Are your construction projects always overtime or over budget? These are very serious issues in the construction industry, but you should know that you are not alone.
More and more construction projects are facing these kinds of ordeal despite the availability of technology onsite. Professor of Major Programme Management at Oxford University, Bent Flyvbjerg, claims 90% of the construction projects around the world are either over budget or delayed.
But why are delays and over budgeting still happening when there are now construction apps? Construction project management tools were designed to make planning, budgeting, scheduling, collaboration and monitoring more efficient than the good old time logbooks. Mismanagement can then be assumed as the main cause of these problems as the technology still needs human input to work.
Indeed, we are now in the era of ultimate modernization with automation becoming the trend in most construction sites. Cranes, tracks, and other equipment are now remote controlled but commands to these remotes are, obviously, still human decisions. Hence, streamlining the technology in the construction industry greatly requires employee training and engagement.
This goes the same with the use of construction management technologies. Sure, management is the responsibility of the project manager but injecting technology in the processes will need the cooperation of all crew members. Implementation of technology at the site can only be successful when everyone accepts it and learns how to leverage it. Besides, a management tool can never be called such when it doesn’t have channels it will manage.
So your first step in streamlining the construction project management process in your project is to introduce your chosen tech, train people on how to use them, do a dry run, and if it works, have it deployed.
Making Employees Master Onsite Technology
There are a couple of technologies that a construction project can use. Some are even custom created for a specific project like 3D printing and Artificial Intelligence.
When choosing to build some phases of the building through 3D print, both the software and the printing process can be customized, depending on your design. AI is the same. AI is now being integrated with most construction project management software for comparing real-time progress with the planned schedule. This way, it’s easy for AI to recognize signs of possible delay and give recommendations on how to cope with it.
While these seem to be complex for laborers to learn, they still have huge participation in streamlining technology – most especially the construction management software – at the construction site.
Let’s first look into the different tech tools used these days in making the construction site a less stressful workplace for both the crew members and the project manager.
Modern Technology for Improved Construction Management Processes
Efficient construction management isn’t the work of the project manager alone. With a lot of people and equipment to handle, workers, at the very least, should learn how to cooperate. The project’s success is a product of teamwork, after all.
Both parties then should learn about all rising technologies for them to be effective. Doing so will also ensure that your firm steps up on top of the competition.
In our previous blog about How Tech is Revolutionizing the Construction Industry, we listed some of the areas in a construction project that now leverages technology. We gave a preview of some of the tech tools used in those areas too.
But in this blog, we are going to detail these tech tools plus some other innovations recently taking up space in the construction industry.
1. BIM/Virtual Design
CAD is out because BIM is what’s popular now. Building Information Modeling has taken 3D modeling to a whole new level. It has made designing faster, easier, and with fewer errors as it brings all components of a building in one place. It is a virtual representation of the project plan as well as the progress. So it hasn’t only made project designing more efficient but so as other construction management processes.
2. Construction Project Management Software
Nothing beats a project management software in keeping both the PM and the workers updated with everything that’s going on at the construction site. Project management software like Pro Crew sends real-time updates to all members, making each of them guided on what activities should come next. Issues are easily detected here, too, allowing PMS and the client to meet for some countermeasure. Furthermore, workflows are posted in the system and can be opened on mobile phones, making it easier for everyone to see which tasks need immediate action. This then makes the project move faster.
3. Construction ERP Software
Software is indeed making an impact in the construction industry. ERP systems are a way for a project manager to make more informed decisions as he can access data or a previous successful project. ERP software combines data on accounting, equipment management, documentation, inventory, and more into one so it will be easier for a PM to find relevant data that will help manage the new project. This is especially true when problems arise.
4. Document ImagingThe construction industry has long been stimulating its operations by obsoleting papers. You will even notice that construction offices are now free from cabinets and prints as all important documents are now saved on the cloud.
Files made digital include invoices, receipts, plans, order slips, time logs, performance reports, and all other aspects of construction that need documentation. If papers can’t be avoided, most especially when supplies stores still use paper receipts, scanners are used to create a digital copy of them.
All these help the project manager achieve fully organized data storage. Consequently, errors are minimized and work becomes faster.
5. Intuitive KiosksIf you don’t know yet, high profile construction firms now use kiosks where data can be viewed readily. There are times when navigating through long documents can be more confusing, most especially for a worker who’s already very tired. It’s even more stressful for them when they still need to view the workflow from the small screen of their phones. This is why some construction companies are now installing intuitive kiosks or dashboards where the workflow and important supporting documents are the only ones posted for workers to see. For the PMs, this makes it easier for them to disseminate task distribution, hence ensuring productivity within the team.
6. Augmented and Virtual RealitiesThe improvements in AR and VR are greatly surprising the world. Apart from the gaming industry, these techs are also making it big in the construction industry.
Space is no longer a hindrance to improvement in any workplace. AR and VR headsets now make it possible for workers to connect with other people from different environments. Because of this, training is now more convenient and readily available anytime and anywhere.
And if you are worried about the efficiency of training held on AR environments, the quality of AR imagery has greatly improved now. This means the augmentation of 2 worlds is now highly accurate, thanks to the tech giants like Microsoft that are investing so much to create enterprise-class AR.
Demos of the latest AR glasses even shows how detailed space can be. So if you want to train a crew on how to operate a new model of the crane, pulling the specs from the internet is all you have to do and it will display the inside of a crane very accurately. Even the movements in the augmented environment correspond with the physical realm.
Following this, AR and VR have made training safer by building a virtual model of any element that’s needed for the training.
Some construction companies are employing AR to create an augmented version of the workplace. This can be greatly helpful to managers as he can walk through the job site without actually leaving his office.
7. AI and Machine LearningWhile construction isn’t the first place you’d imagine AI to be, it’s one of the industries that’s in great need of this technology.
As already mentioned earlier, AI makes it possible to go over all inputs in a construction project management software. This makes it useful in different ways to almost everyone involved in the project.
AI can calculate a worker’s productivity rate based on the progress reports he inputs in the software. Workers can then be alerted when his activities or speed can result to delay.
Likewise, AI can monitor the materials inventory as well as the equipment so that responsible people can take action before losses happen. Machine learning works the same way, but the only difference is that machine learning can make decisions in the stead of the human, which AI can’t do.
Machine learning is used the same way as AI functions, but it doesn’t need assistance so it can make a judgment on one incident. For example, cement was identified by the machine to already run out. It then sends the client or the PM a report, suggestion the timing and the quantity of the order.
It does the same when it identifies errors in the performance of the workers. The judgment comes from the ideal output it knows of versus the actual output.
All these don’t only trim down the necessary tasks of the PM and the workers, but also helps make construction management processes more efficient.
The construction sites have never been a better place to work than they are now. Thanks to technological tools, construction management processes have been more accurate and efficient than ever.
Streamlining tech in any construction site shouldn’t be that difficult at this age. We are now exposed to different kinds of innovations so adjusting to the new processes they bring should easier. The key to achieve success in employing tech tools in your construction firm, as we already mentioned, is to announce the plan, orient the members, and to train them.