) scalability and complexity, (iv) privacy and security, and (v) standards and governance. To address these challenges, this paper recommends prioritising standardised data formats, protocols, and APIs for seamless collaboration, exploring semantic data modelling and ontologies for data integration, implementing validation processes and robust data governance for accuracy and completeness, harnessing high-performance computing and advanced modelling techniques for scalability and complexity, establishing comprehensive data protection and access controls for privacy and security, and developing widely accepted standards and governance frameworks with industry-wide collaboration. By addressing these challenges, the construction industry can unlock the full potential of DT technology, thus enhancing safety, reliability, and efficiency in construction projects.