The construction industry is currently facing serious transparency and accountability problems. It comes as no surprise, then, when we hear that the efficiency rate in the building sector is more or less 30%. On top of that, the rework rates are normally from 7% to 15% for each project.
To make matters worse, the complexity of an average construction project is constantly increasing. As a result, the collaboration and the communication between the various parties is becoming harder and harder.
However, the good news is that the emergence of digital technologies has already started changing the way we work in construction. In his recently published report, named “Modernise or Die”, Mark Farmer is talking about the future of the UK Construction and mentions that there is an imminent need for the industry to embrace the use of digital tools during the construction process.
Despite his convincing arguments, there are still many who can’t see clearly what the true value is for the global construction industry if we decide to establish a more inclusive and data driven construction process.
For that reason, we decided to dig deeper into this topic and present to you the different ways in which digital tools can empower the exchange of information between the construction site and the office.
What digital tools mean for the construction process
As we already noticed above, digitization can truly transform the building sector. The ability to communicate in real-time with the other project agents can boost efficiency and build stronger trust between the members of the team. This might not sound so impressive, but it can make a great difference when we are talking about optimizing the construction process.
In short, here are the various benefits that digitization may entail for the construction industry:
- Real-time collaboration. First things first, the ability to communicate in real-time with everyone who is involved with your project is surely one of the keys to success. In that way, you can protect the progress of your project from serious mistakes and you can avoid painful delays that may lead you over budget. This unhindered information flow will also help you with improving your decision-making skills. By having a complete overview of everything that is taking place on site, you can be confident that everything around the project is proceeding according to the initial schedule. For that reason, you should consider the implementation of a reliable real-time project management tool as a very beneficial investment both in short and long term.
- Accountability. When it comes to accountability, it is safe to claim that the construction industry has wasted many years without finding a solid solution. The right tools for properly monitoring the development of a project, from conception to completion, exist for more than a decade now. Nevertheless, a significant number of construction agents haven’t managed to take the most out of them. Being sure regarding who is responsible for what and when is extremely powerful when we are talking for a building project. In that way, you can always be sure that you have the right people in your team and that you can easily detect and remove any squeaky wheels.
- Astute transparency. We mentioned in the beginning of our article that accountability and transparency are two of the biggest nightmares for construction at the time being. Thanks to the incredible power of the collected data, you can easily tackle this issue and open up the construction process. There is already a serious demand for transparency in the building sector. The use of digital tools can satisfy this need and lead to a better understanding of the obstacles that people in construction have to overcome. At the moment, 95% of the generated data in the building industry are thrown out of the window due to the lack of transparency. It goes without saying, then, that digital tools can facilitate the monitoring of the project. Most importantly, they can dramatically reduce the risk of poor resource allocation in the course of the project management process.
- Effective decision making. According to a recent article by The Economist, data should be seen as the modern world’s oil. And that is to great extent for the power that it offers to those who control it. By keeping close track of your collected data, you can find answers to the vast majority of your problems in construction. This may sound as an exaggeration, but it actually isn’t. Just to name a few benefits, data can help you with the following:
– Predict the new trends in the industry
– Foresee costly mistakes
– Tackle project delays
– Provide feedback for your future strategy
– Set up your long term success
It’s evident, then, that data driven decisions can truly empower the construction process and improve considerably the connection between the office and the site.
- Easier transition to the era of automation. The time where almost every single process will be automated is approaching. It’s not a distant scenario anymore. Through the use of digital tools you can be confident that the transition to the new era will be as smooth as possible. The implementation of cutting-edge technology, such as AR or BIM, can be much simpler if you and your team are already familiar with the concept of digitization. An automated construction process will allow for measurable and by extension precise conclusions to be made. This combination of the automation with scalability can eventually lead to a less error-prone industry and to the establishment of trust between the collaborated project parties.
- More inclusive construction process. In a nutshell, it becomes evident that digital tools can contribute to a more inclusive construction process where the flow of information is unhindered. This can both make the construction process faster but it can also generate a stronger feeling of responsibility and belonging to every project agent. In other words, everyone would start investing more attention and effort on their tasks, if they consider themselves as vital parts of the project that can truly make a difference. This mental shift would eventually lead to a more efficient and proud building industry.
To sum up, it is time for the construction industry to regain its great pride and to rebuild its damaged reputation. We are talking about an industry with a total value of $10 trillion and with average global budget overruns of 80%. This has to stop and digitization might be the way to do it. All that we need is a carefully elaborated plan and the support of the construction world.