Meeting a Growing Efficiency Imperative in Construction with Technology
Growth in the construction industry, coupled with tight labor supply, is creating an increasing efficiency imperative in the industry. While spending on U.S. construction projects rose to an all-time high in January, labor shortages continue to be a major concern for contractors with a vast majority indicating they are having a hard time filling positions. To cope with growing demand and labor shortages, firms are turning to technology to take a more efficient approach to project management and delivery.
Some of the technologies construction firms are using to increase efficiency include cloud technology to connect project stakeholders and workflows, mobile technology for seamless collaboration, and coordination in the field and construction project management platforms that integrate both mobile and cloud technology to efficiently manage all stages of a project—from preconstruction to closeout.
Cloud technology is accelerating the digital transformation of the construction industry and industries across all sectors. Gartner forecasts the worldwide public cloud services market to grow 17% in 2020 to total $266.4 billion, up from $227.8 billion in 2019. Sid Nag, research vice president at Gartner says, “at this point, cloud adoption is mainstream.”
Secure, accessible cloud technology enables construction firms to store and manage the vast amounts of data generated by construction projects. Powerful insights provided by this data can help firms increase productivity and efficiency, improve jobsite safety and reduce risks.
Cloud-based systems do all this by connecting distributed construction project stakeholders with information that optimizes workflows and enhances real-time collaboration. Instant access to the most up-to-date information provides a comprehensive project overview that can surface needed insights for improving efficiency across the entire project. This can help contractors manage risks and reduce the potential for construction disputes and litigation.
Poor team communication can add up to big losses in efficiency. Mobile apps make communication and collaboration on projects easier. Because of this, mobile technology is fast becoming a top priority for construction professionals. According to a JB Knowledge 2019 Construction Technology Report, 48.5% of construction firms ranked mobile integration and capabilities as very important when making software purchasing decisions and 40.9% considered these capabilities important.
From the field to the office, mobile technology connects all project stakeholders, allowing issues to be resolved quickly, drawings to be updated in real-time, RFIs to be responded to instantly and data to be shared across the entire project team in real-time. Apps on mobile devices can also be used for time tracking, generating reports, managing documents and inventory, as well as documenting project progress, which leads to more integration, collaboration and communication.
This real-time data collection and accessibility of information allows for seamless coordination, and improved accuracy of information in the field which can boost productivity and reduce the amount of rework. With mobile technology, jobsites are more efficient and contractors get the field data they need to understand the status of projects and make more informed decisions for better project outcomes.
CONSTRUCTION PROJECT MANAGEMENT PLATFORMS
The distributed nature of construction projects often creates data silos, leading to errors and inefficiencies that cause major headaches for contractors. Construction firms are turning to project management platforms to break down these silos. As construction companies increase their investment in information technology in 2020, most will increase investments in project management software.
Construction project management platforms handle every aspect of a construction project, from bid management to invoicing to job scheduling to change order management and much more. The technology provides a central repository of information that eliminates communication bottlenecks associated with tasks like RFIs, submittals, drawing management and reporting.
Efficiency losses in construction most often occur when information is not transmitted effectively between project stakeholders. Construction management platforms, which capture all construction team member interactions, are key to making practices more efficient and elevating the quality of work. These platforms provide a single point of data entry and central repository of information that increases operational efficiency by facilitating communication and collaboration in every stage of the project life cycle.
Construction project management platforms also eliminate duplicate data entry, which saves time, reduces errors and ensures team members have the most current information faster. The real-time information and insights provided by the technology allow for data-driven decision making that is vital to avoiding cost overruns and schedule delays that negatively impact the bottom line.
Construction firms are turning to productivity-enhancing digital technologies to become more efficient in an environment of increased demand and labor shortages. Cloud-based technologies, mobile apps and construction project management platforms that integrate these technologies can help mitigate rising labor costs, while increasing efficiency and delivering better projects.