Digitalization is making the world that we live in more connected than ever. This is especially important for industries that rely heavily on collaboration. The construction industry is a perfect example of this.
Just imagine the coordination between an architect working in a 3D modeling tool, a foreman checking in on plans via smartphone, and construction workers with wearable devices. It’s a system, unlike anything we’ve seen before.
Seeing as how it’s a mixture of on-site work, administrative oversight, and accounting processes, it’s one of the fields that has the most to gain from digitalization. Here are some examples of how and why this is already happening.
How fast was digitalization in the construction industry?
Digitalization in the construction industry is inevitable. It leads directly to:
- More accurate delivery
- Increased productivity
- Higher speed of work
- Better document quality
- Simpler working model
Sure, the construction industry heavily relies on heavy machinery and equipment the administrative and organizational parts can be completely revolutionized with the right platform.
With more equipment being hooked to the IoT and almost all employees having some type of wearable equipment (even if it’s just their phone), this will grow even faster.
One of the most important things is that all paperwork is cloud-based. This means that it can be updated and sent to the crew at a moment’s notice. Edits, updates, and the ability to recheck things will make a difference.
Even when it comes to the QS and QA, tracking the construction quality checklist will be a lot easier this way.
What rushed digitalization in the construction industry?
There’s a reason why digitalization in this field is necessary for the construction industry. In the past several years, the industry faced many different challenges. For instance:
- Labor shortage
- Project delays
- Compliance issues
- Low worker productivity
- Reporting problems
- The rising cost of materials
The labor shortage problem was especially troublesome. Younger generations show no interest in becoming construction workers.
Even with pay increases, the appeal of this industry hasn’t risen significantly. According to multiple surveys, the average age of the construction worker is 43. Higher use of technology has made this industry more appealing.
By digitalizing the industry, the costs of projects are significantly lower. This somewhat makes up for the rising cost of materials. Also, with more accurate estimates and higher productivity, delays, and problems are less likely.
Since reporting is automatic, the troubles on this end are also eliminated.
Digital tools have improved, as well. Commonly, a tool is not widely used in its early stages. Today, these platforms are more sophisticated. Also, they’re industry standard, which means that their implementation is no longer the risk it was earlier perceived to be.
Examples of digitalization in the construction industry
While the benefits of digitalization are clear to everyone, the construction industry is a bit peculiar.
Here are several examples of digitalization in the construction industry.
Lower paper trail
One of the best features of digitalization is that it lowers paper use in the industry. By itself, the construction industry is not the cleanest of the bunch. So, any change for the better is welcome.
Second, not having to rummage through stacks of documents makes things quicker. There are many reports, compliances, and orders in the construction industry. When digitalized, it’s much easier to find anything you’re looking for. With a content management system, you can find structured data at a second’s notice.
This also makes things more straightforward from a legal standpoint. After all, there’s no risk of a document missing. There’s also no risk of human error. The automated process handles this in the simplest, most efficient way possible.
The most important thing is that sharing becomes a lot easier this way. Since every site supervisor and foreman already has a phone on them, notifying them about a change of plans is simpler than ever.
Building Information Modeling is a cutting-edge technology that predicts potential construction hazards long before they occur. This increases construction site safety and makes on-site evaluation far more accurate.
Projections made this way are more accurate, which leads directly to cost and resource savings. This way, fewer materials are wasted, and fewer materials need to be transported. Both of these things save resources and the environment.
BIM can be used to discover new ways to save costs by predicting errors and reducing the need for corrective work. It also helps the architect find more cost-effective materials.
Most importantly, it reduces the likelihood of human error in the planning stage. This means fewer delays. At the very least, it means reliably predicting some of these delays, which is already a plus.
While data software is always present in construction, with the new analytics software, it’s easier to find the one that meets the needs of your construction company. With it, you can reduce risks, improve project performance, and increase efficiency.
The majority of these platforms include features like:
- Photo documentation
- Plan distribution and viewing
- Document sharing
These are essential elements of successful construction project collaboration.
They are also easy to use, provide daily logs, and have decent customer service.
One thing worth mentioning is that not all platforms have all the features. For instance, you would be surprised to learn that some of these tools lack accounting software/features.
This is especially important since some construction managers could use the help with accounting fundamentals. Others may even lack drawing tools or PDF forms. This is why it’s so important that you do your research before committing to one.
Ideally, you would look for something beginner-friendly, elaborate, and a tool that allows time tracking.
Even in the construction industry, time is a finite resource.
The construction industry faced various challenges in the past decade, from labor shortages to material cost increases. How it was able to adapt and survive was through technology. Still, it’s not out of the woods yet.
With the help of digitalization, it may finally get back on track and become stronger than ever. Cost reduction, increased appeal for the younger workforce, and improved workflow are benefits of digitalization in the construction industry.