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Hi-Tech Engineering Design Solutions

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Construction Industry Needs Digitized Project-Management Work Flows

Bhushan Avsatthi
Mar 31, '17 3:10 AM EST

What are leading building construction companies across the globe worried about? Staying a step ahead of the pace of change, followed with increasing complex building construction projects and ever increasing consumer expectations and of course; adopting innovations that are applicable to the construction sector.

CEOs or chairs of building construction giants across UK, USA, Europe and Middle-east, affirmed that the construction sectors is experiencing immense thrust in terms of growth, leadership, risk and strategic trends. However; the most prominent one is experienced in the adoption of digital solutions for construction, which is aimed at delivering a seamless and real time experience for all involved in the overall construction process.

The dignitaries were of a consensus that new digital technologies, such as CAD drafting and 3d modeling have succeeded big time in bringing the “paperless building site” close to reality. In order to attain this; construction companies should invest in, and take interest in advanced equipments, technology and training. They also should ensure that electrical and mechanical engineers are given due importance as civil engineers, for making a building or infrastructure construction project - successful.

Digital solutions for construction or process digitization are all about moving away from paper and towards online real time sharing of information. They ensure transparency and collaboration, timely progress and risk assessment, quality control; ultimately resulting in improved, reliable and cost effective outcomes. But if McKinsey & Company were to be believed, today building projects with multiple complexities tend to take 20% longer to finish than scheduled, and cost approx. 80% over budget.

Poor Performance of Construction Industry

One of the main reasons cited for the poor performance of the construction industry is that most of the players still rely on paper documentations including blueprints, design drawings, procurement and supply-chain orders, equipment logs, daily progress reports, and punch lists; to manage their processes and deliverables.

Information sharing gets delayed substantially in absence of digitization; making contractors, construction companies and owners work from different versions of reality. Secondly, use of paper makes it all the more difficult to capture and analyze construction data, which is of so much importance in contracting and procurements; as historical performance analytics has the potential to lead towards better risk management and outcomes.

Paper trails especially mismanaged ones; are known for spurring unpleasant arguments and discussion between contractors and owners on topics such as construction progress, change orders, and claims management.

Owners and contractors have started deploying digital-collaboration and field mobility solutions. The latest is a cloud-based, mobile-enabled field-supervision platform that integrates project planning, engineering, physical control, budgeting, and document management for building construction projects. Construction industry is in need of digitized project-management work flows.

How exactly digitized project-management work-flows help the construction industry?

Design Management

  • Visualize 2D drafts, drawings and BIM ready 3D models on-site, with help of mobile platforms
  • Blueprints updated with latest amendments, conveniently accessible in the field with markups, annotations & hyperlinks

Scheduling

  • Creating, assigning and prioritization of tasks on real time basis, followed with online tracking of work in progress
  • Workers can conveniently access the work plans and schedules, resulting in no delayed work and hence; projects
  • Mobile notifications; push and pull, to every contractor and sub-contractor involved in the construction process

Contract Management

  • Update and track contract compliance checklists
  • Easy to maintain standardized communication checklists
  • Handily available updated record for all clients and contractor communications

Materials Management

  • Easy identification, tracking, and locating of materials, spools and equipments across the entire supply chain stores and work front

Documentation Management

  • Upload and distribute documents for reviewing, editing, and recording latest decisions made
  • Allow universal project search across any and every building construction phase

Crew tracking

  • Real time status update on overall crew deployed across sites
  • Number of active working hours
  • Entry/exit of crew in restricted areas, etc.

Quality Control

  • Easy remote site inspections with help of pictures and tags shared through construction mobile apps
  • Updation and tracking of live punch lists, across projects to expedite project closure within the deadline

Performance Management

  • Monitoring the progress and performance across teams across construction sites
  • Develop and deliver automated dashboards created from readily available field data
  • Offer staffing updates and past reports generated on handheld devices

Early bird benefits

Several other industries have witnessed the trend that first movers have built a sustainable competitive advantage. In the construction sector; history is likely to repeat itself. In the coming decade, winners of tomorrow or the early birds are likely to take the lead in technology and digitization. Resisting change is no longer an option for the construction industry.

It is time the construction industry is set free from that ingrained mentality and practicality of not wasting time on chasing new technology that doesn’t perform better if compared to conventional methods.