The ability to adapt to new technology trends and market demands is essential to the survival and growth of any business, including construction. Ever-changing construction laws, guidelines, building codes and regulations, influenced by environmental and socio-economic factors, require contractors to modernise their strategies and adopt software solutions that can help streamline their processes, reduce costs, and complete projects faster.
While most of the tasks and responsibilities involved in construction project management are yet to change, the growing pressure from stricter regulations, more dynamic competition, and higher client expectations can frequently render legacy systems and traditional approaches inadequate. Integrating digital tools and data-driven techniques can make a massive difference by breaking through team silos, enabling collaborations, automating repetitive processes, and improving site safety.
This article discusses how technology and data are transforming construction processes and improving results at every stage of the building life cycle. We explore the capabilities of construction management software and how to integrate them into project planning and execution.
1. Increase productivity through process optimisation and collaboration
Construction is a multifaceted process, with each step involving complex and sometimes redundant procedures. While most project managers have mastered the art of juggling multiple tasks, from scheduling and resource allocation to risk assessment and subcontractor management, they remain prone to making mistakes. Automating some of the tasks through the project management software can reduce the risk of human error.
Additionally, using sensors and cameras to monitor construction sites remotely can provide valuable data on construction progress, worker productivity, and site safety. This information can be used to make data-driven decisions that improve productivity and increase project efficiency.
2. Boost site safety to protect workers and prevent downtime
Digital construction management software can play a key role in boosting site safety, protecting workers, and preventing downtime on construction sites. From real-time monitoring to predictive maintenance, this technology offers a range of features and benefits that can help improve the overall safety and efficiency of construction projects. Introducing robotics and Internet of Things (IoT) can lower the risk of injuries and fatalities by eliminating the need to deploy workers to hazardous work areas. This advanced approach, known today as smart construction, integrates IoT into the BIM, controlling it through project management software for easy monitoring and quick response to incidents.
Part of smart project management on a construction site can involve the use of wearable devices, smart hard hats, and safety glasses to help workers stay aware of potential hazards and communicate with each other in real-time. These devices are linked to the project management software to allow for remote monitoring and data gathering. The software also supports automated safety reporting and analysis systems, helping contractors identify and address potential safety hazards, reducing the risk of accidents, and improving overall site safety.
3. Reduce cost through efficient resource management
Incorporating digital technology in construction not only increases productivity but also reduces the project’s overall cost. Automation can speed up processes, saving the contractor time and labour expenses. Collaborations through the BIM also help contractors, project managers, and field engineers visualise the project more clearly, allowing them to identify opportunities to reduce overheads.
Predictive analytics is also a critical component of project management software. It helps contractors identify potential cost overruns before they occur and take proactive measures to avoid them. This reduces construction costs by precluding change orders and rework. The same feature can be used for tracking equipment maintenance needs, which helps prevent malfunctions that lead to costly delays.
4. Reduce carbon footprint
Construction has a long way to go to curtail its environmental impact. It remains one of Australia’s biggest waste-producing industries, accounting for 16% of the country’s total annual waste. Globally, the building sector generates 40% of the CO2 emissions. However, the numbers are gradually improving as green building and sustainable construction continues to gain popularity – and the buildings themselves are not the only ones saving energy. Construction projects are also cutting energy use and waste production through digital construction management technology.
Data analytics are employed in various aspects of a construction project to help maximise resources. For instance, it analyses historical data, particularly the lifecycle carbon emissions of different building materials, and identifies the most sustainable options. It is also used to optimise supply chain management and reduce the carbon footprint of transportation by reducing the distance materials and supplies need to travel.
Contractors also use digital construction technology in managing equipment maintenance. Optimising maintenance schedules, reducing idling time, and avoiding equipment downtime can help reduce emissions and prevent fuel misuse. Once a luxury that only large contractors can afford, renewable energy sources like solar have become more common.
5. Improve document management using cloud-based storage
Construction document management software can improve document management by using cloud-based storage and automation. The software allows for easy access and collaboration among team members, automates various document management processes, improves document organization, provides enhanced security, and facilitates collaboration. This technology offers a range of features that streamline document management processes and improve the overall efficiency of construction projects.
Digital construction document management helps construction managers automate workflows by providing a centralized platform for storing, accessing, and collaborating on construction documents. This enables project managers and site engineers to review, modify, and approve documents, as well as sign off on completed work, from any location using a computer or mobile device. The software allows for real-time collaboration, reducing the time and effort required for document approval and reducing the risk of errors and delays. Automated workflows also ensure that all necessary approvals and signatures are in place before work can begin, which can help improve project management efficiency and speed up the overall construction process. The ability to review and approve documents from any location also makes it easier for project managers and site engineers to stay informed and up-to-date on the progress of the project, even when they are not physically present on the construction site.
6. Stay compliant with regulations and on top of every task
Continually evolving laws, compliance codes and building regulations are among the primary drivers of construction innovation. These laws and regulations encompass not just the building process and site safety; they can also cover other critical aspects of the business, including employment, taxes, contracts, payment security, site safety measures, and environmental protection.
Monitoring to ensure that the construction project complies with all these regulations can be extremely difficult without the help of digital solutions. For example, construction project management software allows contractors to generate customised building inspection and audit checklists based on compliance requirements. They can program the system to analyse reports and identify areas that fall short of the standards with pinpoint accuracy. This technology has helped countless construction companies avoid non-compliance and perform their legal obligations at all times.
In conclusion, data-driven technology is having a profound impact on the construction industry, transforming the way projects are managed and executed. From improving site safety to streamlining document management, data-driven technology is offering new and innovative solutions that help construction managers work smarter, not harder.
The ability to collect, analyze, and use data in real-time is providing construction professionals with valuable insights into project performance, helping them to identify areas for improvement and make informed decisions. The integration of data-driven technology into construction processes is not only improving efficiency but also helping to reduce risks and increase profitability.
As the construction industry continues to evolve and embrace new technologies, it is clear that data-driven technology will play an increasingly important role in shaping the future of construction.
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