Project data structure - CIMIC’s digital barcode

August 19, 2022
  • Innovation

A key component of CIMIC Group’s Integrated Digital Delivery strategy has been the successful development of our Project Data Structure (PDS) – a consistent approach to coding and mapping data.

The PDS enables us to connect our systems, applications, devices, and workflows across our capabilities and project lifecycle phases. It is a building block that all our operating companies can leverage to support ongoing digitisation.

The PDS was developed by CPB Contractors, in collaboration with EIC Activities, Leighton Asia and Broad Construction. In a true team effort, the work group that defined the PDS to enable its use was led by CPB Contractors’ Robert Kawczyk, supported by Jason McGavin, Duncan Latham, Jim Bilson and EIC Activities' Ken Buchanan, along with many other contributors and advisors from across CIMIC Group.

CPB Contractors Project Manager Robert Kawczyk said: “The PDS provides a common way to search for all sorts of digital information including costs, dates and quality information across many applications to better understand project performance.  The PDS dramatically reduces the need to connect information through unconnected spreadsheets and other manual systems.”

EIC Activities Senior Planning Manager, Ken Buchanan said: “Project teams can use the PDS to connect critical operational information (intelligent data) and use digital tools to collaborate and streamline work processes. In time this will mean teams can leverage whole of project data when using a range of tools to capture progress and resource usage in real time, compare planned to actual time and cost performance, improve decision making, augment solutions and ESG outcomes.”

Project Data Structure

How it works

The PDS provides a digital ‘barcode’ that turns data inputs into carefully associated groups and categories that inform construction.

It's a coding structure that addresses three consistent questions:

  • Where – The Location Structure
  • Who – The Discipline Structure
  • What – The Deliverable Asset Structure

Elements are identified in the project model and their attributes are described according to their location, discipline and asset codes.

The same elements and attributes from the model are used to organise the work breakdown and the activities in the project.

By identifying and consistently applying the primary attributes for communicating construction elements we dramatically improve the integration of information and our decision making.

It’s important to note that the PDS does not replace any existing coding - it does however provide a consistent way to identify and describe project information.

Project Data Structure

Speaking the same language

CIMIC Executive General Manager Information Systems and Digital Innovation, Rob Stuart said: “With PDS we describe the common elements of work in the same way.”

This enables people and applications to acquire consistent information in dramatically quicker timeframes, across all project functions.

“With the PDS we can leverage powerful technology concepts like BIM, 4D and 5D, to efficiently connect to reporting tools like Power BI and Trello using common software platforms from Autodesk, Trimble and Bentley.  Sharing valuable reliable information quickly is a powerful advantage in our work delivering complex major projects and services.”

Key benefits

Key benefits of the PDS are that:

  • It enables project programmes to be built in much shorter time frames, with improved consistency, flexibility and reliability (programme preparation in days rather than weeks).
  • Tender teams are identifying challenges sooner and have more time to develop winning solutions.
  • Delivery teams and multiple functions gain the benefits of consistent and single source information, including cost, productivity, resource, quality, safety, environmental and commissioning.
  • Available to all CIMIC operating companies to support ongoing digitisation.


The PDS is implemented in the Construction Management System and has been piloted on a number of our projects. Current tenders are deploying the PDS within their systems and practices.

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