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November 07 Businessexcellence 67 is based around managing the flow of information, using the power of recent advances in computer technology, and implementing best practice processes to improve the way a construction project moves from initial drawing to finished structure. He calls it 5DBIM (building information modeling). “We’re not going to get a higher strength steel, or concrete, or a different type of glass,” he says. “The opportunities are there in the way we communicate and the way we transmit information.” Webcor invested in Stanford University’s Center for Integrated Facility Engineering (CIFE) to try to harness advances in technology. “We’re right here in the heart of Silicon Valley,” says Ball, “with all these great innovative geniuses; I said, ‘let’s benefit from this’. So we started to look at how we could take this technology and apply it to architecture, engineering and construction.” One of Ball’s major irritations is the endless duplication of effort in construction. “Duplication is rampant in WebcorBuilders The construction industry finds it hard to embrace change, but it does have pioneers striking out for new ground. One such is Andrew J. Ball, who joined Californiabased Webcor when it merged with his former company A.J. Ball Construction in 1994. When Webcor’s founders retired in 2000, Ball became president and CEO. The company now employs over 1,400 people, with over $2.6 billion in open contracts, and is ranked No 1 by volume on various lists of the top contractors in California. From Oracle World Headquarters to the W Hotels in San Francisco and San Diego, Webcor has built many of California’s landmark buildings in the last 30 years. Current projects include the California Academy of Sciences, The Millennium Tower and The Infinity in San Francisco. “Value through innovation” is Webcor’s motto, and innovation fuels Ball’s vision of the future. Ball has implemented a raft of changes at Webcor, but he has not invented a new construction material, nor a new method of erecting buildings. His vision