The construction industry is among the economic sectors less expected to be touched profoundly by digital techs. Big Data, in particular, has a continuous significant impact on the construction industry. Big data has acquired attention over the years across different industries, especially in the construction sector, because of its limitless value and advantage in terms of application in the digital age.
In the construction sector, big data refers to the vast quantities of info stored in the past and that continue to be accessed and used today. Big data come from machines, sensors, computers and any other data-generating device or agent. Naturally enough, that is what makes it big. To further expand on why Big Data is vital, we’re about to uncover the significance and value, including the many ways it transforms the construction industry.
The Value of Data
Traditional information systems are good enough to record and keep basic info about particular project schedules, costs, CAD designs, employee details, and invoices. However, they can be limited in their capacity to work with unstructured data such as printed information, free text, or analog sensor readings. Often, a traditional information system can only handle orderly digital columns and rows of numbers.
The idea of harnessing Big Data is to acquire more and more insights and make excellent project management decisions for construction by getting more data and properly analyzing it to draw real-time building project conclusions.
Here are some insights on how Big Data profoundly affects construction businesses.
- Extracting of useful information coming from vast amounts of data. Construction companies can collect and analyze further a massive amount of information with Big Data. Reasons for delays, cost-information, overruns, and other successful projects’ characteristics are some essential details that need to be reviewed. All data can then be processed and analyzed to derive essential insights, conditions, and trends that commonly affect the company’s performance and work. Areas that become a potential issue can be determined right away, and exceptional performance areas can also be recognized.
For instance, big data analytics can expose certain issues while negotiating costs with suppliers or bidding on projects. With these issues being identified, finding solutions to resolve them is easy.
- Predicting risk. In the construction context, big data contains detailed info on possible problems and risks that can occur during the project. For instance, the road construction project’s potential effects on the ecosystems can further be analyzed using big data techniques. The systems can help in determining risks for bonding and insurance purposes.
- Finding issues in advance. With big data analytics, vital info can be extracted before any job begins so that any troubles can be removed in advance—for instance, conflicts in design and implementation. Physical issues on the job site and impractical procedures can all be determined and fixed before physical work starts. It helps stops costs, scheduling overruns and expensive job site reworks.
Big Data Impacts the Four Phases of Construction
We look now at some ways how Big data is contributing to innovation in the construction sector through the following various phases below.
1. Design Phase
Big data is already transforming the construction business earlier, starting from the design phase. There are tons of helpful information that, when acquired and appropriately applied, can simplify the design process, including the following:
- Social media/email discussions
- Environmental info
- Stakeholder input
- Historical data
2. Construction Phase
Earlier, we discussed the main point that environmental data plays a significant role in the design phase. However, it also plays a significant role in the construction phase. Not only that, but the info derived from business and community activity like traffic conditions can tell developers the exact optimal time to start construction activities, including which precise stages.
This is where sensors strictly come into play. One primary example is sensor-data coming from instrumented machinery. These devices being attached to any on-site operational equipment can generate tons of information about the ways builders used their time. Today, there are real-world examples of builders who are using not only sensors but also telematics. Telematics is telecommunications integrated with information and communication tech.
Many onsite development companies have started using telematics data and extracting info from GPS devices to track and monitor data points on the machines like idle time, cycle time, productivity, and more.
3. Operational Phase
Nowadays, data-gathering sensors have a significant role to play during the operational phase. Data gleaned from the sensors installed in bridges, buildings, etc. allows for better facility management. The installed sensors can track information derived from the building’s inner workings in question, be it for energy use, foot traffic, or internal temperatures.
Further harnessing the data is possible. Doing so will efficiently manage energy usage in facilities like buildings, office parks and even shopping malls. These sensors can record traffic stress information and flex in bridges.
Ways on How Contractors Can Leverage the Power of Big Data
Here’s what construction leaders need to know in order to manage big data even better.
1. Prioritize Digital Technology
Big data enables engineering and construction companies to collect and analyze any cost-related information, photographs, site-based transactions, planning changes, communications, and more. The construction industry is awash with data; exactly tons of information are continuously generated for each project. And without digital tech implementation, it is nearly impossible to determine key data items. These essential data items enable a smooth reaction to possible issues and can be applied to obtain positive outcomes for future projects.
Today’s construction firms are starting to deploy a scheduling project software like Pro Crew Schedule that helps them sort out project data, files and other information. In addition to data sharing and control, this software tool has various features designed for project management purposes. All stakeholders, including subcontractors, architects, engineers, clients, specialty tradesmen, and suppliers, can be on the same page using this tech, allowing them to be informed with real-time data.
Pro Crew Schedule is a subcontractor scheduling software that has the power to redefine your construction business by providing many game-changing advantages. If you haven’t tried exploring this software tech, you can request a FREE live demo.
Here are the many advantages of deploying this software:
- Task and goal visibility
- Unified workflow and quick notifications
- Accessible anywhere and anytime
- · Time-tracking feature and crew monitoring
- Real-time collaboration and communication
- Targets are achievable
- Incorporating flexibility when managing construction projects
- Crew and resource management
2. Mitigate risks
Gathering and analyzing Big Data, particularly from any of your construction projects, can help determine potential issues and risks. For instance, by analyzing the productivity of primary resources like equipment and labor, big data solutions inform your project team about possible fatigue, potential delays, cost overruns and overall project time.
Additionally, by gathering structured and unstructured data, it’s possible to overlay project-centric data with corporate data to determine trends. If negative trends are overlooked, the whole business can be exposed to unacceptable risk.
3. Leverage predictability
Using Big Data systems along with disruptive techs like machine learning and artificial intelligence delivers critical insights and information before even the project starts to break ground. It allows any potential problems on construction sites, conflicts between various trades and disciplines, and weather effects immediately addressed even before it’s too late.
4. Eliminate waste
According to the Transparency Market Research report, the volume of construction waste produced worldwide each year will nearly double to 2.1 billion tons by the year 2025. Considering the digital techs available today, there’s no excuse for this level of waste regarding resources like equipment, materials, and time.
With the recent focus on lean construction’s basic principles to minimize waste, construction companies are turning to analytics tools. Even Implementing project scheduling management has become vital in collecting data regarding this matter. These digital tools can provide the whole project team direct access to real-time info, enabling them to deliver and use various resources efficiently.
5. Improve plant & equipment productivity
Sensors are commonly used on modern construction job sites for collecting machinery and plant data to drive productivity improvements. Having these devices being attached to jobsite operational equipment can generate tons of information related to instrumented machines’ utilization and performance. Sensor data shows the idle and active times of construction machinery, showing contractors how to boost productivity and fuel efficiency. It helps them decide whether it’s more cost-effective to lease, rent, or purchase such machinery.
6. Maintain a safer and healthy workforce
In addition to sensor-drive data that provides critical insights towards equipment and plant efficiency and productivity, sensor-enabled wearable techs and devices profoundly impact workplace conditions, especially for site personnel. And not only can the sensors monitor environmental conditions, but biometric sensors precisely can track your workers’ health.
Also note that by implementing construction crew management, your whole team can be more productive. A productive workforce is a happy workforce!
More profound familiarity with today’s latest technologies and any improving operations by utilizing Big Data opens the door for the next generation of advancements. It’s the right time for your construction business to embrace the ever-changing digital age and start realizing every technology’s potential to greatly impact your business operations in 2021 and beyond.